Outside the Window- A Short Mindfulness Exercise
Do you know what’s outside your window?
Sit and look— really look— at the view. My window faces northwest: I can see storm clouds growing and the sunset. Can you see the clouds from your window? Rain clouds are always the most intriguing. Cold fronts look like a fold in the sky, a wrinkle in the heaven’s sheets. Thunderstorms look like anvils.
If I lean forward, I can see the belltower of one of my city’s oldest hotels. I can see a library too but the lights of the fifth floor are always off.
I can also see some of the other windows from my building. Each one with their own life inside, flickering with different colors and all the antics that arise when we’re alone. Some always have their shades down, and some always leave them up. If I sit at just the right angle on my bed, leaning against the wall, I can watch someone else’s television.
During the day, I can see a few patches of the lake through the treetops. Sometimes the fish jump. Every once in a while, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to see an osprey swoop down and snatch up its dinner. They like to sit at the very top of the nearest building where they can keep an eye on the world as they feast.
What’s outside your window? Is it going to storm? Do you have trees? Sometimes I can see the local parakeets perching among the branches. They’re noisy, but they live here just like we do. What birds can you see? Do they sing often?
Taking a moment to appreciate the small wonders of our world can help ground you and refresh your mind. By doing so, you can feel more focused on the task at hand.
No window, no worries!
This mindfulness exercise can still be done by sitting quietly with your eyes closed. Imagine your favorite place outdoors. Since we’re working with only our minds, be sure to engage all of your senses. If your favorite place is a beach, can you smell the salt air? How about the sun-warmed sand under your feet?
If your favorite place is in the woods, can you hear the creatures stirring gently all around you? Perhaps there’s an owl in the tree, or a deer stepping lightly through the underbrush.
Can you hear waves crashing, or trees rustling? Or are you somewhere else entirely?
Meditation can be hard, but starting out with just one minute at a time of this simple exercise can help improve your overall mood. Sometimes, all we need is to take a step back from our daily grind. So go on, readers, give it a try! Set your timer for one minute, relax, and think of your favorite spot outdoors.