How to do a sit spot
The natural world, be it amidst thousands of acres of rugged wilderness in Utah, or that patch of daffodils in your backyard, is nothing short of magical. And, taking the time to sit regularly with that magic is purely transformative. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the way that having a sit spot, which is intentional time sitting in nature, has changed me. Here is how you can adopt the practice too.
Step 1: Find a good spot. The best sit spot, as a friend said once, is one that is close to your home. Keep it local: A patio or your front stoop is ideal, or something no more than a few minutes walk away.
I know: It’s tempting to make your spot be that amazing tree in the park across town, the one whose branches spread out and down and make a room to cocoon you in. Or the hill above the city where, at night, the glittering lights surround you above and below. But a closer spot has it’s advantages. How many times have you tried to adopt a daily 10 minute meditation or stretching routine, only to find that that carving out even 10 minutes can be challenging. If your spot is 5 minutes away, you have just disposed of those hard-to-find 10 minutes.
And of course, you can go to those other places too. But have at least one local spot.
Step 2: Go there. Go there regularly. Go there every day. Go there at the same time. Go every morning, when dawn is gracing the world with her glow or at that magical twilight transition as light yields to an inky sky. Or go there at different times of the day and observe the changing moods of the day’s daily ark.
Go there for a certain amount of time. I always bring a timer with me, decide how long I can sit for, and then set my timer for that amount of time. Knowing that something else is keeping track of the time helps me sink in to that deeper, completely timeless way of being. 20 minutes is a great amount of time– that is how long it usually takes creatures to decide you are not a threat and resume their normal behavior. But, 5 minutes is good too. 7 minutes is good, 3 minutes is good, 10 minutes is good.
Go empty handed, mostly. You do not need your journal. You do not need your flower ID book or your kindle or your sketch pad and set of 32 perfectly sharpened colored pencils. If you bring your cell phone to time, put it in your jacket pocket and put it on do not disturb mode. Just bring the things you need to keep yourself comfortable: blankets, jackets, sun glasses, a cup of coffee. And most of all, bring your wide open heart, ready to sit and receive.
Step 3: Sit. Take a deep breath, and just sit. Sit with whatever is there for you– joy or sadness or frustration or elation. Bring it all with you and sit.
Get yourself comfortable. Settle your legs, your pelvis, your spine, your hands. Notice what is around you. Take a few more deep breaths, letting in the air, noticing if it is cold or warm or smelling of ocean or city or kissed by the trees. See what you can smell: the garbage, he freshly cut grass, ar exhaust. Anything is ok, just notice it.
Be quiet and listen. What do you hear? The calling of a seagull or the rushing of cars or the whirling of the wind rushing through the drying leaves of Autumn? What is the loudest sound you hear? The quietest? How long can you listen to it?
Feel. Feel everything you can. Feel the wind blowing through your hair or the sun warming your face or fresh dew seeping through your pants, chilling your core. Feel all of the things inside your heart and body, whatever they be.
Feel that deep and visceral connection you have to the Earth, that connection that, no matter where you are, whether it be on ancestral lands that have been tended by your generations before, or whether you are just passing through or whether it is the stoop of your Brooklyn apartment, you are a part of the Earth. Feel that connection that guarantees that, just like each blade of grass and shining star above, you are an integral part of our living, breathing Earth. Sit and feel that connection, sit and remember that you belong.
Then, when you are done, take that connection, take those feeling and carry them throughout your day. Walk in rememberance that you are a part of this Earth and are so deeply needed.