Today I’ll share with you how I gained full mindfulness in Nature. Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, to the present moment. I recommend you try it out! this activity invites you to practice being fully mindful of nature. During this activity, you are going to go somewhere completely by yourself. You will NOT talk to anyone. NO SPEAKING is ALLOWED!
I chose to go to the Linover park; located at 7662 Lillian Holt Drive, Baltimore, MD. I have actually never visited this park before. The Linover Park is located 3 minutes away from CCBC-Essex and after my class on Thursday, I decided to go over to the park. However, this past Saturday I noticed a lot of cars parked outside this park so I decided not to go on a weekend. It felt really good visiting this particular Park for the first time. Linover Park is a school Park “mainly occupied on weekend, where children and adults come to play, walk, run, have fun events, and hike sometimes”, said an old man hiking. The park had a nice green field – a children’s soccer pitch (with two goal posts), a children’s play area and pieces of equipment (color: Red, blue and yellow), the yellow part had a writing on it – “DEEZ NUTS,” two benches and fallen leaves were all over the play area. On the east part of the park, there was a wooden stairway where I guessed was a very good hike spot for a lot of people. There was also a waterfall at the park, with large rocks and brownish water.
Not many people come to the park on weekdays too. When I arrived at the Park, there was no one actively performing any sport or activity, so I found a spot (a wooden bench) to sit for half an hour. The wooden bench was on the soccer field. I always appreciate quiet places so I was excited to actually perform this mindful breathing practice here.
Before I started the practice, I walked around the park to observe the location and wrote down my thoughts about the park. Since it was my first time visiting, I asked an old man whom I met hiking to briefly describe the park’s history and what usually goes on at the park because I figured he probably lives around the area. When I found a spot on the soccer field, I was scared at first to not speak with anyone and stay alone for half an hour at an unusual place was not my normal daily activity. I sat down upright, kept my feet flat on the floor and leaned my chest forward slightly; I relaxed my neck and shoulder muscles to avoid falling asleep. My mind was loud and even my heart overwhelmed with the fear of being touched or ambushed while performing this exercise. It felt like everything had a meaning at that point. The Air was nice and windy, flowers nearby smelt minty, and I observed the whole environment as I was breathing. I was ready to live when I noticed two significant things and as I got into the car, I wrote them down as well. It was an amazing experience, I never did anything like this so I had fun observing things.
Everything felt so good, it felt like nature was mine, literally. Some of the wired observations during the practice were: I tasted the earthy taste of porridge, I smelt a lavender flower, heard all the birds chattering away as they were waking up for the day (it was 4pm, so I was wondering if it was actually morning for some birds), I tasted the rich creamy flavors from a Milky Bar I treated myself to earlier, I didn’t use my phone the entire time, the weather was sunny but I felt a little chill sitting outside, and the cars driving up on the street seemed fast but not loud (It seemed so I was there but wasn’t there at the same time).
My thoughts were changing, I felt like staying more and observing more than the provided time. I started thinking of the trees that were on the other side of the park that wasn’t as green as the ones at the field. I thought about the growing environment, how are they growing? How can they be so big? All these ideas coming all at the same time. I will consider that deep thinking. I notice myself thinking somewhat outside the original, for instance, I started wishing that my family would fly in from Nigeria and land on the warn and fresh green fields at the park.
My feelings were also different, especially after the first 20 minutes. Normally, to relax or increase my “nature moments” I always take walks on grass areas so as to not nod off or feel sleepy sitting at one location.
I prefer to walk the small streets with beautiful houses and gardens than to sit at a spot and obverse the environment. During my regular relaxing activities, I often stop by to smell the roses that grow on my neighbor’s fence. Even though I felt sleepy first, I later felt so relaxed, nature was so pure while I sat there, everything seemed so good, and I actually felt happy doing it as well.
Before I began this practice, I decided to concentrate mainly on the environment (the green and all the beautiful colors and perfumes nature will offer so as to decrease my level of stress and fear of the location. I also took a few moments to simply look at the sky, feel the sun on my face and the wind on my feet. Hear the birds.
As I got home, I notice that my stress level actually decreased, and I got happier. The practice actually helped me sleep for another 7 hours when I got home which was out of the normal thing I usually do. I asked my little sister to monitor my breathing just to know how the practice affected me as well, and it was actually slow and steady
I really know that if I’m practicing this activity every day, it will benefit my stress level and it will actually be steady.