Over the last two years of my journey to self -acceptance I have improved dramatically in noticing my own thoughts, interpreting the words and actions of those around me and recognising the space in which all of us exist.

This post is concerned with the improvements I have made in recognising the external environment and making my own connection with the world through observing my interaction with the environment through my senses.

One of the first exercises which my coach asked me to practice was in observing the world around me through all of my senses.

I tended to come at the world from a perspective of being at it’s centre and perhaps you are the same – you will have heard that expression, “He thinks the world revolves around him”

If you, like me are overwhelmed with anxieties about yourself, perhaps as result of illness or relationship breakdown or concern for close family and friends, it is useful to gain a perspective on this by expanding the reality in which we all exist in this world.

I started to do this, whilst driving the forty minute drive to work each day.  I would scan the sky and horizon to see what I noticed in the space immediately around me and into the distance as far as I could see. A routine journey, previously spent thinking about “my own stuff” became a journey of wider interest as I observed other cars who’s occupants were travelling in both directions – all of them have their own stories, worries and concerns no doubt.

The presence in the sky of clouds or cloud formations, beautiful and dramatic, or a glimpse of the sun through the trees on the horizon, the flock of swifts darting through the sky provided me with a sense of something bigger – perhaps spiritually at times, but also physically – in this larger environmental scale my own problems seemed to diminish over time.

I would wind down the window to hear the hum and buzz of the traffic, of horns of irate drivers, of the rustling trees. I would smell the fumes discharged by cars mingling with more palatable smells of the bakery and the hedges.

On parking the car, I felt the wooden fence, I felt the leaves on the trees and smelled a flower (after making sure I was not observed of course!). The connection with nature and all it’s beauty helped me to expand the capacity I had to allow conflicting issues in my own life to reside side by side in my consciousness but not exclusively, I had created a perspective around my problems so that I was not as overwhelmed by them.

These exercises are a constant companion to me especially when I feel hemmed in by anxiety about work issues or relationship issues.

There was a time, and occasionally there are still times when a dominant fear demands to have all the “mind-space” that I have. At these times, I look up to the sky or out onto the horizon and do everything I can to gain an external perspective by trying to see what is the furthest tree I can see, or the loudest noise I can hear or what is there around me to smell or touch.

A row with a loved one or fear about a deadline which bring on physical symptoms that we commonly call stress are given space to feel smaller within the expanded reality of the environment.

Try it …. often!

My next blog will be – See Paris First

William Defoe

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