What if we all just did nothing, at least for a few moments each day? During the month of June, Hope Grows and the Think Caregiver program focused on “quiet” and how engaging in nature can help us become quiet.
I began to reflect and ponder the question, “Is nature ever quiet?” As I engaged in nature, I began to think about the sun and how quiet it is. We may not think about the sun as quiet because it is extremely powerful and almost devastating at times in certain climates, such as the barren desert.
But none the less, I became persistent in finding quiet – after all, there are many benefits for our health. I began to engage my mind, body and soul in the vastness that surrounded me.
I set out this month to experience what I was asking our followers to do: find quiet with the help of nature.
I started by looking at what the word “quiet” really means: to make no sound, to be still, to make tranquil or peaceful, to calm mentally, and make no activity.
Simple enough, right? Well, not so much.
While the benefits of quiet make us want to incorporate it into our daily busy routine, it is something that takes a little bit of effort and practice. As I engaged in nature, which is one of our favorite things to do here at Hope Grows, I realized that June marks the change of seasons, the end of spring and the beginning of summer.
Astrologers mark this time as the Summer Solstice, which occurred this year on June 21, 2018 at 6:07 a.m. Observation tells us this is the longest day of the year because the sun reaches its highest elevation in the Northern Hemisphere, with the stretch of sunlight lasting around 17 hours.
If you were unaware, summer begins when Summer Solstice happens. It becomes a celebration of light and in the United Kingdom, thousands of people gather at Stonehenge, where the sunrise aligns with the prehistoric monument. Theories speculate that the monument was specifically designed for this purpose, as well as special rituals throughout history where people not only gathered to celebrate the movement of the sun, but to mark the inherent cycles within spiritual and physical life.
The Sun is Powerful
So, what does the Summer Solstice have to do with quiet, you might ask? I believe that the solstices work in unison with the rhythms of our body, mind, and soul, helping us along our journey in this ever-changing world we exist within.
Just as the changes of the sun occur in nature, so does our path. Developing an understanding of the rhythms of our being can help with the practice of quiet, so that we can learn, change, share, take a step back, or go inward. It marks the changing of seasons as well as the changing of our inner direction. While the sun provides heat and warmth, it can also provide a light, a guided path to quiet.
Using our Five Senses
As summer unfolds, continue to take time to engage in nature. Use the peacefulness that nature offers and put to test your five senses. By using a mindful approach and anticipating a positive outcome, acting upon the five senses could result in something worthwhile.
Reflect and listen for the quiet of the forest, it may tell you something you have been waiting to hear. Look for the stillness of the water, you might see where to find peace in your life. Taste the inferred sweetness of the tomato, gratitude for something or someone may abound. Touch the soft blades of grass, the mindful process may release the impact of a stressor. And last but not least, smell the reserve of the grapes as it awaits harvest, it may trigger a happy memory.
Being still can be difficult when the heat of the summer is relentless, but if it does, use the agitation to evaluate the direction you are going.