Do you enjoy living life in the slow lane?
I started to ponder this question during the week as I was out for my morning walk in the neighbourhood. I’d set out early as the upcoming day was tipped to be a very hot one. As I was strolling along and soaking up the warmth of the sun's rays I unexpectedly stumbled upon the most beautiful sight. Two little mallard ducks were ambling across the quiet residential street. What captivated my attention most was the slow pace at which they were moving. Not a care in the world they mindfully placed one little webbed foot in front of the other. Even with my footsteps approaching there was no inclination to speed up their pace. They were blissfully happy, unafraid and going about their day as they wished. They were enjoying life living in the slow lane. At that moment I couldn’t help wonder how nice it would be to live life as these little ducks did, carefree, happy, unhurried and surrounded by nature.
Sometimes my blog posts feel like I’m having a conversation with myself, such is the sadness of spending so much time alone.
The encounter with the ducks also started to get me thinking about another question? Does being outdoors in nature or exposed to green space make us happier? During the past year when many of us have been locked up indoors in isolation, we have rediscovered the power of nature to sooth our stresses and reconnect us with something greater than ourselves. This discovery could’ve been anything from taking a walk outside, planting a flower in the garden and watching it grow, or observing the behaviour of a bird or insect. Consuming these little moments of magic in nature can momentarily transport us away from the stresses of everyday life. Prince Charles, the son of the monarchy and future King of England, was one of the first to tell us of the positive impact plants can have on both our physical and mental well-being. Whilst he nurtured and talked to his plants to assist them to grow, the plants reciprocated by bringing him some joy and happiness. I can vouch for the fact that looking out into or being in my own garden has a positive and soothing effect on my own psychological and mental well being. To witness new growth, new life, watching a seedling grow into a plant, or to be captivated by a colourful flower in full bloom, or a tomato flourishing on a vine is a small pleasure I always enjoy and never take for granted. I am often deliberate in the colours I choose to plant in the garden. Crisp white flowers and fresh green leaves impart a sense of serenity and relaxation as do the soft hues of pink and mauve, as opposed to the bright reds and bold orange and yellows which often invoke a sense of anxiety. I also love breathing in the perfumes of flowers such as gardenia and freesias and the aroma of freshly cut grass. Which begs another question? When I am walking outdoors is it the aroma emitted by the plants and flowers that leads me to a more euphoric and relaxed state of being or the observation of the plants themselves? I’m thinking it might be a combination of both sensory experiences, however for now I’ll leave that question for you to ponder. I’m off to grab a refreshing drink and then head out to pot up some new purchases I’ve made for my terrace garden. I already know they will bring a smile to my face and observing them as they grow will make me happier.
The soothing colours of pinks, whites and mauve.
On such a hot Sydney weekend, today I’ve decided to stay indoors in the air conditioned comfort of Green Moustache, a greenhouse style rooftop restaurant filled with lush palms and ceiling plants (an indoor green space), whilst enjoying a plate of blue swimmer crab pasta with chilli and lemon. I can already feel my happiness barometer rising as I enjoy delicious food in this relaxed environment bathing in greenery. Sometimes you can even stay indoors, whilst still enjoying the soothing benefits of being outdoors.
I do hope you find a little time to enjoy life in the slow lane and experience the same comfort and happiness in your own green space as I do in mine.
It would be remiss of me to round out this week without mentioning the poise and confidence of the young poet laureate Amanda Gorman, reciting the words of The Hill We Climb at this week's inauguration of Joe Biden, the 46th president of the United States. When the words are spoken in a way that move in your soul, they take you to places you didn’t intend to go.
Thank you Amanda Gorman.
‘The new dawn blooms as we free it,
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we are brave enough to be it.’
‘Quiet isn’t always peace.’
The full transcript of The Hill We Climb can be found here.
Until next week may your days be both serendipitous and enjoyable.