Softest of Mornings By Mary Oliver Softest of mornings, hello. And what will you do…
“I want to do with you what spring does with cherry trees.” – Pablo Nerurda
Mindfulness encourages us to bring present moment awareness to inner and outer sensory experiences. We’re invited into a contactful relationship with the natural world, and its unfolding rhythms.
There’s plenty of research to support this wisdom. Nature is shown to be healing and life-affirming. I understand why though from experience. Stepping into nature’s flow helps restore balance in my autonomic nervous system. It becomes easier to release rumination and worry. In the face of nature’s beauty, I’m more grateful. I’m also more likely to access skillful perspective when I’m having a tough time. The more I connect with nature the more I connect with my innate capacities for resilience, creativity and love. It takes less effort to feel like myself, and is easier to express what’s in my heart. Nature essentially helps me to do with my unique beinginess, what spring does with cherry trees.
This is also why fostering an active relationship with the natural world has become an important and regular part of my mindfulness practice. Below are three ways* I enjoy connecting with nature in the spring season. How do you engage with nature? What do you notice inside when you attune to the natural world outside? I always love hearing what supports people. Drop me a line here.
With spring in active bloom, take a walk engaging your senses. Notice different expressions of a color, or all colors present. Attune to the flow of your body moving and breathing, as this flow mingles with surrounding movement and stillness. Pause now and again to take in a blossom’s fragrance, run fingers along a stretch of bark, or appreciate sunlight warming skin. Or perhaps explore just how generously receptive you can be with all your senses.
Forage for natural objects (whether from your yard, neighborhood or farmer’s market) and bring them inside. You could choose one object a day, perhaps building an installation over a month or the season. You might create a fresh centerpiece each week in a prominent location. It can be fun to play with color, texture and scent. Can you get curious about how your landscapes look as light shifts throughout a day? Or notice how you feel inside over the course of a week as they further bloom and decay?
Open a window, or head outdoors, and spend a few minutes abiding with ambient sounds. You might notice the interplay between natural and mechanical sounds. You might also experiment with letting go of the source of sounds, sensing into sounds giving way to sounds, along with experiences of quiet.
If this isn’t practical, check out these soundscape resources.
Andy “soundeziner” Martin. Martin is a sound designer and field recordist from Seattle who engages sound to help people better understand their world. His site includes various regional soundtracks, ranging from dawn in the Olympic National Forest to rides on ferry passenger decks.
Sounds of the Parks. The Sound and Light Ecology Team out of Colorado State University wants everyone to be able to experience the natural world. They’ve put together an impressive collection of recordings from various national parks and other natural habitats.