It’s my mum’s birthday today and, before she and my dad pop over to celebrate, I took a few minutes to capture what’s growing in our garden on this special day.
That I notice and appreciate flowers and plants so much certainly stems from my childhood: my mum would always be growing something pretty in the garden, which was ever-changing as we rented and moved quite a bit. Once I’d grown old enough not to be playing with worms and woodlice, she instilled in me a penchant for looking more closely at plants, and this is something I’m developing further today, within a mindfulness practice.
Something I tried recently (thanks to the RHS’ Gardening for Mindfulness book by Holly Farrell): select a flower or the leaf of a plant and spend five minutes looking very closely at it, taking in its details: colours, patterns, shapes, textures. Notice if it’s obvious whether it’s been pollinated; if it’s newly-bloomed or on its way out; how the light catches it and if there is iridescence to it; if it’s moving in the breeze or still; if any bees or other insects are near or on it…there are many observations you might make in this short time, and once you have taken a few moments to look carefully, you’ll know the flower or leaf pretty well.
Taking it slowly
My main tip with the above practice is to take your time, not striving to mentally list all you can see immediately, but rather beginning with the perspective that you’re watching the flower or leaf, seeing it with fresh eyes in each moment. You’ve probably never looked at this particular flower or leaf up-close before, or indeed with this much care; and if you were to look at it tomorrow, it’d be different. (Indeed, in each moment the flower or leaf and the conditions around it are changing). In that sense, each time we practice this it’s a brand new, one-off experience, reminding us that each moment of our lives is, too.
I’m only halfway through the book I mentioned above, and suspect there will be other ideas well worth sharing from it in the weeks ahead.
I hope someone reading this might try out the practice and let me know if it was interesting, helpful or fun! (Personally I found my first try moving and the second more challenging due to my state of mind, and I guess in that sense it’s a good gauge day-to-day).
Wishing everyone a restful weekend, once it arrives.
Until next time,