Do you find yourself getting caught up in a lot of activity at this time of the year?
A few days ago I gave myself a treat. After delivering a load of orders for my new book to the post shop, I took some time out at my favourite small beach on the Waitemata Harbour.
Waitemata means sparkling waters. Not only were they sparkling, but the tide was full. The regular beat of waves against the shore soon calmed me down after the active morning.
Taking ‘green time’ — a phrase I like to use for entering into the embrace of nature — will release you from the pressures of a busy mind and restore you to sensory connection.
Sometimes sitting in nature is about listening; about being enveloped in sounds that soothe.
It may also about seeing what is usually hidden. Have you ever found when you sit still in nature, that after a while, creatures appear?
(This is something you might do with children, to encourage them to be quiet and still and then notice how long it takes for wild things to show themselves.)
As I sit by the water on this day, I notice a kāruhiruhi/pied shag on a yellow ochre promontory, drying its wings by opening and closing them, over and over, and then giving a sharp flap. Above the bird’s display, a pohutukawa lifts a canopy of crimson flowers.
A riroriro/grey warbler, that hard-to-see little bird, flies up on to the branches of another pohutukawa, close by, that dangles over the water.
After a while the kāruhiruhi dives into the sea for another fishing expedition. Suddenly, a pair surface close to the steps where I am perched. I have become part of nature and they are unaware of my existence. Then I move, and they fly up, with big wings beating.
The refuge of stillness
In this place, the busyness of the season drifts away and slips over the horizon. I find perfect stillness inside, an inner season beyond all seasons, an ocean of calm.
I pull out my writer’s notebook. Its pages have puffed up since I carried it in my backpack with a leaking water bottle; but it’s still receptive to my words as this newsletter flows effortlessly on to the page.
Can you gift yourself this?
In this season where pressure is beginning to mount as the year moves to a close, why not allow yourself the gift of ‘green time’?
Let nature bring you into restorative connection with your own self.
Open to the wonder of life and the quiet energy of the plants and creatures of this planet.
Preparing for summer solstice
Summer solstice is a special moment in the seasonal cycle: one of abundant light and energy. When the sun is so generous, how might you also express generosity?
Here’s a snippet from my new book, Sun, Moon, and Stars to show how one whānau prepared for the solstice by creating gifts.
‘Grace began preparing the day before summer solstice. Her whānau celebrations, after a few years of practice, have become quite elaborate, with her son Manu (4) becoming more and more part of the planning. On this year he came up with a new idea:
. . . to deliver gifts secretly to some of our friends on summer solstice eve. So we spent some time that day writing summer blessings, baking biscuits, and blending herbal tea from herbs we had harvested from our garden and then dried. We also wrapped up the calendula and kawakawa balm that we made at Beltane.
After going for a little dance in the moon we then crept around in the dark leaving the gifts at our friends’ doors and surrounding them in a mandala of hydrangea flowers.’