Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sit and See

In today's world rarely do we find the time to just sit and watch the world as it revolves around us.  We rarely get the chance to just be alone,  to just relax and to truly take a long deep cleansing breath of air.

I recently completed a task given to me by one of my mentors.  The task seemed very simple.  His instructions short and sweet.  He simple said "Sit and See".  I quickly asked for clarification as to where to sit and what I was to be looking for.

I'm quite sure that he expected those questions from me because most of us are the same.  We look for clear direction and a detailed list of tasks to complete in a set amount of time.  Well, it turns out that is exactly why he gave me that task.

He wanted me to escape from the world that has been created by me that revolves around social and financial pressures and return to a spiritual place even if only for a short time.  It did seem unnatural to be given a task that had no time limit, no true direction and no expectation.

However what I did not realize at the time was that the task could not have been any more natural.  In fact the task revealed to me what was at one time very natural and very necessary to survive during primitive times.

So with task in mind and backpack in hand I travelled out into the winter wilderness.  I travelled over the snow for awhile wondering where the best place to sit would be.  I considered the weather, the sun, the tree types and all other things that truly didn't matter.  Eventually I just sat.  I found a nice Maple tree and just sat.

At first I was flooded with thoughts of all those social and financial pressures.  Thoughts of the tasks at home I was neglecting by being in the bush.  However sometime along the way those thoughts faded as I watched a squirrel scurry from tree to tree gathering materials and food.

I could feel as the time went on that my body became relaxed, my breaths deeper and my awareness heightened.

I could hear the sounds of birds in the trees and the squirrels seemingly yelling at each other.  Everything appeared brighter and more vibrant.  There was the unmistakable smell of the forest filled with lively evergreens. 

It all seemed so amazing to me.  Yet I realized that what was truly amazing was that I hadn't moved in over an hour.  I had seen things with my own eyes that I had read about in tracking books and wondered if I would ever really see the snowshoe hare bounding less than 20 feet from where I sat.  Would I ever really watch a squirrel or a bird bounce from branch to branch singing and foraging.  Would I ever really be able to just sit at the base of a tree and allow myself to do virtually nothing.

When I left the bush that day I was filled with joy and stories of the sights, smells and sounds that I had experienced.  I shared the stories with my two young boys.  They were amazed at the wildlife I had seen and what I watched them do.

When I spoke to my mentor he was not surprised in anyway about my excitement and reaction to the task.  He merely stated "Now you get it."

We all have seemingly endless Honey-Do lists and social obligations.  We all find it hard to find time for ourselves and when we do, we feel we must justify them to all who surround us.  However there is no greater gift that you can provide yourself than a quick spiritual retreat. 

It may only take 20 minutes but that time will ease your stress, lower your blood pressure and provide a true escape and return to nature.  While we are busy as a species trying to constantly evolve and change, our wilderness cousins are simply surviving.  Completing tasks the same way they have for all there lives.  Prey and Predator. 

Just sit and you'll see. 

Find time this weekend and just walk 5 minutes into the bush area and just sit.  When you return send me an email and share your experiences.  Tell me what you see, smell and hear.

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