Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spreading Wellness: Do you meditate?

The sun was beginning to set. There was a deep red glow off in the distance, the waters were like glass, reflecting the beautiful trees, rocks and grasses. It was time for an evening swim, so we headed to the canoe landing to see if there would be a nice place to wade in. As we rounded the corner down the stairs, chattering about who knows what, I looked up and startled. For just across the little inlet, standing in the water munching away was a big moose (cow). Standing on the shore was a little nervous looking calf. We all stopped, watched, and then I turned around and headed back for our campsite to get my camera, while Daddy and his little one sat down on the stairs to watch the moose. She was giddy, with an excited and hushed voice she said, "this is a memory that I will always remember!" When I returned, the moose was still there. As I sat and watched, listening to the chewing of the moose, I tried to take a video and picture, but the moose stood in the shadows, so the pictures didn't turn out very well. Well enough for our photo book, with a caption to remind us what we did for 15-20 minutes that night, but not well enough to share. So instead, I sat, listened, and watched as well. A live meditation, in nature.

Do you meditate? If so, how often? If not, why? Is it because you have never considered it?, you don't know how?, you don't think you can sit still for any length of time?, you can't quiet your mind?, you don't understand why it helps with health and well-being?

If these are questions that you have asked yourself, but then never found the answer, this post is for you. Over the past few months, quite a few people have asked me to share more about meditation. There is an abundance of research coming out on the health benefits of meditation and slowing down. Our lives have become so busy, we get pulled into the work harder, longer, faster mind-set. Productivity is on the forefront of work-place initiatives, so people get sucked into the thinking that if you take a break, you are not being productive. And, what the science is showing us, is that when we slow down, we can actually increase productivity. When we take breaks, go for walks, and yes, even meditate for 5 minutes, we can think more clearly, and yes, improve productivity. If you would like to read more about the science of slowing down, Emma Seppala has written a really solid science backed book on happiness, called The Happiness Track

I have given 3 presentations on the health benefits of nature this spring, and one of the experiments for participants to do is watch a series of nature pictures. Identify the emotion that each picture provides for them, and then we have a discussion about what they felt. Here is a super short example, which I posted onto my YouTube channel. After a lengthy picture slideshow experiment, one participant said she learned that she needs to add flowers to her cubicle. YAY! For her, it brought her a calming feeling. The point is, meditation doesn't have to be sitting on a meditation pillow, with a spiritual leader in the front of the room, eyes closed for hours and days. We can fit small bits of meditation into our every day lives, it can look different for different people, and it can have positive physiological changes in our bodies and brains. You can watch E3's Meditation Monday videos while in your cubicle (my channel is filled with options). Maybe you want to create a slideshow of your favorite nature pictures, and play that. But, what I encourage most, is actually to get outside in nature. Take one of your breaks (YES, Your boss should encourage them), and get outside, pause and slow down for even 5 minutes. Maybe you would rather take a 15 minute walk in the woods, or along Lake Superior. Or maybe, you don't have that luxury, so you walk around your block and find what nature is in your area. Breathe in deeply, the fresh air, the smell of the damp woods, spring flowers, or freshly cut grass, depending upon where you are. Then when you return to your work, you will feel refreshed. Try it, and share with me your results. 

Lastly, this post was geared toward adults, but I truly believe that we adults have a responsibility to teach this skill to our children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, students, etc. All healthy lifestyle habits are easiest to embrace for a lifetime when we learn them young. Healthy eating, active lifestyle, meditation, playing outside, socializing, and more. So if you have kids in your life, please consider sharing this knowledge with them. You can do this subtly, so they don't even realize what they are learning. The best teacher is leading by example and experience, so take them with you on a walk in the woods. Pause and watch nature. Truth may be that the kids will teach you how to slow down, point out bugs you never would have noticed, or ask you about sounds they hear. Believe me, you will all feel refreshed after the experience together. And who knows, maybe you will run into a lifelong memorable moment and bonding like we did out at Iron Lake this past Father's Day weekend. 

So now I ask you, do you meditate? Why or why not? If not, will you try one of the experiments or examples shared today?

And because it was Father's Day this past weekend, and this blog started with a story about Daddy and daughter, I have to ask. Do you have a lifetime nature memory that you shared with your Dad as a child? Happy Father's Day to all Dad's out there! 

And for those business owners/leaders. Do you have an organization that would be interested in learning how to bring nature and meditation into your work place?

If you have stumbled upon this blog, and would like to be added to our list, simply email info@e3twinports.com, with "Blog Sign-up" in the subject line. I'll happily add you to to our growing list of people. 

E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Energy and Empowerment through Exercise (education and meditation outdoors)
Owner, Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, MS, CSCS, WFR, Yoga Instructor

Jodi L. Tervo Roberts, Owner
E3 Twin Ports, LLC
Helping people to lead healthy, happy, & meaningful lives, while promoting healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation, fitness, yoga, individual wellness coaching, and interactive educational presentations.

Website: e3twinports.com
YouTube: Channel


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