Thursday, 18 May 2017
7 Days of Soul: Soul Sabbatical
Day 5 of Alexi Panos' "7 Days of Soul" challenge seemed pretty unappealing to me: we were asked to go sit with nature for at least 20 minutes.
Now, I have to say… I’m thoroughly urbanised and just not a nature person. I never feel the need to get out of built environments, I usually feel that beautiful scenery is kind of wasted on me, and there are few things I can think of that I’d like to do less than walking in wilderness. So, even thinking of where I would go or what I would do for today’s stretch was… a stretch!
I reflected that there are two things in nature that do resonate with me: the sky (particularly the night sky) and large bodies of moving water: rivers, seas, and oceans. My home city is built on a river (the Brisbane River), and for practically my entire life I’ve never lived more than 2km (just over a mile) away from that river. On just about every day of my working life, I have commuted alongside it for most of my journey. So, I decided I would go and just watch the river from one of its many bridges.
I sat for about 30 minutes, watching the ripples in its brown, estuarine surface, as the wavelets travelled and collided with each other, and observing how the wakes from passing watercraft would propagate and then rebound off the banks or various structures. And the longer I watched, the deeper I relaxed. There was something mesmerising in this activity. After about ten minutes, I completely lost consciousness of time. By the time the half-hour was up, I felt a deep peace and an unexpected clarity, similar to what I’ve experienced inside float tanks.
What’s more, that sense of calm and clarity is something I associate with the better, future self that I’ve been led to imagine in life-coaching sessions. For the third time this week, I’ve gained an insight into how to embody that self.
So, watching the water is something I’m going to do more of.