I knew what they were — Grandad had told me many years ago — and those echoing memories stirred again. The uplift in my mood was obvious and I wanted to feel it again. Binoculars were bought, along with a few bird books, and the fire was rekindled. It ran alongside other more conventional treatments — medication, counselling and mindfulness all helped — but the introduction of birdwatching as a form of self-care was the one consistent change that helped me to find stability.
The consistency and stability of nature and its myriad patterns gave me some focus. The natural environments I became interested in offered me the time and space to reflect, not to mention the benefits of being outside.
I reached out to people with similar interests, made friends and learned from them. The opportunities to gain and embed knowledge seemed endless: weather patterns, feather markings, suitable habitats and bird migration became topics of interest.
Nature and Me Meditation — Ananda
Topics to escape into. It is the escapism that any immersive hobby can give us that I found so beneficial to my wellbeing.
No matter how difficult things are, I can always stop at my local patch and allow it to overtake my senses and cleanse my mind. The heath in spring is pure multisensory enchantment; the tropical scent of coconut gorse wafts in the warming air, yellow and lurid, the flowers seem to glow in the vernal sunshine. Skylarks serenade from above, each scattering their springtime melody, skittering and bubbling, over the arid landscape. Removing all the complications and expectations of our hectic lives to reveal this innate connection with the land has been a revelation.
Too often, we are let down by those we believe care about us, but I know that if I look out of my kitchen window, my garden bird community will still be there. I also know that during spring, our returning breeding birds will travel across desert and ocean to sit on the hawthorn bush in front of me and stake out their territories with their warbled song.
In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders. Topics Birdwatching The one change that worked. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. When I heard the tree analogy, I knew I was in the right place for me. In my training I learned that the form of Qigong we practice unites heaven, earth, and humanity.
The Music of Nature
I feel this balance most acutely when I am out in nature. This posture promotes a deep sense of peace in several ways. Pressing your palms together opens up your energy channels. Strengthening your legs is akin to strengthening the trunk of a tree since strength begins in your legs, much like the trunk of a tree. Breathing in through your lower belly, then breathing out to send this energy to your legs is the same as a tree sending nutrients to its roots.
Feeling your feet firmly in contact with the ground literally grounds you, anchoring you to the present moment.
In these moments, I often see clearly the next step in my path. Whenever I ask a question of the universe, the response is usually this: trees are the answer. In this posture, you are aware of the sunlight on your face, the characteristics of the air around you, the sound of the birds, the branches moving in a slight wind, and the smell of the trees and earth.
For me, winter is my season of renewal. In the desert, hot temperatures last well into Fall. When it is finally cool again which seems like a miracle every year , I crave moments of quiet time to reconnect with the outdoors after being in an artificial environment for nearly six months. One year in mid-December I decided to abscond to the forest. I abandoned my plans for the day and headed north to Strawberry, Arizona.
I found a spot where families were sledding and building snowmen, and walked until I found a tree that spoke to me.
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I stood in front of this tree and stayed in tree posture for several minutes, taking in the cold air that stung my cheeks, feeling the texture of snow beneath my shoes, relishing the shift to a peaceful state of being. I gave thanks for this moment, then opened my eyes. I built a small snowman on a log before heading back to my car. On the drive home, I felt full of bright energy. The curves of the road matched the pace of the music as I sang along, feeling that all was right in the world. Tree posture is an essential component of class.
Many veterans have compressed spines, and this posture helps open up channels along the back.
After a breakdown, birdwatching brought me friendship, escape and a new love of nature
In addition, it promotes a peaceful state of mind and I can sense when this shift happens. There is a complete stillness, akin to being in a forest. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunity to create this peaceful environment for others, inspired by trees. Try tree posture the next time you are out in nature. Plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and keep your back straight.