Image for the news item 'Mindfulness: Week 2 - Radio nature' on 7 Apr 2020
Claire creating her sound map by Byron's Pool outside Cambridge

In case you missed it last week, Emma member Claire Thompson (2005) is designing short mindfulness activities each week for us to share with the college community during this difficult time.  To see last week's exercise, click here or join in with the new activity below. 

Radio nature

Last week, we explored using our breath as an anchor to the present moment and to our innate belonging in nature. This week, I invite you to explore your experience of sounds by 'tuning into radio nature... and drawing a sound map!

Find a quiet spot outdoors, by a window or in the paddock if you're in college - and take an A4 sheet of paper and pen with you. Begin by settling down into your surroundings, noticing the physical sensations of your breath in your body. Notice what's going on in your mind and whatever that is, remind yourself that it's okay. Let it be and fade your attention back into your breathing. Allow yourself time to settle, there's no rush. When you're ready, start to tune into all the different sounds you can hear around you. 

What sounds can you hear nearby? Further away? From ahead? From behind? From above? Tune into the quality of the sounds. Are they soft? Harsh? Loud? Quiet? Tuneful? Are they pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral? Imagine that you are immersing yourself in the soundscape, like a soft satellite dish on the earth - just receiving all the sounds. Let go of any effort to label, identify or explain. If you notice your mind labelling, just notice that it's happened and if possible, come back into your direct experience of the sounds.

Next, take your A4 piece of paper and draw a cross in the middle. The cross represents you spatially. Next, with your eyes open or closed, begin drawing a visual representation of the sounds you can hear all around you, a sound map. You can draw lines and squiggles to represent the quality of the sounds - or you can use whatever visual representation works for you. See where your creativity takes you! How does turning sounds into a visual map change your experience of the sounds?

If you don't have a suitable outside place to do this exercise, you can use this video of the Emma duck pond instead!

If you'd like to find out more about Claire or expand your practice of mindfulness in nature, you can join the free "Sit Spot" initiative she has set up for people to connect with nature with others during this challenging time, by clicking here.

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