After all the busyness of the studio move these last few weeks and all the unsettling news in the world I was feeling pretty depleted at the weekend. Each day I've been so excited to get to the new studio that I get there really early and leave late, but even excitement can wear you down after a time. The early part of this year for me was so SLOW and I reveled in it, taking time to notice everything. But now it has got back up to a SPEED I am no longer accustomed to. I felt the need to slow back down again or at least find a way to meet somewhere in the middle. I needed some time to rest and digest.
Some time ago I signed up to the Wild Wonder Foundations online conference and my video pass started this weekend. Wild Wonder is an American organisation 'encouraging nature connection and conservation through attention, curiosity, art, science and community'. It sounded right up my street. They had loads of great speakers one of whom was Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix, a book I got a lot of inspiration from. So I started there, knowing that by the end of her talk I would be raring to get into the woods.
I wasn't wrong. Florence talked a lot about awe and the power it has to refresh us by taking us out of our busy minds and into the moment. She talked about how there is lots of science around it now that is discovering a myriad of health benefits. The best bit is that we don't need to go to dramatic far flung wonders of the world to find it. We can get the same benefits from 'micro-dosing' awe. We can find it in tiny, every day places. I knew that from experience, but it's always good to have science back it up right!?
Florence talked about a book called The Power of Awe by Jake Eagle and Michael Amster and a technique they are teaching with great effect.
A. is for attention
W. is for wait
E. is for exhale and expand
So, we give our full attention to something - a plant, a tree, the face of a loved one, the light through the leaves or whatever. Consider the life in it. Then we wait until it touches us. Then we exhale, three times, slower and longer than usual and we see how we feel.
I practiced in the woods.
It was easy to find.
It's on every branch and under every leaf.
You can hold it in your hand
or even put it in your pocket.
Autumn gives us plenty to marvel at doesn't it.
and a lot to be thankful for.
It's so simple and accessible. All that most people want is the opportunity to experience the beauty in nature and in their loved ones. I made a wish for peace and counted my blessings.
I downloaded the Power of Awe audio book and I still have seven hours and nine minutes of it left but I think I have got the gist! I know I am already an accomplished awe finder but it's so easy to be swept away by busyness, stress, worry and even excitement, and forget to look for it. I intend to REMEMBER.
Wishing you so much awe, wonder and the peace of the woods all year round.
p.s If you have stumbled upon this blog from somewhere on the internet and you enjoyed my words and pictures you might like my Three Somethings email. Be the first to see new my creations, watch ideas unfold and join me in the simple practice of noticing nature through the seasons. Sign up here for this gentle and joyful moment in your inbox.