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  • Kim Harrrison

Sitspots, wellbeing and lockdown

I am amazed at how fast things have changed both in the outside world - where lockdown seems to be being rapidly and chaotically dismantled - and in myself where my wellbeing has deteriorated rapidly. Last week I was feeling super chilled and connected to nature. After a couple of months of daily immersion I was feeling very rooted in nature and held by it. I have been outside all the time, even camping for a few nights in the garden, walking barefoot, making friends with the bats who visit every night. I was literally in my element, in fact I was living in attunement with all the elements. I was in flow, present.


Then suddenly the weather changed and this coincided with anxious waiting regarding hospital tests, everything turned on it's head. I was spending lots of time inside because of the weather and my body. I love the rain and usually I would be out regardless, it was only because I was exhausted and in pain that I chose to stay indoors, which significantly diminished my sense of connectedness. As soon as I could I grabbed an outdoor day, lying in the garden instead of in bed, the earth beneath me, the sky above me, watching the tree branches sway and the birds flit across the sky above. I reached for nature and the peace I always find in it.

"I am lying in my sitspot, with the view of a lovely birch tree. It is glimmering both silver and gold in the morning sun and the birds are bursting with song, I think they are welcoming the sun as much as I am. I feel grateful to be alive, to be here lying on the hard earth with the breeze and the sun dancing across my skin, a soft floral smell which might be the tail end the jasmine which is dying back a bit but it's heavy notes still permeating the air. The earthy smell of the soil and grass near to my nose as I lie and turn my head to the side, a snails eye view of the lawn. As I walked on it the grass felt cool and sticky under my feet. Not slimy sticky, but like it has barbs that are adhesive like tiny velcro strips. I feel like it's earthing me, grounding me, and holding me. Meeting me at my feet and not wanting to part, inviting me to remain in connection with it. I feel content, my whole body is warm, I can feel everything inside me collectively sighing and sinking down, the earth supporting welcoming my whole being. I felt lost last week, a coalition of circumstances that led to a severing from nature when I needed it most, and I found that this depleted me more. I still feel exhausted, I still feel pain, but my capacity to bear this has been raised somehow, simply by sitting here staring at the birch branches wafting and glinting in the rising Sun, listening to the rustle and roar of leaves as the breeze gusts and changes tempo, blowing my hair around my face and blowing through all the cells of my body, breathing life and light into me after many days in the dark alone. I feel held within something much bigger than myself."

I have felt this profoundly at times before when I had intense immersive nature experiences in dramatic exotic landscapes. Yet now it simply here and it doesn't even feel that profound or earth shattering. It simply IS and it is like I am finally seeing and feeling it and tuning into it on an everyday level rather than being cut off from it by my monkey mind racing forwards into the future. It has always been here and always will be. All encompassing nature simly IS and we are part of it alongside everything else. I find this relieving, releasing the pressure of our human sense of importance, wrapped up in our human-centred realities when really we are THIS, all of the time. I AM that glittering tree, the blackbird pip pipping it's alarm call on the branch, the lush green sticky cool grass, the rain filled earth underneath us all, its parched body quenched for now. We are all one, there is no separation, only superficial, irrelevant. Yes I have an outwardly human form with edges that meet other forms like when my feet meet the grass, but who is this 'me' and who is the grass? We are all water, air, fire and earth. We are all embodiments of the same basic elements. We come from and are sustained by the same source.

Last week I felt like a huge part of me was missing, and it was, it was out here, outside the walls. I thought I was fairly nature connected already, pre-lockdown. I work outside, I go for walks, I value nature hugely and am happiest when outdoors. However, something significant shifted during lockdown. This was amplified somehow. I spent these 3 months gradually, daily becoming increasingly embedded. Being inside briefly when I grabbed food etc felt stifling, like someone putting a hand over my mouth except that I felt this in my heart not my respiratory system, a stifling feeling. My teacher Jon Young says that the bushmen in Africa never go into buildings, they are deeply suspicious of them because they see that people who spend a lot of time in buildings become incredibly disconnected from everything that they, the bushmen see as vital. It's not just the buildings of course that shape us, it is our way of life, our upbringing and where we place our values. They are brought up intimately related to the landscape around them. Until this time I never truly appreciated how different this perspective is and how it shapes you, I knew of it intellectually but had not experienced it in a real felt, lived way.

I recognise the value of daily, even several times a day time in nature. I prioritise above all else my sitspot time. I am there in the morning to welcome the sun, I drift in and out at various points during the day, and am there most evenings to greet the bats as the light fades. Attuning to the rhythm of the daylight, and tuning into my own rhythms, feeling into my body, getting to know it and really inhabiting it and getting to know it intimately, rather than as we generally do existing in our minds and living in the future or the past.

In my sitspot I AM. I am here, I am president, I am IN my senses, and I feel everything via my heart and body. This can only be experienced. Reading this might give you a taste, it might inspire you, I hope it does, but it is only through lived experience and engaging with our whole selves that we can truly deeply feel a sense of interconnection. This cultivates deep compassion, which ultimately inspires action on behalf for life and future generations for a liveable planet.


In my sitspot I AM. I am here, I am president, I am IN my senses, and I feel everything via my heart and body. This can only be experienced. Reading this might give you a taste, it might inspire you, I hope it does, but it is only through lived experience and engaging with our whole selves that we can truly deeply feel a sense of interconnection. This cultivates deep compassion, which ultimately inspires action on behalf for life and future generations for a liveable planet.

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