This weeks blog post is by Ros Sandhu, Brecon & District Mind's new Mums Matter Facilitator. Ros is also a Mindfulness teacher & founder of Brecon Mindfulness. www.breconmindfulness.com
As a new member of the Brecon and District Mind team, I am delighted to have the chance to write a blog for the Green Minds Project’s new website. I am a new Facilitator on the Mums Matter project and I am also a Mindfulness teacher. I was brought up in a city and until recently, I had always chosen to live in urban areas. My family and I moved to Brecon 7 years ago so I’m relatively new to living in the countryside and, for the record, I feel very much a novice ‘Green Mind’. I am, however, very keen to learn, and perhaps equally importantly I am completely captivated by nature’s healing powers and its potential to improve our wellbeing.
The simple idea of mindful walking is that we focus our attention on what it feels like to be walking – the feeling of our feet on the ground, and some of the sights, smells and sounds that are unfolding around us- each step is a moment of arriving in our feet and our bodies. When you think about it, this is very different to our usual habits when walking; we tend to walk with a destination or goal in mind ( e.g I will walk from a to b, or I will walk 30 minutes etc) Mindful walking can be incredibly soothing because it can take us out of our heads and away from thinking and worrying and move us more into our sensing mind when we are listening, seeing and smelling.
One of my favourite places to walk is along the canal. I think it is to do with being near both the still water of the canal and the moving water of the River Usk. Both reflect aspects of human experience – the potential for stillness that is in us all, alongside the ebbing and flowing of life. In certain places the trees’ canopies at this time of year are almost womb-like, in the way that they surround me - the leaves seem to grow thicker and greener by the day. I can allow nature to talk to me and wonder what she is telling me….
As I walk, I feel safe, cocooned, almost held by nature. I am surrounded by reminders that everything is allowed – this is particularly powerful when I focus my attention on the sounds of the birdsong., I am reminded that, as Rumi wrote, “ I want to sing like birds sing, not worrying about who will listen or what they will think’. As far as I know – scientists are not in agreement about why exactly birds sing but I am so glad they do. I can hear the innocent sweet tunes of the Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens and Great Tits, this plays alongside the definitive alto of the woodpigeons and the magpies. Then there is the are assertive songs of the Crows and Jackdaw coupled with the random outburst of the pheasant and finally my favourite noise at the moment, the persistent percussion of the woodpecker. It all sounds beautiful even though it is unplanned, spontaneous and unfolding moment by moment – just like life necessarily is.
Life during a pandemic, is clearly a fertile ground for our thinking to go into overdrive as we all worry about our health and the health of those we love, and as we try and predict the future. For this reason, I have found the time I spend outside each day to be the most helpful thing for me, when trying to live healthily through this period, oh and I have also noticed that birds still sing in the rain :-)