The weather was very hot this week. It may have even put some people off coming to the Well-being in Nature session. But enough people came to make it worthwhile so I decided we would do very little and walk at an even more leisurely pace. I suggested we go down to the river Rom where I imagined we would be cooler.

We got to the river with all its lush vegetation along the banks and walked slowly to a place we have used before for doing our relaxation exercises. On the way we stopped while one member of the group showed us a stock dove nest he had spotted earlier, in a hollow willow tree. We could see the female dove sitting on the nest and just catch her dark eyes looking out through a hole. We also heard the male cooing from another tree nearby.

After we had done our usual relaxation exercises and a session of mindfulness I decided we could do something else while we were by the river. We did part of an activity I’ve used before when by a river. I will give the instructions here, you might like to try it yourself or with your group.

Watching the flow

After doing a mindfulness session by the river ask everyone to remain relaxed and slowly make their way to the riverbank. I suggest that people find a place where they can watch the water flow, where there is some clear movement. The aim is to look straight ahead at one point on the river’s flowing water. To have the water flow into and out of your field of vision. The eyes remain relaxed on one place. Encourage a return to mindfulness.

I talk about various things people can do while they are doing this. I remind them to relax and be still inside while the water outside flows past them; allowing water patterns and objects floating downstream to come along and then disappear. Let go of whatever turns up and wait to see what comes along next while noticing the currents. Contrast the stillness inside with the energy of the river river.

After doing this for a bit I then suggest that they could transfer this way of looking from the river to life itself. I encourage people to experiment being in a situation, say with other people, perhaps with emotions flying around, and to take the same view. See the activities going on without getting emotionally caught up in other people’s conflicts or disturbances. To be attentive and to engage but not to be swept downstream and loose your footing.