Whether you live in a drought-prone or flood-prone environment, or the moisture in your climate is always just right, a great mindfulness practice is to spend some time exploring water.
Outdoors, you probably think of water as immersive – for swimming, or as a surface – for boating or fishing. If rain causes postponement or cancellation of activities, you may be annoyed at the inconvenience.
But what would happen if you turn this perspective around?
What kinds of activities can you do to enrich your joyous experiences with water outdoors?
This week, make a list of the many, many ways you could interact with water just to feel it.
Here are three wonderful ways to become mindfully involved with water, right in your own yard. Each can plunge you into focused awareness of the here and now. Yes, your neighbors might think you’re silly with these exercises. Just explain you’re doing focused stress management and invite them to try their own encounters with water!
Start with your hands.
As you can see from the photo at the top of this blog, some gardens have a dipper adjacent to a pool of water. It’s easy to try this for yourself just by bringing a cup to an outside faucet. Notice how it feels to pour water onto each hand. Try pouring fast and slow, with a large quantity of liquid in the cup or with a small amount. If you begin by pouring the water into your hands and letting in drip onto the ground, then shift to pouring the water over a birdbath, fountain or small basin, where the water can splash back up. Can you feel the splashes on the undersides of your hands? Ask yourself, “What if I pour the water from a pitcher? From another bowl?” Experiment to see how many sensations you can generate in the palm of your hands by pouring the water differently.
Now move to your feet.
You can start by pouring water onto your feet if you'd like, Then, why not create a puddle or two and dowse your bare feet into them? If you walked through puddles as a child, this may bring back memories of the joy you felt in the splashing about and your ability to change the world, however slightly, with your feet. You can step back and just dip your toes. Is the sensation the same in both feet? Try stomping to generate a splash. Or kick forward or sideways to splash and disperse the water.
It’s time for total drenching now.
Dig out that hose-end sprinkler from the garage or basement, put on your swimsuit or shorts and tee and go stand under the sprinkler. Feel how firmly the drops land on you when you place yourself in various spots. If you are closer to the sprinkler, does more water fall on you than when you’re further away? If it’s an oscillating or rotating sprinkler, that’s even better! Notice the sensations when the water spurts away from you. Perhaps the water’s firm, almost painful, when it strikes, and you feel relief when it passes. Or maybe the water feels soothing and reassuring, so you feel almost lonely when it leaves.
Enjoy every exposure to feelings and sensations with water in your yard.
And ask yourself whether there's enough water joy in your garden or if it's time to add to the existing design.
Think you’re ready for encounters with public water displays and fountains? Stay tuned for an upcoming blog with more mindfulness suggestions for you. The more you discover about how your body, mind and spirit interact with the natural world, the less stressed and more joyful you can be!
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