During my personal retreat, I took many walks. I started by walking up and down the street. I had my earphones listening to podcasts or music. One day, I decided to walk up Mont Sutton, which was behind where I was staying. I brought my earphones in case it got boring. I like walking in nature and the woods, yet I am always afraid I will get bored. It is Fall, the wind is constant, and the colours are spectacular.
I started walking up the mountain along mountain bike trails. The wind was blowing through the trees. The trees and its branches allowed themselves to be pushed only so far before fighting back and springing back to be pushed again. With that, the leaves either fell or stayed on the branches and created the subtle rustling or creaking sounds.
The fallen leaves blanketing the forest floor had a unique crunch with every step I took. The fallen leaves were starting to decay, and that is one of my favourites smells in the world. The earthy Fall smell that makes you feel alive.
The trail is easy, yet you still have to watch where you step. I noticed I was able to concentrate on my steps, and my mind was juggling only 10 or so random thoughts rather than thousands. The sound of the trees distracted my mind enough to allow more focused thinking and to focus on walking. The trail required me to be present and be mindful of my next steps.
My focus was on the path ahead and my feet. I had to concentrate on my steps.
My mind was not ruminating. My mind was not running or jumping. My mind was calm. The sounds and smells made my senses and body calm.
I stop and sit on a rock to listen. I just listened. I expect my mind to run, and I will need my earphones. I sit there, with my head down, looking at the fallen leaves. Then I lift my head to a sound and find a chipmunk looking at me then scurrying away. I hear the branches sway, and I look up. The swaying branches have a hypnotic affect.
My mind is calm. I can concentrate on the sights, smells and sounds. I am present, in the now.
I get back up, continue walking, and my earphones are forgotten. An hour later, I get back to the cottage and sit down on the front steps looking over the multi-coloured valley. My body and mind are calm. Just like after my meditation sessions.
Nature is calming. To be safe in nature, you must be mindful and present. That is the only way to enjoy nature. Be present.
Nature is a form of meditation. I must concentrate on my breathing and my steps. I have to push away my thoughts to say present and not fall. I can’t explain it. I can only feel it. It feels great.
This is new to me.