If you live in the northern hemisphere then you are enjoying the longer days and warmer afternoons springtime can offer. Like anyone else I can find winter long (though I believe we should all find practices we enjoy like skiing, skating, sledding, lighting candles, cuddling under blankets…). Also like anyone else coming up for air as Covid seems to be more manageable and the wide open plains of summer are approaching I can find my mind wandering, my worries on the rise even though the weather suggests I should be happy. 

Mindfulness is something that has been studied and studied and this ancient skill is one that many people are interested in these days. It is easy to say we want to be more mindful, or that we accept what the studies conclude and desire to get meditating, but that is a lot like knowing we should, as Michael Pollan says, eat food, not too much, mostly plants. In other words, acknowledging something as good and useful and setting an intention to get started on it, and actually following through are not the same thing. 

A trick I like to use to help me stay fresh (or even re-start) a practice is to to move it outside if that is at all possible. I know some hardcore folks probably sit in meditation for hours and hours in negative 20 weather, but let’s get real, most us aren’t going to do that. In the spring the weather can be conducive to wellbeing. Again, studies show that getting outside is good for the heart, good for anxiety, depression and general wellbeing. 

Biblically this makes sense, from David the shepherd boy writing psalms but still waters, to Jesus who seems to have been mostly found outside (he walked and walked, he left town to pray, spent time in the wilderness, was known to chill out on a boat, I mean he was even born in a semi-outside space) we have examples of the faith life being lived outside. 

I suppose it makes sense then that I can find it helpful to move my meditation practice outside too, and not just because my kids aren’t there, or if they are they are far away. 

Now, when I move a religious practice outside I can feel pretty self-conscious, like I am on display and this can feel uncomfortable. I have found that

a- literally no one is paying attention to me so that whole worry is silly 

b- I get used to it 

c- mostly it just looks like I am sitting and waiting for a friend, the only “weird” thing is that I am not on my phone 

d- to hide you can use headphones and then you look officious and “busy” as you should (d is my least favour because I love to hear birds, wind, and even voices as I sit).  

So this spring if you are looking to start or refresh a mediation practice I suggest you try moving it outside, give it a week or two before you make up your mind to keep going or not. 

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