I wanted to create a #mymindfulbujo challenge for March that would offer a short pause in each day to be mindful whilst connecting with nature. Being in a natural environment often gives me my greatest sense of mindfulness and grounding with the earth and I’m not alone. Nature has been proven to calm the mind and reduce the physiological symptoms of stress and anxiety (see this excellent article from National Geographic). When I examine myself, I think there are a number of reasons why this is the case.
- Nature provides a sense of perspective that we can lose in everyday life. Often we get so caught up in our thoughts and the everyday rush of life that it becomes all encompassing. Our mind perceives these thoughts and stressors as ‘threats’ and acts accordingly. When we connect with nature however our sense of the world expands and we see how large the earth and the Universe are. We see beyond our immediate problems and gain a new perspective on their impact on our life and those around us.
- Nature also tends to offer some very tangible and useful ‘anchors’ for our attention. Think of sitting on the sofa watching the rain on the window or listening to the waves break on the beach. Our mind naturally wants to rest on and connect with the natural world around us. We are drawn to the soothing and calming pull of nature.
- Nature is also out of our control. There’s nothing we can do to stop the rain from coming or make the waves calmer. We can relinquish any agenda or expectations and simply be with whatever the Universe decides to send our way.
I’ve chosen the sky for this challenge because it’s nearly always available to us at any time of the day (unless you happen to be stationed on a submarine). One of my favourite things to do each morning is look out of my kitchen window, from which I can mainly see trees and sky and see what the sky is doing. Sometimes it’s brilliant blue, sometimes it’s vivid reds and purples and sometimes it’s grey. It serves as a useful reminder of the impermanence of each state in our life and that every day is a new day with something new to look forward to if we approach it with open curiosity.
The beauty of this challenge is that you can approach it in any way you want to, but here is how I will be doing it.
- I’m going to set a regular time each day to observe the sky so it becomes routine and I don’t forget to do it. For me, this will be around 6.30am when I go downstairs with the girls for breakfast. The morning sky just after dawn tends to have the most beauty and variety in the colours. In your lunch hour or at sunset would also be good times however if this suits the rhythm of your day better.
- I’ll probably start by taking a few deep breaths just to settle my mind and let go of any thoughts. All that is left then is to observe the sky with mindful attention and curiosity for a few moments. Let go of any preconceptions you have and notice what is happening in the sky; clouds, movement, birds, colours. It’s unlikely the sky will be one uniform colour, so try to notice the full spectrum of colours in the sky and decide which colour is more predominant or that you connect with most that day to record in your journal.
- I’m going to record this in my journal in the style of a mood mandala with a ring for each day to represent the colour of the sky. There’s a picture of my initial set-up below and I’ll update every now and then on Instagram so you can see my progress as it gets filled in. This can be as simple or as fancy as you like however. So, if you just want to create a page of boxes to fill in or have a box next to your daily log each day, that would work brilliantly as well. The key here is to focus some mindful attention on the sky. Recording in the journal is just a fun way to remind you to do it.
Update! The completed mandala.
You can find more #mymindfulbujo challenges on my resources page.