Experiment 2 - 10 minutes outside each morning
Mmm...trickier than I thought
I will spend the first ten minutes of every day outside.
I really assumed this would be easy: I am on school holiday, I have a garden, I love the outdoors. Yet this has proved so much harder than I thought. Why?
- I find it very difficult to do something just for myself
- I find it very difficult to do something not obviously physically productive - especially for ten minutes which can seem like an age!
- I find it difficult to change routines
So... the first day I sort of adapted the parameters of the experiment (cheated?). I got dressed, sorted everyone else out then took mum's dog for a walk. I do this each weekend, but assumed I was entering into the spirit of the experiment. I was outside...in the morning...for 10 minutes? It was all very practical as I walked briskly, lost in my thoughts of what I needed to do and what had happened the previous day. To be honest, there was very little connecting with nature going on!
The next day I went into the garden with a cup of coffee. Right, let's get down to business: breathe...listen...yep, birds... traffic...ohh the winter flowering jasmine is doing well. Alright then, I can tick this off, back inside. I spent probably 4 minutes out there before I wanted to rush back in to check all was ok indoors and move onto the next thing. I honestly don't know what I was frightened of missing - and there is a fear there. If I am not there to ensure all goes smoothly, it may all go disastrously wrong!
I spent yesterday reflecting on this.
Through an experiment that I never thought would be a challenge, I have looked inside myself, and realised that I find it very difficult to switch off from the practicalities of life. My sense of self is generally defined by my role in the lives of others. It dawned on me in a very real way that I need to be able to find stillness in myself and this needs to be a priority!
This experiment for me is a work in progress. The darkness we have been experiencing lately with the seemingly constant rain, has leant an oppressive air to nature. But this experiment is about working with the outdoors in all its forms and finding a connection in a way that needs no money, no great shift in routine, no fancy equipment: just a place to go outside, rest your mind and breathe. Sounds easy...
Today I went out, stood on the back step, breathed in, listened and looked, actually listened and looked. The noise of the traffic was a constant backdrop, but the noises and sounds of nature made themselves known. As I looked over to the other side of the valley, for a moment I felt outside of myself, felt that awareness of a world so awe inspiring. I am lucky. I live in a beautiful part of Yorkshire. We have had floods but they receded quickly and caused little damage to properties. But through this experiment, I realise that I have fooled myself into thinking that because nature is all around me and I love walking that this is connecting with it. No, I exist within it but I am often far too 'busy' to slow down and spend time with the outdoors- to really engage with it.
I managed about 5 minutes today, but they were a valuable 5 minutes. Like I said, it is a work in progress. I will persevere and this is what I wanted out of this year long experience - to shake things up a bit, to learn more about myself, to wake up to how I have been living my life. When I return to work, I doubt I will spend 10 minutes each morning in the pitch black, but I can find 2 minutes to breathe deeply outside and as it gets lighter, that time can get longer. It will be nice to physically track the lengthening days noticing the sights and sounds around me.
Who knew stepping out of my back door could have had such an impact?