So, you want to spend more time in nature, and you like the idea of a Sit Spot where you can simply be still and open your senses. But where? How do you find the perfect place to be?
The perfect Sit Spot has five qualities.
Number 1: it is close
When you are just starting with the Sit Spot, it often feels like a chore rather than something that pulls you, a place where you yearn to be. So find a spot that is close to you: not more than two minutes from your door. The idea is that it needs to be easy and quick to get to, so your to-do list doesn’t have time to distract you. Later, you will find that you are willing to go farther, maybe to your alternate Sit Spot, where the surroundings are different and you can experience the natural world differently.
Number 2: it has nature
There has to be some nature there, but not necessarily a lot. You can do a Sit Spot from a 22nd floor apartment, or in the deep wilderness. One of my best moments of nature awareness was at a bus stop in a downtown city, where I watched two juvenile sparrows with a parent. One of the young ones was looking independently for food, the other was stealing everything its parent picked up. They fluttered a few feet when people walked by, oblivious to them, then returned to foraging. It was a great opportunity to watch nature doing its thing in the middle of pavement.
Your Sit Spot is a place where you can observe nature in some form, whether it is rushing water, big four-leggeds, birds, plants, trees, or just sun, wind, and clouds.
Number 3: it is solitary
You’ve heard the expression “alone in a crowd” – that can be your Sit Spot. You may be surrounded by people, but you’re not interacting with them. My experience with the sparrows was like that.
At your Sit Spot, it’s important to be able to expand your senses and let go of thinking. This means that you aren’t conversing with someone, and you’re not anticipating or bracing for someone to address you. Of course, this is easier when you’re away from people. On the other hand, if there are people around and you can observe how animals and birds respond to them, you can learn more about those interactions.
Number 4: it is safe
You need to be able to relax at your Sit Spot. When you don’t feel safe, your awareness contracts and becomes focused rather than open. This is the opposite of the confident expansion of awareness that makes the Sit Spot beneficial in so many ways. It also makes having a nap easy!
You may choose to have a Sit Spot in an edgy place, and that has benefits in terms of adventures or experiences that might not occur in more structured surroundings. But I would suggest gaining experience in a safe place first, until you can comfortably use your awareness to be informed of what’s around you and what is happening, even as you approach your Sit Spot before settling in.
Essential Number 5: your attitude
Don’t be concerned that you don’t have the perfect Sit Spot. They’re all perfect, and none of them are perfect. Get to know one place really well, until you recognize the changes in animals and trees from one season and one year to the next, and you feel a deep appreciation for what you find there. Go to your Sit Spot at every time of day and in every season, and go no matter what the weather (well, almost).
If you’re thinking about your Sit Spot, go – and think afterward.
Go for as long as you can, or for a short time if that’s all you can. This is where having it close by helps a lot.
Have fun with it. I’m going out to my Sit Spot soon.