Self-awareness is the ultimate guide to well-being. It is knowing your emotional landscape and experiencing life in the present.
The good news is that we have been learning how to be present over the last 15 months! On the path, we are exploring presence through vulnerability, creativity, joy, courage, and so many other ways that help us get to know ourselves on a deeper level and respond to situations with a deeper sense of awareness. We are learning and tending to our inner landscape so that we can welcome others with love. I believe that this is the work of becoming self-aware.
As many of you know, I walk regularly in the forest as part of my practice of presence. I often leave my worries at the start of the trail and simply allow myself to be present in the experience with nature. This break from being with people is one way that I connect with life in a different way and, in this space, I re-connect to my true nature.
On my walks, I follow three intuitive guides: slowness, silence, and sense. I’ve learned to listen to these guides as a way to sharpen my awareness of self. Here are my thoughts:
Slowness is medicine.
As humans, we are always moving from one point to another. Our minds and nervous systems are constantly responding to the movement of external stimuli. By slowing down, we allow our nervous systems to settle down. Once a day, I recommend taking a literal pause. Find a place in your home or in nature that is safe for you to rest for 15 minutes.
Silence is peace.
When you have found a slow pace or a still place, turn the noise down. It is very difficult to be self-aware when your awareness is being overwhelmed by things outside of yourself! Think of yourself as wind and your thoughts as waves on a lake. As the wind slows, let the waves calm to a full stop. In the silence, begin noticing the energy in your body.
Sense is connection.
Engage your senses. What are you hearing? seeing? smelling? Now, awaken your heart sense. What are you loving in this moment?
Thich Nhat Hanh said it best: “If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.”
Over the summer, we’ll explore the outdoors a little further and share books and practices that help strengthen our awareness and connection to nature. Stay tuned for a summer guide to living on the path!