Fair warning – I have sipped the vacation koolaid from my meditation retreat in Molokai, Hawaii, so my tone and articulation may be more flowery than usual as I try to savor the nectar of the experience (ugh – I literally can’t help myself:-). Many people have asked me to share the bite size nuggets of insight and perspective that I’ve become known for in these mindfulness boosters from the retreat.
But I don’t quite have the power of articulation yet to fully distill the impact this most recent retreat experience gifted me with. Sure I could share about the panoramic views at every turning point, or the nourishing foods that graced our plates at every meal, or the massive power of both holding space and simultaneously being held in such rare vulnerability. But there was something more potent that was planted in me on this most recent Molokai excursion – and it was feeling a deep connection to the island itself.
I felt an indescribable interconnectedness to nature as a model of relationship in our everyday life. I’m sure I will expand in the weeks to come, but the primary example of this was simply the sounds I became aware of. The soft dancing of the evening breeze, the gentle nourishment of raindrops falling, and the unbelievable songs of the birds. I know it sounds crazy, but the birds on the island always seem to arrive with an important message to share – whether a gentle nudge to wake up or making their presence known while speaking of a loved one who has passed.
So as the reality of re-entry takes hold, I find myself curious to using sound as a simple mindfulness tool and sure enough have discovered that even in the thick of summer in Austin, Texas the wind still dances (kind of), the rain still nourishes, and the birds still sing.
This is a long winded way of inviting the gift of sounds as a practical mindfulness tip. Here are a few steps to invite this practice in a more intentional way.
Mindfulness Tip: Inviting Sounds
Step 1: Just become aware of sounds in your immediate environment that capture your attention. Could be as obvious as a the phone, a text, wind chimes, birds – really anything that grabs your awareness.
Step 2: Once you become aware of the sound, simply take 3 deep breaths.
Step 3: Continue to be open to this sound throughout your day as a cue to breathe and invite more sounds in a similar fashion. You can then use those sounds as a cue to take 3 breaths. Over time you will discover that everything will be a reminder to simply breathe and ultimately be more present.
Step 4: Before you know it, you too will be aware of the birds singing as a reminder of the interconnectedness to something bigger in our everyday:-)