Like many people I spend a large part of my day in the digital realm. Computers, calls video conferencing and meetings, social media as well as keeping up to date with current affairs. It is easy to become focused and to forget to stop, lock around and see what nature is up to. Having a cuppa or working in the backyard and hearing a lone bellbird song is a peaceful enjoyment that I am thankful for. I live as if connected to the earth in the times I am in the garden though work days are spent in an office.
My favourite times of year in the garden are spring, when it is truely at it’s beautiful best, and in the autumn when I can harvest and prepare some food to last through the winter. Autumn in NZ is often surprisingly warm and calm and the harvest and preparation of food to last the winter has kept me busy. This year I am freezing, drying, pre-preparing meals, fermenting and storing for longevity. There are so many ways to preserve produce from the garden so that it can be enjoyed throughout the winter. The marvellous thing is that it brings a closure to the year’s garden work with products that started in the soil which I tend.
This autumn it has been great to pause and soak up all the energy, relationships and beauty of plants and animals as they go about their daily existence and I mine.
Gardening allows me to live my connection to nature which often surprises me. Pets and visiting animals’ awareness and care of each other is one example. I have seen dogs share their food with puppies even though not the mother. My cat wakes me when she needs to go out or when some other animal needs to go out for a comfort stop. She cuddles the dog. A distant relative was woken by her cat when her garage burnt down saving her life. When the chickens are startled, one acts as a decoy so the others can get away. I marvel at how attuned and vigilant for each other even when the unexpected comes along and how quickly they will act to avoid a sticky situation. Are they always mindful or do they just have great agility and vigilance even when resting?
The practice of mindfulness is encouraged and taught by many professionals because it is a useful strategy to assist people to calm and connect to the present moment.
What mindfulness strategies assist your mind to slow down and connect you to the present moment?
For me it is the connection with nature, watching and participating in the changes of seasons. Letting a fragrant plant, a playful dog or distant birdsong have my attention for that moment and being thankful that I am a part of this. You may find a couple of simple pleasures that enable you to stop, look around at the diverse lives around you, animal, plant and human and soak up the atmosphere being truely absorbed in that moment, Go well and stay warm and cosy this winter.
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