In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.Aristotle
As a child, I often found myself lying on my back watching the clouds float past being pushed by the wind. Or I’d watch them grow in anger as they became a storm. And sometimes I’d create my own wind, gently blowing on a dandelion to watch the seeds float off.
I’d go to the parkette across the road to capture insects, studying them before I released them. In a similar vein, I had a microscope and a collection of prepared slides that I’d study for hours. Yes, I was, and am, a geek.
As an adult, I lost too much of this simple interaction with nature. Yes, there were hikes and walks but they were infrequent, almost forced. Moreover, they didn’t capture the sense of awe, marvel, that I felt as a child. My adult brain is too regimented to allow that.
Things changed as they always do. A huge element of this change was my discovery of Mindfulness. Mindfulness asks that you stay present. This sounds simple, but it’s exceedingly difficult. We aren’t used to doing this. We spend our time ruminating on the past or anticipating the future.
Mindfulness was introduced when I was in a Black place and my mind was filled with rumination and brooding. I’d be lost in these ruminations for hours, belittling myself.
Mindfulness changed that. Through it, I made a conscious effort to stay present. When the past intruded, I focused on my breath to bring me back to the present. Sometimes, much of that past lost its hold. This promoted healing.
I didn’t judge the intrusive thoughts. I took notice of them and then I placed them in a balloon so they could float away, captured by the wind. This too enabled me to heal.
The biggest change, however, was in my walking. In the early days of healing, I typically walked to my appointments. This gave me the time to be alone with my thoughts. Those thoughts weren’t pretty.
In the face of those thoughts, staying present was almost beyond me. Additionally, I’d be anticipating my counselling or my group which detracted from staying present. My solution – finding something in nature to focus my attention on.
I chose the wind, that same wind that moved the clouds of my childhood bringing such marvel. I watched the sway of leaves and branches caused by the wind. Along the path, mini-vortices would catch some earth and swirl it around. The wind would create sound, the rattle of leaves on the path or the tinkle of wind chimes.
The time spent paying attention to the wind meant less time:
- for intrusive thoughts
- ruminating and brooding on the past
- anticipating the future.
Paying attention to the wind kept me in the present.
Isn’t that marvellous? Aristotle would certainly agree. He’d see the poetry and the balance in having nature calm my thoughts. He’d see that same balance in my returning to my childhood for a focus.
I’m grateful for those early days when I was alone with my thoughts. I learned valuable lessons about Mindfulness that I use today. And I still marvel at the wind.
Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay