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Naturally Distracted (8/21/22)

Where do you like to spend time with others? For me, that's easy ... nature. I'm more relaxed. I can slow down. I feel spacious and grounded. That's why I love being outdoors with others.

The forecast didn't look promising, though, for a planned day at the beach with two friends. So we decided to run errands (because we all have things to do anyhow, right?) and have lunch together instead.

It always feels like way too long since we've talked, so there was a lot to catch up on. Starts and stops to conversations had to happen while navigating traffic, getting in and out of the car, looking for and deciding on items, and even while eating as our waitress was great (... too great?) about checking in on us.

Distracted is how I felt with my friends today. I was missing the ability to simple be with them.

We say it a lot in passing. We think it. I'm distracted. But what does that actually feel like?

I realized that, for me, today, distraction felt like an uncomfortable spreading heaviness in the front of my head. At the same time, my body felt slightly constricted with an unpleasant underlying buzz of unwanted energy.

I realized that I had been in flight or flight modebecause I was so distracted. There was too much stimulation from crowds, electronic sounds, stuff, traffic, etc. That explains the constricted feeling, the narrow and shifting focus to whatever was most loud or visible, and the sense of needing to pass more quickly than usual through spaces and conversations.

When we spend time in nature, we enter rest and digest mode. We take in sights, sounds, and smells that offer physical and mental benefits. Our visual field opens up, which relaxes our bodies and minds, and we open up. We come home.

The distractions in nature are usually ones that are built into our DNA - pausing to watch a bird soar overhead, catching a scent on the breeze, seeing a squirrel run across the trail, ... Notice how you feel when you think about distractions on a walk through a park versus modern day errand-running distractions. Completely different. The distractions in nature are usually calming, connecting, and heart-warming (minus the mosquitos of course).

I invite you to notice when you are feeling distracted.Pause and take a deep breath. What are you experiencing in your body? Then, if possible, find a patch of nature. Maybe glance up toward the sky and watch trees or clouds for a minute. Maybe slip your shoes off and feel the grass (or sand if you make it to the beach) on the soles of your feet. Maybe listen for birds or the sound of the wind. Experience the gift of presence in nature through your senses.

I'd love to hear what distraction feels like for you and what helped you to reconnect. :)

I am offering several chances to experience connection and grounding in nature over the next few weeks. Please find more information below.


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