When life shifts gear, serenity can still be found. Why not take a moment to drift away?
Sit down somewhere comfortable where you’re unlikely to be disturbed for at least a few moments. This might be a spot inside your home, such as your bedroom or bathroom, or outside in your garden. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds unfurling around you. Sift through the growl of traffic, the cacophony of road works, and the chatter of people in the garden next door until you find a nature-based sound. There are plenty to choose from at this time of year, from the whisper of the breeze in bay leaves to the bubbling cry of a goldfinch.
Feel the sounds
Roll them through your mind until you find one that eases your tension. Focus your attention to really hear the rise and fall of that particular reverberation. Can you pick out the subtle changes in pitch? As you listen, feel your breathing deepen and your pulse slow. Try inhaling profoundly and identifying the scents of flowers, such as delicately ruffled sweet peas or springy lilac blossoms. Allow hints of herbal plants like mint, rosemary, or lavender to wash over you. If any are growing within reach, reach out and run your fingers over the stems to release the aroma more richly.
If the unrest of passing cars intrudes on your tranquillity, concentrate on converting that stir into the rush of a river. It’s surprising how effective that can be. Consider the energy of a wild tributary and everything that flourishes within it, from newts and damselfly nymphs to kingfishers and osprey. Think of the earthiness of the water and the churn of its quenching embrace. Conjure the warmth of sunlight playing on its surface, breaking into ribbons over rocks and aquatic plants like bulrushes.
Perhaps you have the capacity to control the river you envision. Choose how fast or slow it flows, the flurry of its motion, and the lives that abound in its surroundings.
If your eyes flick open, breathe deeply and gently refocus your gaze inwards. Visualize the hues reflecting on the water – the azure of a perfect spring sky, the varied greens of reeds, trailing willow and duckweed, the white of a swan’s fallen feather or the iridescent flash of a kingfisher diving after a fish. Hear the river’s voice as it alters with different speeds: chuntering over stones, trickling, dashing, and splashing along.
Release your thoughts
If a worry you’re aiming to escape bobs to the surface, don’t try to push it back down. Instead, consciously turn the thought over, transform it into a single petal or leaf, and then release it for the river to carry away.
Breathe in, breathe out, and curl your fingers tightly until the tips press into your palms, then unwind them loosely. Allow your fingers to ripple as though you are dipping them into the water, and summon the incredible silkiness of that touch. By combining an imaginative act with a physical one, you are making a choice about how you feel. Draw comfort from the moments you spend in this frame of mind, and the knowledge that you can return to this safe space whenever you want.