I'm starting to see pumpkins and Fall decor in the stores, as well as pumpkin spiced foods, but it's just too damn hot still to enjoy these...yet. It's this weird in-between time that's made even harder by the fact that I work in an elementary school, so the last six weeks of summer were way too busy to try and enjoy or squeeze any last summer joys out of. I just want to get this damn hot season over and move on to the good stuff.
Imagine that you decide to sit with your coffee and just let your mind wander for a few minutes. Maybe your thoughts start spinning, or distractions try and draw you away from your peaceful moment. But let’s say you just stick with it for a little longer...
As I’ve settled into more Niksen time, and have learned to move through my depression, my life has slowed down tremendously. So when I watched the film Christopher Robin with my son recently, I was reconnected with the wonderful world of Winnie the Pooh. I grew up reading his books and watching his shows, and I remember in college reading the book “The Tao of Pooh,” and so I also associate his character with a Zen way of life. I’ve never adopted a fictional character as a Spirit Animal before, but after all, he is a bear!
As someone who has suffered from depression for over a decade, I have read SO many self-help books, and followed the wellness trends from many holistic sources. They all have one thing in common: they require me to DO something about my life. They tell me how I can improve my life in a myriad of ways. Some of them have been helpful, don't get me wrong, but if you're familiar with depression, not wanting to DO anything is quite common.
Niksen, or the Dutch art of doing nothing, offers an alternative: doing nothing. I'm a pro at doing nothing! In fact, it's in my nature. Believe it or not, it's in our human nature as a species as well. Even in our hunter and gatherer days as a species, we found time to rest and do nothing. And we did it outside in nature, which offers us so many insights and connections. Nowadays, we turn to screens to relax more often, instead of tapping into more natural rhythms that can truly sustain us.
Mother Nature has always been an expert at going slow, evolving over Millenia. We can get grounded and tap into this slower pace of life by being outside as well. Nature gives us a greater perspective of the arc of life on this planet, which helps us see the challenges of our lives more clearly in the grand scheme of things. If this practice of niksen in nature sounds appealing, and you're eager to slow down and connect with what's important for you, read on my friends.
Halfway through summer, I was already starting to stress about going back to school. I'm a K-5 P.E. teacher (which I actually call Health & Fitness), and was looking at two weeks of summer camp, then two weeks of teacher prep. So basically, I felt like my summer was already over, and it was only July. As a proactive measure, and to keep myself accountable to it, I started a 28 day challenge of sorts to get myself out in nature for some niksen time, and posted my progress to Instagram & Facebook.
Do you ever feel exhausted for no obvious reason? You're not sick, over-stressed or menstruating, but yet you feel exhausted? That happened to me again this week, and the first thing I looked at is the lunar cycle. Sure enough, there's a new moon this week.
A polar vortex hit Austin hard this winter, and I was holed up in my house, and in my mind, like a squirrel safe in its tree. My mind frittered away, furiously trying to determine what I needed to survive. No matter what life throws at me though, I look to nature for solace. Every. Single. Time. I force myself to go out and just observe and feel, and support always comes, even if I don’t get any answers. So this is what I did, in short, freezing bursts.
Teacher, mother, lover of lounging in nature. This blog documents my experience with Niksening in nature and applying this type of minimalism to all aspects of my life, in order to simplify and amplify the best parts of life.
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