Mindful Meditation or Back Yard TV

Ahhh, meditation. Every “expert” I know sings the praises of mindful meditation along with the many health benefits including stress management, reducing negative emotions, and increasing patience and tolerance. I have often been told by multiple experts, “You need to meditate. You’re so high strung, and it’s the only way to calm your mind.”

To say I’m high strung is an understatement, but I prefer to think of it as high energy. One of my ballet teachers once said that I had “big energy.” I took it as a compliment until one of the dancers said, “That’s a nice way of putting it.” Hmmm….I wondered what she meant by that. The look on her face indicated it wasn’t a compliment. Along with having high energy, I am also quite skilled at reading body language and facial expressions.

I’ve tried meditating. And I hate it. It doesn’t calm my busy brain. Instead, it makes it go into high gear. Meditation advocates have been quick to point out that I’m doing it wrong. Great, one more thing to feel guilty about. As an over achiever, I want to do everything to the best of my ability. So, I gave up. Or did I?

My mindful meditation comes in the form of back yard TV. I have a big, beautiful yard and am fortunate to live in a quiet but active neighborhood. I have a small beach chair that I carry around to different areas of the yard and breathe the fragrant air. It’s June. The grass is growing, the trees are blooming as well as the flowers, the recent late spring snow storm as well as the rain has made everything green and lush, especially for Colorado.

Sitting alone in my chair with my dogs beside me, my eyes go back and forth, taking in the scenery. The vibrant colors include a robin’s egg blue sky, bright sun, green leaves, and colorful flowers. Don’t even get me started on the soft, billowing white clouds against the backdrop of bright blue sky. Just watching them change shape and morph from dinosaurs to dogs, horses into humans, faces into flowers, and alligators into angels calms my mind, relaxes my body, and makes me smile.

My backyard TV awakens all of my senses. The sounds of the neighborhood with the combination of kids  playing in the distance, dogs barking, birds singing, and my beloved windchimes is like candy to my ears. Then there’s the feel of the sun on my shoulders and the breeze on my face, along with my bare feet in the grass, as well as the smell of the earth and the flowers.

Sitting in my yard watching back yard TV is a truly remarkable somatosensory experience, and one that I have never had when I tried traditional meditation. My point is that we are all different, and what works for some doesn’t work for all. It’s up to us to explore and find what works for us and letting go to what doesn’t. I have a lot more to say about meditation (of course), but I’ll save that for another day.

In the meantime, you might be wondering what I do when I want to change the channel. That’s easy. I simply move my chair to another area of the yard, settle in, and a new experience starts all over again. Ahhh, back yard TV!

awareness, Colorado living, health, healthy lifestyle, meditation, mindfulness, nature, neuroplasticity., senses, somatosensory experience, wellness