Leaves fall as the breeze blows. These gold drops of tree memories Slowing drifting to the ground. A shower of pleasure To my morning eyes.
What is missing?
I took an early morning walk today because I felt I had to make a conscious decision to spend time in nature. Rather strangely, I decided to ‘go to work’ and accompanied Chris on his morning commute. For the last few months, I have been working from home reinventing what I do for a living by learning the ways of the Internet and vlogging. It has been an interesting experience and I am learning a lot, but it has also come with some unexpected challenges. Really? You may say. Isn’t the freedom of working from home many people’s dream? It was certainly mine.
Now, please understand I do not miss the daily commute to work or for that matter the work itself- the long drive, the traffic jams or the unrelenting pressure – but I miss leaving the house in the morning. Let me explain a little more. For all of my working life, I have gone to my workplace at a set time. Each morning, I opened the front door to face whatever nature had in store for me – crisp morning air, rain, golden sunshine, singing birds, swirling mist, quiet snow or wild winds – then I got in my car and drove to work. At this time of year, I might see the odd sunrise or two and delight in a slowly fading pink sky. On the journey home, at the end of the day, I might be lucky to grab a quick walk in the woods. Leaving the house gave me moments of precious nature time that I realise I had taken for granted, underestimating the value to my soul and the benefits in dealing with stressful workdays.
How are Nature Moments of Benefit?
Moments in nature enliven all my senses – hearing, smell, touch/feeling, sight and taste – capturing my attention to the exclusion of everything else in my life. However, nature does not demand my time. It will only work its calming magic if I allow. It waits with patience. The sun will rise and throw golden light across my path, but I must look up to notice. Birds will sing each morning, but I must stop and listen. The cold air will freshen my mind, but only if I breathe in deeply. To be fully engaged in one simple nature moment benefits my health and wellbeing – I find my heart rate slowing and my stress levels melting away. I find it good for my soul. Without fail, each time I give my attention to the natural world there is always a small gift that stirs up my creative juices. It is a pure pleasure. Who has not been inspired to write, draw or make something after a little interaction with the outdoors?
The regular cycle of the seasons brings me a sense of security; a gentle rhythm that after the winter comes the spring. The seasonal pattern in nature has provided me with a good model for the cycle of my own life. There will be times of busy activity and hard work, like the spring and the summer. There will be times to reap the rewards and celebrate achievements like the autumn and then there will be times for rest like the winter. These moments that I spend in nature are slowing teaching me to slow down.
How to Build Nature Moments into Daily Life?
Having home as my place of work has required me to mentally reset one long engrained work habit to a new one. These are the things I am reminding my self to do in order to make space for those ‘nature’ moments.
Have a daily routine.
Until my routine changed so radically, I didn’t appreciate the finer details of the old one. Those few precious moments of leaving the house on my way to work were so beneficial. So, now, I have permitted myself the time to go out in the morning. Travelling to work with Chris means I can have some time in a city park and then head to ‘my work’. For you, it might be walking the dog. It might be a few moments in the garden with a cup of tea or opening the window letting in the fresh air. It might be that you can change how you travel to work. Cycling a couple of days can be a great way to boost your nature moments. How about parking your car a little further away from work and walk for a few minutes, even if it is from the far side of a car park? There may be a tree that you pass each day, which is desperate to share a few moments with you. Why not stop and give it your attention for a minute or two? You never know what inspiration will spring into your mind!
Lunchtime is another great opportunity for getting outside and breathing in some fresh air. Yes, there will be days when the weather is utterly foul. As I write, today is a sad, cold, grey old day. I had to force myself out for a short walk up to the park at the end of the road, but it cleared my head and did the trick.
Find a place to call your own.
Look for somewhere that’s a little further from home where you can go and spend some quality time. A place you become familiar with, so you can observe the seasons or the weather change and make mental comparisons. What happens to your place when it rains or the wind blows? How quiet it is after the snow and what flowers appear in the spring? These are all little things for you to discover and you can be certain that nature will be waiting patiently eager to show you.
For me, it was always a country lane or a quiet road. A perfect way to feel the space of the weekend by getting out for 30 mins on a Saturday morning and I wanted to feel alive or on a summer’s evening when I needed to cool my whirring thoughts. In my new routine, I have found a place to call my own where I can take my nature moments, now what about you?
Why not check out this post to find out how long you should spend in nature for it to be of benefit.
Before you leave if you would like to see some more autumn images, including the ones on this post why not check out my Instagram feed where there will be many more over the coming days. I’d love it if you would follow along.