Outside, Inside, & Stillness

How often do you just sit outside in the garden, assuming you have one that is, and just listen to the birds?

How often do you simply watch your children play?

Sometimes I can get so caught up in the busyness of my day-to-day –
even though my general day’s are not exceptionally busy, I still have piles of laundry, meals to plan and make, an endless stream of things to tidy up my own sense of wanting to read or listen to some music or an audiobook, sometimes I find I drift unsure what I want to be doing with my time
and I miss those moments.

The beautiful weather this half-term week here in the UK, has meant that we were unable to be in the garden everyday. My husband is home, and all six of us have very much enjoyed the freedom to just potter around outside in the glorious sunshine.

In my daughter’s case she has spent much of her time sat in the bushes, pulling off branches, enjoying the sensory feel of it, my youngest son is currently toddling around waving a gigantic bamboo cane, which I shall remove from him in a minute, my eldest and husband are off to see a friend for the day, my elder son has been chilling on a chair in the sunshine, and I am writing this by recording my words onto a transcription app, so that I don’t have to miss what’s going on. We were up early today, and so it is still barely 8:15am.

My kids really benefit from the free-range life we lead.
Yes, there are times when a little bit more structure would help me and sometimes would help them too, but they’re really happy and I get so much delight in watching then pootle to their hearts content, that there seems very little need to change it at present.

My eldest daughter often chooses to spend her time reading via audiobook, or drawing pictures, and most recently has taken to sitting by the open window, typing up a book she is currently writing on the computer.
At 16.5months, my baby son is very much enjoying exploring outside in his little bare feet, finding leaves, touching different textures- he’s currently walking around with a plant pot and a bamboo cane looking very pleased with himself – and I very much enjoy the feeling of being outside.

I think so often we miss this connection to nature and the outdoors because we don’t stop long enough to try.
I know I can get like that sometimes.

Some days it feels like a herculean effort to get myself out the house to go for a walk – I mean it always is a herculean effort to get myself and my kids out, especially if I’m on my own, for so many reasons – but there is a real simple pleasure in sitting outside and feeling the sun on your face or feeling the cool of a breeze, watching the loveliness of the light play on the greenery in front of you as you sit in the shade, trying not to get poked in the eye by the flying bamboo cane and generally enjoying the stillness.

I think the more connected we are to the earth beneath our feet and the people in our lives, the more connected we are to the stillness – outside of ourselves where possible, but especially our inner stillness – the more like ourselves we feel.
When I stop being plugged in, and give myself longer than a perfunctory 10 minutes, I really feel the difference.

So, can you get out today some point?

Maybe it’s not the morning for you, maybe you’re at work and your kids are in school, so your space is when they come home – but can you give yourselves at least half an hour to be physically and mentally present to the outside and each other?

Pause.
Pay attention.

See how the stillness of play and connection tunes you in to your five senses, to the ground beneath your feet, the space above your head.

Reflect on all the blessings you have, even if you are in the midst of a difficult season –
and simply allow your heart to breathe.