A surprising revelation happened while I was writing on the screened porch this week. I was enjoying pleasant seventy-something degree temperatures, when I heard crows conversing emphatically, as crows often do.
The crows had been caw-cawing in the background. When I noticed the sounds, it seemed I was transported back to childhood. In my crow induced daydream, I was once again lying on my back in the grass by our family’s home, gazing at the incomparable blueness and following the travels of white cotton candy clouds. I swear I could feel the sun’s gentle embrace and the wind’s light caress. The two dominant sounds in this memory were the creaking of eighty-foot pine trees and the talking of crows.
I began to play with the experience. Noticing how calm I felt from “visiting” that spontaneous childhood memory, I was curious how it might be to invoke the experience, to call it in intentionally.
My 3-Step Experiment
1. I take a few slow and deep breaths (+ add a moment of stretching, for good measure).
2. I imagine I am a kid again, relaxing on the lawn by the woods.
3. I sink more deeply into the reverie, inviting the sensations that were present (warmth, breeze, crow and tree sounds, relaxed muscles).
This is all it takes. I have stayed in this practice for as few as a couple minutes and as much as half an hour. You can set a timer for whatever period you’d like.
Your Turn to Experiment
You can use a memory of your own, create an imaginary calming scenario, or borrow the one I described.
In terms of using your imagination, you can create as many locations and scenarios as you like. You may have heard the term “happy place” mentioned – you are welcome to give yourself a collection of many inner happy places. The key is that you feel safe and comfortable in whatever relaxing settings you select. You are in control of location, temperature, weather, indoors/outdoors, time of day/night, lighting, colors, textures . . . and so forth.
The calming experiments can be done sitting, reclining, even standing. You decide what works best for you each time.
1. Take a few slow and deep breaths, and bring in some stretching.
2. Invite yourself into the memory or imaginary setting you have chosen. Stay with this a few moments.
3. Ask yourself to sink more and more deeply into the elements you would be sensing (i.e., waves lapping over your feet and ankles as you walk along a shore; sight and sounds of a crackling campfire; the aroma of bread baking or the scent of a favorite flower).
I’d love to hear from you. Think about sharing a calming, nurturing practice you already enjoy. If you play with the ideas from today, please drop back by and let us know what is happening. You might like to read How to Mellow Stress in Stressful Times.
You are welcome to find out about my telephone meditation classes .They are held 3 different times weekly.