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Sit Spot Practice Changed My Life




In 2018, my introduction to the sit spot practice, guided by both my teachers and the enlightening pages of "What the Robin Knows" by Jon Young, marked a pivotal moment in my struggle with lifelong anxiety. Faced with the prospect of medication, I resolved to discover an internal solution. Initial attempts at mindfulness tools and formal meditation proved challenging – closing my eyes felt daunting amidst the weight of persistent thoughts, especially in a world constantly operating at 100mph.


"What the Robin Knows" unveiled the simplicity of the sit spot practice: merely sitting in nature and immersing oneself in the surroundings. This practice cultivated a profound connection with the natural world and, consequently, a deeper self-awareness. I decided to try it on by choosing a tree in my backyard as my sit spot, accompanied by a cup of coffee and a seat cushion. Gradually, subtle changes emerged – my coffee tasted richer, colors became more vibrant, my husband got cuter. Everything was the same but different. Better.


Since I live in a suburban environment, at first when I would sit down I would notice the activity of the human world. After a while, however, I began to develop a deeper noticing of the more-than-human world. Regular sessions unveiled the unique personalities of birds, chipmunks, and squirrels inhabiting my space. The curious cardinal couple, the agitated squirrel – each interaction fostered a deeper bond. Jon Young's insight on relationship-building echoed in my experiences, where threads of connection evolved into cords and ropes, woven with a love that extended to all things.


Over six years of sharing mindful outdoor programs, I observed a unanimous impact on the nervous system among those introduced to this practice. Nature's non-judgmental presence provides unwavering support, allowing our nervous systems to rest and relax effortlessly. The trees, in their unconditional support, create a space for our minds and bodies to unwind. This practice, a gateway to more formal meditation, has enabled me to effortlessly close my eyes in a quiet room, embracing extended periods of stillness as my mind and body seamlessly navigate the journey of unwinding.

 

Would you like to try this practice? Here are some popular questions I get around my routine:

 

How long do you sit? I recommend sitting at least 25 minutes. There is a sort of magic that happens at around 20 minutes. We know that for humans when our adrenal system is triggered, like having a near accident, it takes about 20 minutes for our nervous system to return to baseline. When we enter nature, we send the natural world into a state of alarm because we are apex predators. However, if we sit still for about 20 minutes, the natural world also returns to baseline. The animals come out of hiding and become comfortable with you being there.

 

What do you do in foul weather?

I especially think it’s important to sit when the weather isn’t ideal. Put on your rain coat, bring a blanket and step outside. Notice nature in all its conditions. Notice how it feels to sit in the rain. I promise you are waterproof! After all, if you can’t handle foul weather, how are you going to handle all the hard situations that come our way in life?


Join me on an upcoming outdoor event to witness this practice first-hand. Any other questions? Email me at cindybynature@gmail.com.

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