As a culture we glorify busy. We cram our lives with things to do and places to go. We schedule our children's lives and join activities. We work and overwork.
Recently I haven't had much time for myself, but when my time became a bit more open I decided to not only get back into a regular exercise routine but find time to centre myself and meditate.
Nothing makes me more calm and centred than to spend time outside in a natural setting, particularly by water. We live five minutes from the mouth of the Fraser River in Steveston, an idyllic fishing village. I enjoy going for walks and runs along the river bank year round. In the winter I love the foggy, frosty mornings; in spring I enjoy the fresh new green and flowers; in the summer I find peace in the golden sunsets; in the fall I love the crisp air and warm colours.
Along the river bank
My usual running route has been closed due to boardwalk reconstruction so I have been heading in the opposite direction along the river. One day I decided to stop and go exploring down on the shoreline to get a closer view of a blue heron. I rediscovered an amazing little beach and decided to sit on a log for a while. The sounds of birds, the lapping water and wind calmed me so I closed my eyes to listen more mindfully. Before I knew it I was meditating, which I have not done for some time.
The Earth's creatures living in harmony.
It is particularly difficult to find quiet alone time with three children, especially when even going to the bathroom is no longer alone time. I have wanted to do this for a while (one of my new year intentions this year) but because of my crazy busy life I just didn't make it a priority. Of course, much like exercising, it is precisely when we are busy and feeling stressed that we should make time for this.
The air is fresh and salty where the Fraser River meets the ocean.
I was out of practice and found my mind wandering constantly, but I always brought myself back to my breath. I particularly like meditating by water because ebb and flow of the water mirrors breathing. It makes it easy to remember to breathe mindfully when Nature is right there reminding me with her rhythms.
My new favourite meditation spot.
The effect of this brief moment was immediate. I felt calmer and yes, happier. I have since returned to this spot once a week when my youngest is in preschool, but I need to find the time in my regular life more often.
If it is important I will make time; otherwise I'm just making excuses.