Growing up in the midwest our first sign of spring was the non-descript robin. So last week when I peered out my kitchen window as I stood washing a dish and spied my first one I exclaimed with glee (I am not fond of winter). The little bird hopping across my grassy lawn was the first sighting receiving this reaction. Daffodils along the freeway and forsythias brightening up fences served as warm ups to my weekend jaunt to see the cherry blossoms.
In between snapping photographs along with the other 100s of people (possibly 1000s due to a race going on) I picked a stone bench on the far end of the tidal basin to draw the little blossoms, under their pink hued heaven. I took in every detail of their essence and made several drawings. Recently I acquired a book guiding me in my development of naturalist documenting through words and pictures. I always keep a journal, however drawing is another story. This book, Keeping a Nature Journal
by Clare Wallace Leslie and Charles E Roth inspires and gives me courage to try to draw. Cataloging my regular adventures is something that preserves the experience in a more detailed way than just taking a photograph or just writing. I also tend to see more of what I am observing. It has become a practice of mindfulness and reflection for me.
Just a few weekends ago I was in Colorado and learned how to ice climb.
After a day of physical endurance and a quick sketch in the field
I had something to use as a meditative reflection of my
accomplishments in making it up a forty foot sheet of ice that night before I went to sleep. All this took place after a yummy Nepalese meal at Nepali’s in Estes Park of course.
Meditative reflection is an essential part of my keeping balance in my life. I have some VERY long hours several days a week (12-15) so I can have Friday for me and Monday to work from home doing client workouts, the development of a non-profit and of course just catching up on stuff. Focussing my brain on drawing stimulates my brain in a way very differently from the rest of my weekly tasks. It creates a calming effect.
Without these moments of reflection and quiet at the end of each day I find I have more trouble falling asleep and sleeping soundly.
The millions of things happening and about to happen run my brain as I try to fall asleep. The flow of the colored pencil or pen or water color over the paper somehow soothes these irritations away from me so I don’t feel agitated.
Ideally we all need to take a bit of time like this everyday. A still point where our body, mind, heart and spirit can catch up with each other. I have one client who the moment she comes home from work, before anything else, sits in silence for just five minutes. Taking the time to reflect and download is showing up in study after study as a key to reducing stress. And I know you already know the immense impact stress has from creating anxiety attacks to adding weight to the body’s frame. So what are you going to do to give yourself an unwind moment? I dare you to find a practice you can do every day for at least five minutes and see what kind of difference it makes for you.