Being in the present

I am unsure of anyone else’s view over the last few months, however for me I feel like I have been in a time warp. Initially the first few weeks were busy. I still had things to do in the office, getting my head around the process looking after the team, the clients and suppliers as the lockdown happened so quickly. A routine felt sensible, keeping the hours of getting up and working as usual. However the weather being glorious, meant the routine began to slip and the sunny garden beckoned. As there was less to do in the office daily, I started finding jobs both in and outside to fill the day. This was great, drawers emptied, cupboards sorted, garden being tidied, even fruitful as I emptied my seed box and planted many things I didn’t know I had.

Each day, I got up at normal time and tried a relatively normal day in the office, I continued to check in with the team, sort wages, bills and accounts that still needed to be done. However by late morning, I also found myself thinking about the outdoors and wanting to be out. I also began to notice the days felt less frantic. Some days I didn’t notice what time it was, I suddenly realised I was hungry and had missed lunch in my new found ventures. We as a family, were in isolation as we had a keyworker waiting to go back to work. Leaving the house was not an option. I was thankful I had a garden.

When going into schools to teach young people how to manage their stress, I include the practice of being outside and “being in the present”. It is something many of us including children find difficult to do. To absorb yourself in the moment and focus on what is happening around you has become harder with technology and distractions. In school we practice in a quiet space, preferably outside (or indoors with a window open if the weather is not good) looking around and noticing what we can see, focusing on something we have not noticed before. Concentrating on the things we can hear. What can we smell? We then sit or lie and close our eyes, then turn our focus to the sense of what we can hear, smell, can we feel the wind on our face? Do we notice a difference with eyes closed to open? These are all techniques incorporated into the module.

As weeks go by, I am questioning whether I do this enough? I realise how the change
in routine allows me to enjoy the space I have. The birdsong seems louder as there is no traffic. I notice new species of bird and insect I haven’t spotted before in the garden. I am finding I am becoming more “in the present”, practicing what I have preached. I am enjoying not clock watching so much. Noticing nature, as spring is now moving into summer. The air is so clear, the sky is so blue. The flowers as they begin to bloom seem more vibrant. I am wondering, I am imagining this or is it that I am more aware of my senses? It has made me curious how quickly my habits and behaviour has changed. Even writing this, I do not have my phone pinging constantly by my side, I am not even sure where I have put it! There is no radio distraction, the door is open and I am tuned into the bird singing outside wondering what species it is?

This has been emotionally turbulent for the world. There are so many uncertainties we have had to work through, we have had to change our behaviour and habits to keep everyone around us safe. I am sure we have felt the anxiety levels increase at times through the process. However many people have expressed recently, how their daily walks or hours of exercise has calmed them. We have recently ventured out into nearby fields with our dog Geoffrey who has really missed his long walks. The joy on his face as he bounded around lifted us and made us laugh. Noticing how green the space had become over the 7 weeks from the wellied muddy experience in March, gave me heart that nature is moving us forward.

I am thankful I have had the opportunity to explore a change in pace in life. This positive benefit has gifted me to notice nature and it’s positive healing. It’s vibrancy, sound and smell. Like my vegetables that I am slowly nurturing, I will have to be patient and adapt to my new normal, my care and attention to my plants will hopefully reward me with summer salad and vegetables.

As we begin to move out from lockdown holding onto my new found awareness may be difficult as the daily routine will be returning, however to be a great role model moving forward, I know this insight will give me determination to ensure each day, I find a bit of time and space to be “in the present“ and not forget how Mother Nature gives me the support I need.

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