Find Your “Sit Spot”

Woman Nature Journaling
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How many of you, growing up, sat under a tree? Hid under a bush? When I was a young girl, with three, count them three younger sisters who annoyed me constantly, I would escape into the woods surrounding my home. Once there I would lean back against my favorite tree and simply sit and watch. Well at first, I might have grumbled about whatever sister most recently annoyed me but inevitably I would end up just sitting and watching. Little did I know then that what I was doing was visiting my “sit spot”. Author and naturalist, Devin Franklin uses this term to describe a place where one goes to just “sit still and observe”.

In previous articles, I have written about writing and sketching things in your nature journal while you are out in nature but this month I would like you to see what happens when you find your “sit spot” and just sit quietly for a time. If you are like most people, this may prove to be more difficult than it first sounds. We are a society that prizes “busy-ness” and sitting still goes against years of training.

Your sit spot is a place all your own. It can be under a tree, alongside a creek, in a park or your own front stoop. When choosing your sit spot consider selecting a place that is easy to visit, has a view of something wild, is an appealing place to sit and where you will enjoy spending time.

Steps for finding and using your sit spot:

  1. Explore your yard or nearby nature area. Take a leisurely walk around. Enjoy your surroundings and notice if a particular area might feel good as your spot.
  2. Choose one place to be your sit spot.
  3. Observe quietly from your spot for at least ten minutes, more if you can. What do you notice? Hear? Smell? Don’t forget to use all of your senses. Immerse yourself in the moment.

Then when you go back indoors, get out your nature journal and write down any observations you remember, what you saw, heard, smelled or felt while you were enjoying your sit spot. If you want to sketch what you saw do this as well. Remember your sketches don’t have to be perfect. They are just a reminder of the moment.

The benefits of this exercise are twofold. One, you get a much deserved break from the busy, crazy thing we call life. This break is good for your mental health and even your productivity. According to MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer and author, Bob Pozen, taking regular timeouts can help you refresh your focus and get more done. And two, the longer you sit still the more you will see of the more than human world. Animals, birds and insects will perceive you as less of a threat when you are quiet and still. So find your “sit spot” and see what you uncover about the world around you and yourself.