life · minimalism

A CHANGE OF ROUTINE

I feel I kicked off 2018 with a positive shift in energy when I introduced a morning meditation practice into my routine (which I reflected on in this post on mindfulness). This is something I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping up over the last four months or so, and it’s really paying off. I feel more at peace with myself, more confident, more able to handle stress and anxiety, and in general it takes a lot more to ruffle my feathers than it used to. I don’t think meditation is a cure-all (I see it as just one component of a shift towards greater wellbeing), but I do feel it has significantly changed the way I experience the world. It’s as if I’m seeing the same world but through a different lens – a clearer one.

I had a little bit of time off work over Easter and decided to change things up a bit by adding in a morning walk before my usual fifteen-minute meditation practice, and I’m managing to keep it up now that I’m back at work. I’m very fortunate to live in a beautiful leafy suburb, with a big park only a few minutes’ walk away, so it seemed to make sense to take full advantage of this lovely green space. Not only did it seem like a way to make the most of my surroundings, I somehow felt like something was missing in my routine that more walking might be able to offer me.

On these walks I decided to not take an audiobook with me and instead started simply noticing. NoticingΒ the subtle shift in light as the sun comes up, the soft crackling of leaves, the cool air against my warm skin, my stomach plaintively asking for breakfast, the kookaburras laughing away on top of a fence or a bus shelter, hundreds of lorikeets swarming around the treetops, the quiet rhythm of my runners on the path, the fresh smell of the dewy grass.

I realised that what I had been missing was spending quality time surrounded by nature and that this new walking routine was its own kind of meditation, a kind of conscious communion with nature and its beautiful simplicity. I like to think of myself as aware of my screen time and present as I go about my day (or at least more present than I used to be), but my new habit has made me realise just how disconnected urban living can be from the natural world.

This realisation brought to mind some information on the nature-wellbeing connection that fellow Australian blogger CathieΒ of 2018: A Year of Living Sustainably, who is on an awe-inspiring self-sufficiency journey with her family, recently shared in her Week 12 update. Cathie had listened to a radio program which talked about how our surroundings affect how we feel and that research shows that we are constantly responding to the environment around us. She also shared that multiple studies have shown that recovering patients with a view of nature will recover 30% more quickly from their operations than will patients with a view onto a brick wall.

These findings make complete sense to me. I’m sure that over the last few weeks I’ve been feeling so great (or perhaps I should say, even better) because I’ve been internalising the stillness and slowness of nature, taking it with me into my day and letting that feeling of calmness remain with me as the busyness of my work day sets in. This new habit feels like a preemptive remedy to the sensory overload of my day, and such a wonderful complement to my formal meditation practice.

I love that in the natural world, nothing is rushed. Everything happens in its own good time, and this is the message I want to take home with me each morning as I finish my walk and re-enter my home, with its electricity and appliances and technology. I would do well to remember that just because the world around me is always rushing ahead doesn’t mean that I have to.

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10 thoughts on “A CHANGE OF ROUTINE

  1. I love this! I completely agree that nature has a profound impact on our bodies and that we tend to internalize whatever environment we’re in (whether that’s a hectic one or a calm one). It’s been so hard here to get outside since it’s winter (and ridiculously cold), so I can’t wait for summer to be able to feel the ground under my feet and feel the sun on my skin. Just thinking about it makes me more relaxed!

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    1. Hi Britt! Thanks for your comment on this. πŸ™‚

      It must be really hard to not always be able to get outside when you want to. Here we often complain about not having a ‘proper winter’, which is a bit precious of us really, considering there are Canadians across the Pacific itching to get outdoors during winter!

      Hope you get some sun and warmth over your way soon so that you can enjoy the ground under your feet – sans frostbite! πŸ˜‰

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  2. Well, I admire your resilience, Lisa – a walk and meditation! You are genuinely inspiring me – I’ve tried to fit meditation into my day and it’s a little hit or miss – I think I need to try first thing in the morning, every morning! Also, brilliant tip about just being in nature. I realise that when I walk I nearly always listen to a podcast. I used to think it enhanced the experience but will now try it without (obviously, not your podcast, Lisa!!) and see what differences I notice! Thanks so much, Lxx

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    1. Hi Lorraine! Thank you for your very kind comment on this post, as always. πŸ™‚

      It can be so difficult to fit a regular meditation in, can’t it? I really hear you on that one. I guess what I didn’t mention in this post (I am trying to keep posts to a reasonable length as I have a tendency to go on and on!) was how much of a challenge it has been to rearrange my morning schedule to make sure I can actually do the walk and the meditation. I’ve managed to get there by doing a lot more preparation the night before and have also cut out all screen time in the morning (as I was previously having a leisurely breakfast while reading blogs, my email etc. Now I’m slowly getting used to eating breakfast while just looking out the window.).

      I’m the same as you and love listening to podcasts and audiobooks while I walk. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I’m finding that leaving my morning walk audio-free is a great way to clear my mind first thing, but I then enjoy listening to something while walking to the train later in the morning. I’m always craving mental/intellectual stimulation, so I think it has been an interesting exercise of discipline for me. It was a nice surprise to find that I have been enjoying the silence and contact with nature so much, and therefore was able to discover that it was just what I needed!

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  3. Very thought provoking post. We’ve been experiencing beautiful weather in the UK and it has been wonderful to tend my garden, enjoy nature and the outside. Not surprised you recover from an illness if you have a view of nature. Thank you.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and for leaving a comment! Glad you enjoyed this. πŸ™‚

      How wonderful that you’ve been able to get outside more lately, too! Your garden looks so lush and green. I enjoyed your little note about Elvis Juice in that post too. I did not know that!

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