At Christmas time, with the night’s drawing in, we can find ourself cooped up in the house. This can feel quite claustrophobic, especially if we are guests or if we have guests staying over the Christmas period. Also, with all the over-eating, alcohol and Christmas telly a good walk in the fresh air can blow a few cobwebs away and build an appetite for the next buffet or dinner.
An understanding of human pre-history is a wonderful guide about the causes and conditions that enable humans to flourish. Like the dancing in last week’s blog, we are evolved to walk in nature. As hunter gatherers this is most of what we did, so no wonder it feels so grounding and restful, enabling me to relax and open my senses to the environment. Evidence suggests that opening our senses out to our wider environment also helps us to feel safe.
I am fortunate in that I am close to a beach with vast skies- similar to those out of a Turner painting that go on forever. I take the dogs there often and they each chase and bring back a ball. Running and jumping joyfully across the wide expanse of sand. We have evolved with dogs too!
So, take time to schedule some outdoor time over the Christmas period with family and friends. Chatting can be more relaxed as we walk side by side in the open space.
Many of my friends and fellow students of mindfulness report how joyful walking in nature can be.
Don’t be daunted by obstacles. Choose somewhere with a nice cafe or pub with a view for those who are less mobile. Dress warmly, add some thermal leggings, a warm fleece, good warm socks to your Christmas list, if there is any room left on it. Or a head torch, if you struggle to find time to get out and about in the daylight, enjoy the night sky and wonder at the stars as our ancestors did.
If a real outdoor space is a challenge, have a go at the ‘Safe place’ practice on our free Compassion Based Living app available on the Google Play or Apple app stores. You might use this to imagine a most nurturing outdoor space, designed by you just for you. Sea, mountain, river, whatever safe space you wish can welcome and support you in this practice. You can also choose an indoor space!
Practices like safe place, compassionate colour or compassionate image can help to build our resources of compassion and inner safeness, especially at times when we feel unsure or under pressure. All these practices are available on our free Compassion Based Living app, there for you to support a practice of Compassion at Christmas and all year long!
Need some support for a Compassionate Christmas? Our online practice days are the perfect remedy for a busy or challenging festive period. Come practice with us!