Have you ever stood on the edge of an incoming tide and watched what’s happening on the beach? Nature has wonderfully quiet ways of helping us learn how to be mindful.

I just had a beautiful experience, doing just that. I felt like a little kid again! It happened by accident, but it’s something I’ll be doing again – in this, or another form.

Here’s what happened. I hope it might inspire a similar experience for you.

I told my husband I was going to the beach for a break from my desk (we work from home and are incredibly fortunate to rent a house opposite the beach). I had no expectation other than to take a walk, and potentially a quick swim.

Walking over the rise, I pulled my towel around my shoulders – it’s very breezy over there today. I soon noticed there were a few seagulls pottering around the shoreline. I headed for the water’s edge, to test the temperature.

After standing ankle-deep in the small waves for a minute (and deciding I wasn’t swimming today) I noticed some bubbles coming up from the sand under an outgoing wave. It was a pippi, burrowing into the sand! Excitement bubbled up inside me as I ran over to watch it burrow down. I was grinning. It brought back childhood memories of chasing pippies.

I looked around and realised there was quite a lot going on. These waves, while shallow, were bringing some other things onto the beach.

I looked down and picked up something I haven’t seen before and don’t know how to explain. It was like a little anemone with the colours of an archer’s target.

I saw the head of some kind of little fish sitting on a tiny sand mound.

I watched some kind of mollusc (?) in a beautiful swirly shell try to burrow into the sand, only to be washed around by persistent waves.

I saw a bunch of seaweed tossed around on the surface of the waves.

I walked along the rows of shells further up the beach which had been deposited by earlier tides, amazed by the variety of colours and shapes.

And on the way home I smiled into the salty air as the sunbeams passed through the overhead trees.

This was a lesson in how to be mindful in nature.

I – and you – can do this anywhere. It doesn’t even have to be somewhere as expansive or generous as a beach.

It could be your backyard. A neighbourhood park. A tree on the footpath/ sidewalk. Even a pot plant on your balcony.

Here’s what you do

Identify your place. Ideally it is something/ somewhere natural.

Take a moment to breathe, and be aware of your surroundings. Notice the sounds. The sensations. The colours you see.

Then look closer at something. A leaf, a wave, an animal you can see. What is it doing? How is it responding to its environment? Why is it doing that?

It’s likely this will lead to more questions in your own mind, depending on what you’re doing and seeing. Follow the questions. Think about what you’re seeing. Let your curious mind play for a while, and notice the details. Get lost in wonder.

There is joy in seeing what’s happening in nature. And there is so much to see! Mother Nature has endless treasures for us to explore – and more ways than we can count, in how to be mindful.

We can do this anywhere, with just 5 minutes, if we take the time. And it’s so worth the time. It’s like a little reboot for the soul.

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