Fantastic Finds from My Corner

by Elizabeth Pass, Cohort VI
for the November 2022 issue of Headwaters Highlights

November is a time for thanks. As the weather gets colder, animals hibernate, and trees drop their leaves, we too begin to turn inward. We turn to home for physical warmth, to loved ones to give gratitude, and in the evenings now darkening earlier, to indoor activities. 

Now is a good time to reflect as we are entering this month of thanks, turning inward, getting settled, and waiting for the coming season.

Reflecting in Silence

Without silence, there can be no reflection. This Fantastic Find is not one I found, but one I discovered recently while going through a difficult process. My advice for this activity is not to use it when needed, as a crises management salve, but often, as a risk management practice.

I prefer to do this activity with my eyes closed (if sitting) or purposefully not noticing anything visual. I spend too much of my day on my visual sense, and this activity gets my other senses connected to nature and silence.

  1. Choose a time of day that you can do the activity and be reasonably comfortable regardless of the weather. If you will need to be seated then be sure to bring a chair to be comfortable.
  2. Before beginning this activity, take yourself off the grid—no phone, watch, headphones, wifi—just your body and clothes.
  3. If possible, stand outside someplace quiet; your backyard is fine. If you want to choose a time that is quieter than other times, that is even better.
  4. Step out to your chosen place. Your goal is to reflect in and on the silence. You are not meditating, Forest Bathing, or planning your to-do list for the next day.
  5. Stay still.
  6. Listen to the animals and sounds of nature around you. You may hear human-made sounds and that is ok. Just let those fall away and tune back into the sounds of nature.
  7. Not as a goal, but as an aide in reflecting, notice the different sounds of nature you hear: the different bird calls, the sound of a squirrel, the rustling of leaves, the bark of a dog.
  8. Notice your breathing as you notice the sounds of nature around you. Try to keep your breathing steady and slow.

(If you are not doing #5, here’s your reminder!)

  • Notice what you physically feel: do you feel a slight wind on your skin? Is it cold? Do you feel the warmth of your coat?
  • Notice what you smell: do you smell the leaves that have fallen? Do you smell the fire from a neighbor’s fireplace?

This activity doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Five to ten minutes is fine. However, you may find like I did that once you do this activity a few times, you will enjoy longer time spent reflecting in silence.