Engaging the world and all its wonders can inspire, and settle the troubled mind. You don’t need to do much, and to venture outside your door into your garden or balcony will bring your senses into contact with the smell of the fresh air, the sounds of birds singing, the murmur of life happening. As Neil Diamond would say ‘there’s a beautiful sound …’ and as we work with our son to engage with mindfulness activities, we find many a true word in those lyrics.
Our son doesn’t always feel up to actually going out on a visit somewhere, and so we built and accessible deck, a veranda that he can step or wheel directly onto from the house, with all the safety that home provides, but with all the added benefit of being outdoors. He can sit in the sunshine benefiting from the value of it and the fresh air and we spend time working on our ‘senses’ game. Name five colours that you can see from where you are sat, name 5 sounds that you can hear with your eyes closed, name five smells that you can detect with you eyes closed, name five feelings that you can touch with you eyes closed.
It helps that we prepare with a selection of herbs and other textures when we do this and it is important that we play it for only just long enough that his enthusiasm allows, or it would become an unwanted chore, linked with being outdoors and a resistance would develop and make the task harder in future.
Of course, we are often joined by our pets, who just want to be in the act as well, and often our senses pick up the barking of a dog, the feel of her fur :))
There are other times when we do get further afield, and to walk through the park with the distant sounds of children playing, the river as it runs its way across rocks in the riverbed, maybe a steam train passing by and we look for various things to identify with. A recent trip to a local park coincided with an Easter Egg hunt. This was an ideal opportunity to extend our ‘game’ to broaden the scope of identifiable items. It was for children, but when we spoke to the organisers about what we were looking to do – basically, just using their treasure map – they were immediately helpful and allowed us to join in … as long as we didn’t want, of find an egg 🙂
Even though the day was dull and cloudy, we had such fun and a great experience to add to our social stories of successes that we can also use to help recall the feeling of ‘happiness’