(1.5 minute read.)
Last week I facilitated a “Positive Leadership” retreat for a high-performing Leadership Team within the non-profit sector. As we know, wellbeing is a critical factor in being our best and in being the most effective leader we can be. So, amongst other wellbeing practices, we started with a mindful walk at the beginning of day 2.
Before we set out, I invited participants to engage all of their senses as they walked and to notice:
- The movement of their body
- How they swung their arms
- The feel of their feet in their shoes
- The feel of the bitumen under their shoes, the feel of grass under their shoes, the dirt track
I encouraged participants to be curious and:
- Look up, look down, look around, look forward and back
- Notice when the sounds changed – when did the sound of traffic stop?; could they decipher the calls of different birds?
- Breathe deeply and notice the scents in and on the air
- Touch different surfaces
- And, as we were in Hepburn Springs, perhaps they would like to taste the mineral springs
I headed out too … and noticed. I noticed the muscles in my legs contracting and relaxing as I walked downhill. I felt the stillness and movement of nature around me. I breathed deeply and tasted freshness on my tongue. I listened to the quiet. I also heard “bubbling” and went to investigate the cause of this sound; with this sound I saw the beautiful colour caused by the mineral springs on the rocks over time. I wondered with awe at the water bubbling up and at the brilliance of our planet. Apart from passing a man with his dog and seeing one of the participants in the distance, I noticed that for 95% of my walking time, I was alone in beautiful nature.
I headed out too … and noticed.
And this led to a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunity to mindfully engage my senses and the calm it brought me. Gratitude for being able-bodied. Gratitude for living in a country where I feel safe to walk alone. Gratitude for the memories of annual family picnics at Hepburn Springs on hot summer days that this mindful walk evoked, and the unexpected opportunity to reminisce. Gratitude for the gift that is our planet. Gratitude for the opportunity to do this work with others, and to learn and grow with them.