Open this link and let me give you a gift. I am learning yoga (sort of), I’ve downloaded my deep breathing app and am contemplating a more serious practice of meditation. I am not switching religions or running off to a commune. I simply find that the more time I spend quieting myself, the more joyful and efficient I am when I’m back on the move.
The exercises and techniques are all fine and good, but the best way for me to find this calmer state is to be in nature. My brain seriously never stops. It’s tiring. The only time I can completely relax and stop thinking is when my senses are immersed in the outdoors. Topping the list is picking up shells at the beach; next best is the mountains or forest with my camera. I will look up after hours of wandering and realize I did not have an anxious or serious thought about anything.
And if that sounds like as waste of time, what happens next is magical. For even though I am not experiencing conscious thoughts, my brain is doing far deeper work than usual. I emerge from those times with new melodies, new words, new connections. But as a busy Mom of 3 kids – those times in nature are often few and far between.
I heard Krista Tippett’s interview with Gordon Hempton on her On Being podcast – here’s the link: Silence and the Presence of Everything. I was mesmerized. I then went directly to Gordon Hempton’s lovely webpage: soundtracker.com. I put all of his soundscapes in my cart, purchased them, and gleefully watched as the zipped files popped into my e-mail inbox.
I imported them all into iTunes and have them set to play on a loop. As I type this, I can close my eyes (thanks to whoever the nutty lady was that taught me to type in high school) – I am deep in the forest with a soft rain falling – there is a steady, low hum underneath with the occasional drip from the leaves, distant bird calls, and oh, the tree frog just joined in.
Of course, I’d rather actually be sitting in the forest feeling the rain fall on my head. But, alas, I have a voice recital to attend, and 1,000 words to write and chores to do. So, I have imported a little nature and will vacuum with my good headphones on. Just having this on in the background slows down the cadence of my breath and I naturally take more air in and let it all out. My body responds with no effort on my part.
So, there’s your gift – skip Chick Fil A and spend a few bucks supporting Mr. Hempton’s important work. Do all the steps – download and import everything, make a playlist, put it on your phone and computer, and press play. You’re welcome.