Happy Mindful Monday 🙂 Any excuse to use alliteration? I’m there! I thought it would be cool to start things off on a positive note, something to bring awareness to your day and potentially the rest of the week. Mindfulness is simply awareness. I like to think of it as noticing the sensations in your mind, heart and body in the present moment. It’s basically watching without judgment. It’s tough. How well you watch yourself and your actions gives you control over them or at least a starting point in understanding them more fully.
Mindfulness can be practiced and honed in a many ways, but today I’ll share a single exercise for you to work with all week. Notice the trees. It sounds simple and it is, but how often do you do it? Do you have a favorite tree in your town? No?! Why not? I’m sure there is one that is more attractive to you than the rest, this week you should find it. I have favorite trees all over the place and I can’t tell you how many people have laughed at me when I pointed them out, but it’s true. Notice the trees and you’ll realize you too have favorites. If you live above the treeline or in an area without trees, you may notice any greenery: grasses, bushes, cacti, etc.
Start noticing and appreciating the trees today when you drive to and from work or wherever. See the different heights, shapes and arrangement of branches. Notice the colors, texture, foliage, the shapes of leaves and the presence or absence of flowers. Are you always aware of this beauty? It is easy for common objects to blend into the scenery of our lives. We fail to notice natural beauty all around us as we rush through the moments, hints of lime, olive, emerald, pear, shamrock and seafoam blend together to form green.
At some point this week, take the time to walk around your neighborhood and acquaint yourself with the trees as these are the beings that breathe with you. As you inhale fresh oxygen into your lungs, feel gratitude for the trees and as you breathe out carbon dioxide know the leaves will soak it up on your behalf. It actually takes about seven or eight trees to supply oxygen for each one of us. Check out this amazing global view of the earth’s lungs and contemplate this inter-breathing relationship each time you come upon a tree this week. Allow your hamster wheel of thoughts to cease spinning as you focus on the deep connection humans have with trees and then expand your awareness to the interconnectedness of all beings. If ever I’m feeling blue, I go find some green. It seems as though each exhale makes me lighter and more carefree. I find basking in the ancestral knowledge of nature provides some relief for my overstressed brain and apparently science does too.
Initially with this tree meditation, I’m hoping to shed light on the support we receive from trees. By noticing, appreciating and being aware of individual trees, you’ll begin to look at them with gratitude, with loving eyes. They cease to be just trees. When you walk among trees, notice how they sway and sometimes creak in the breeze. Notice the conditions of the environment and expand your consciousness to the sensations the trees may be feeling. When you stand dry under the leaves of a large tree, hear the raindrops and know the leaves are sheltering you. When you stand in the forest, feel rooted into the earth like a tree and raise your arms overhead like its crown. If you wish, sit and meditate under a tree you feel connected to. Dance across a large fallen tree trunk while thanking it for existing. Each of these small gestures is a mindful meditation directed towards our connection with trees and the interconnectedness of all living beings. If you care to deepen your connection with forests then when you find yourself amongst trees you find yourself amongst friends. You are never alone.