In this ever changing journey with brain injury I have read many books, blogs and websites, I have attended lots of appointments and given myself lots of ‘good talkings to’. Some things have worked, some haven’t, the ones that have been useful can be found in the links section but today I want to write about something I have started doing that resonates with me completely in the hope that it will inspire you in some way to give something a go.
As part of my reintegration into the big wide world and exercise and other people I had been searching for groups to join, ones that would be small and stress free but that would enable me to start burrowing out of my cocoon. Using my friend Dr Google I searched my local area and found some groups that would meet some of my needs but were either too late at night, too challenging physically or just too scary looking!
Then like the brain injury recovery fairies were listening to me, I stumbled by chance upon a twitter account (@Belfastwalks) who seemed to offer exactly what I needed. It’s an initiative by Belfast Council and Groundworks NI to get people out and moving but the added bonus is that it is incorporating Mindfulness into the walks. It’s going to be a year long programme and so far the walks have been at a good time of day for me.
It’s strange at first because you turn up and there’s lots of lovely new exciting people to meet but the walks are conducted in silence (there’s an opportunity before and after to chat). The point of Mindfulness is to be in the moment, to caress the earth with your feet and to try to let go of all that nonsense that clutters up your head normally.
We must look weird to others who spot us walking in a raggle taggle group, in silence and wandering off into the grass and flowers but believe me it is the most refreshing and beautiful part of my week.
I notice how fast my mind races with rubbish, how things that pop in there don’t actually matter that much, but more importantly I don’t just dash through nature without seeing the different shades of green, the sound of the river babbling by, the dogs running joyfully through meadows and I get to watch a bee jump from flower to flower. There is no pressure to move on, to get things done and it’s wonderful.
Ive done a couple of these walks so far and the people are lovely, the nature is amazing and I confess I have shed tears on both of them (thank goodness for sunglasses!). Not because I’m sad but because there’s a real sense of coming back to yourself and because you see that the world around you is actually rather bloomin’ gorgeous.
I like to sometimes mention these things that help me reorientate because they are so valuable to my peace of mind. So if you’re Belfast based please consider trying this out and if you aren’t lucky enough to have a Mindfulness walking group near you, start one! Or just get your shoes on and wander around yourself, in silence, embracing the earth and letting your thoughts just pass on through.
You can find more info here