When was the last time you sat down to do absolutely nothing? Not checking your email, or swiping through Instagram and Facebook, not even catching up on the papers or getting through another chapter of your book? No, actually doing really very not much at all...
We like to think that a glamping break at The Forge is the perfect opportunity to perfect the art of doing nothing, as Saffy once said to Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous (my guilty pleasure way back in the 90s!), “who else can turn doing nothing into an art form?” So, here are our top tips on how to slow right down into doing, well, almost nothing…
- Take off your shoes and socks and walk in the grass barefoot. Wander round our paths among the wildflowers and grasses and appreciate how it feels. First thing in the morning and last thing at night the dew is mightily refreshing, and you simply can’t march about quickly whilst focusing on how liberating it feels!
- Once you are comfortable with the whole bare feet thing, take off a layer or two (as much as modesty will allow!) and lie down in the grass experiencing how the earth feels at all the points where it comes into contact with your body. Where are the high and low points? Can you feel a deeper connection?
- Lying in the grass, open your eyes and gaze up at the clouds. Just allow yourself to watch them drifting and forming different shapes and formations. Let your mind and your imagination just go with it and see where it takes you.
- Now close your eyes and tune your ears in to the different bird song you can hear. Focus on tuning in certain tweets (in the true original sense of the word!) and ignoring others, then bring them all back into your hearing awareness. You will be amazed at the avian orchestra going on all around you, that you were previously unaware of!
- Take yourself off on a grasshopper hunt. Sounds a bit random but it can be completely absorbing. Listen for them rubbing their legs together then prowl stealth-like through the grass ready to gently catch them in your hands. Enjoy the tickle and saying hello before releasing back into the long grass and marvelling at just how far they can jump in one leap!
- In hunting for grasshoppers, you might be lucky enough to happen upon a frog. Yet another species with an astonishing body-to-jumping-range ratio. If you can manage to gently pick one up, take a moment to savour how cool they feel against your warm hands, before wishing them well and sending them on their way.
- Now lie face down in the grass and focus in on the area directly in front of your face, say within a 20cm square area. You’ll find that there is not just grass. There will be lots of different species of fauna and a ton of insects crawling about. Doesn’t matter one iota that you don’t know what they are. Just let your mind be mildly blown at just how much life is everywhere under your feet that you are normally completely oblivious to!
- Sit up and spend a few minutes, or an hour, (or maybe even a whole day!) counting how many butterflies you can see from where you are sitting. Notice what colours they are, their different flight patterns and whether they favour some flowers over others. Where do they all go?!
- At dusk, settle yourself comfortably somewhere and gaze up at the sky to the east. Tune your eyes into the fading light and watch out for the first stars to prick the sky. Once you’ve seen one more will follow until you will start to see whole constellations. Resist the urge to pick up a star app on your Smartphone to find out what they all are and just take a moment to feel your place in the universe and how in that moment nothing else really matters.
- And finally, there is no better place to be doing nothing than around a campfire. No matter how many fires I light and sit next to I never fail to be mesmerised by the flickering flames and the way a fire ‘lives’ – from building the first embers to the way it crashes and tumbles into ash. Trying to place the logs in just the right place for optimum flameage and heat is addictive, and if you focus on the different colours and smoke patterns you may never be able to look away!
Does all this sound a wee bit hippy and ‘mindful’. Well maybe yes. But this is what I used to do as a kid and what I now do for days on end with my kids. It costs nothing, feels great and whiles away whole afternoons, and the end of which you feel totally relaxed and connected, both with each other and with the nature all around you. And the beauty is you can do this pretty much anywhere where you can be outside. So, go on, grab yourself a little piece of the great outdoors and give it a try.