Early spring! When the world around us can feel the subtle change in temperature as the sun spends more time and energy in our region on Earth! This is a magical yet short-lived moment and I would like to make a couple of suggestions to help you connect to this magical moment.
Below you'll find two activities which I suggest doing in order for the first time. After the first time you do these activities, make a point of doing one or the other whenever you can make the time.
Each activity can take as little as 2 minutes, but give yourself as much time as you can.
I'm posting this on April 10 after snow accumulation in the northern region of Metro-Detroit! In the morning I took pictures of budding plants in snow and in the evening, the snow having melted, I paid attention to activity on the ground. It may look like winter but soon the evidence around you will be more apparent. Let's concentrate on the subtle changeover from winter into spring.
Connect to nature with sound, scent, sight, and touch
Connecting to the process of the natural world around you, make sure you are dressed for warmth and take a moment to step outside. Walk towards the first plant pulls your attention, particularly one that will be blooming with petals or leaves in the near future. Make physical contact with plant. If it's a tree, for example, hold a branch, gently touch a bud, or bring your palms or bare feet (if you can bare it!) to its trunk.
As you maintain this physical contact with the plant, close your eyes and feel the air around you on your skin. Move your attention to your skin meeting the plant's surface and experience the sensation.
Chemically and therefore physically the plant is changing and there is some evidence of that. Feel the movement of this process, perhaps in your imagination or perhaps physically. Feel the evidence of the changing plant. Imagine the life force that moves the plant in this process. Just be here for a moment.
Bring your attention to the sounds around you. Move your attention from the sounds around you to the plant. Focus on the plant's process at this time and begin to hear, perhaps in your imagination, the sounds of this process. Listen to the evidence. Just be here for a moment.
Before you open your eyes, pay attention to the scent of the plant and draw it into your body. Experience the scent as evidence that this plant is changing. Be here for a moment.
When you're ready, open your eyes and only focus on the part of the plant itself that meets your skin. Examine that part of the plant and look for the smallest detail. From that point, let your vision open up to the local area on the plant itself that you are connecting with. Begin to open up more of your vision and visit other parts of the plant, looking closely at the stem or bark, the leaf or the bud. See the evidence of the changing plant as you move around it and examine. Be here for a moment.
Connect internally with nature
If you feel comfortable outside next to the plant, remain there. If it's more comfortable to move indoors, do so. Find a comfortable seat on the floor or a chair. Sit tall.
Next, close your eyes and bring your attention to your heart center, where you can pay attention to the rhythm of your breath as your lungs move in and out, out and in. Be here for a moment.
Allow your lungs to fill out more and to empty out more, taking deeper yet gentle and controlled breaths. As you inhale, reach your arms up towards the sky, bring your palms together, drawing the thumbs to the heart center as you exhale. Repeat 7 times.
The seventh time the palms connect and meet at the heart center, maintain the connection, hand to hand, but begin to fold your hands one each other so that one palm envelops the other hand. Let your hands fold enough that the hand closest to your heart has fingers and thumb touching.
Your hands at the heart center are now formed and folded into itself like the bud of the plant. Lower your head and feel the closeness of the plant you spent time with today as you connect internally to its process. Be here for a moment.
Consider your likeness with this plant. Each season you too change. Each spring you develop and parts of you unfold if you allow nature's rhythm to live inside you, growing just as nature intends. Consider what this growth means for you, partly very much like a plant, but also very uniquely as a human being. What is growth for a human being? Be here for a moment.
Very slowly, you will allow the hands to unfold into a beautiful lotus flower, or perhaps imagining another flower or leaf of your choosing. Taking seven breaths or perhaps fourteen, allow for the unfolding, keeping your thumbs connected the entire time. Begin to connect the outer edges of your hands so they connect from thumbs to the outer edges of your pinkie fingers. Once the outer edges of the hands are connected, and palms still closed in tight, slowly, begin opening your palms and stretching your fingers wide. Sit with this hand gesture, the lotus flower hand gesture, for a moment.
Maintain this hand gesture for a minute or so, connecting the outstretched petals of your hands to the inner-reaching gesture of your heart.
Let me know below if you've made time to try either, part, or all of the activities above. I'd love to know about any of your observations or experiences as a result if you'd be so kind to share! <3