I stumbled upon mindfulness in a random way, I didn’t even realize it was mindfulness at the time. My partner, Kent and I were travelling around Central America.
We were in Belize at the time, in a village called Sarteneja. We were staying at the only accommodation in town; backpackers/organic farm. It was a wonderful place! It was wild, tropical jungle that was turned into an orchard with fruit trees and a couple of buildings.
There were couple of guests staying at the farm. One of the guests at the backpackers, was a woman named Robyn. She was a solo cyclist bike touring from the United States, through Central America. She was educated, interesting and full of opinions about the world. As a group, we had some great conversations and got to know each other well in a couple days. Every so often through an intense conversations about the world, she would say lets do some “deep listening”. The instructions were: try to hear all sounds around you, under the obvious sounds there are some underlying sounds. Then we would stop talking, and sit in silence trying to pick out all the different sounds coming from the jungle. This was cool. It was a great break to quiet down, just listen, ground in the present moment and connect with the space around us. There would be all the sounds of the birds and insects. But also there would the constant stream of itching from my skin with all my mosquito bites and the ongoing thoughts about the conversation that was just occurring.
I loved the concept of “deep listening”! I took it with me from Sarteneja, practiced it throughout our travels. Such a great way to take in what is happening around you. Eventually, I made it back to Vancouver and that’s when I started to discover Mindfulness. I had an “ahhhaa” moment, “deep listening” is way to be present in the space around you by using your hearing.
Now, I usually do deep listening as a form of relaxation and mindfulness depending on the situation. At the beach, really focusing on the sounds of the waves can be incredibly relaxing, that never ending rhythmic crashing of the waves. While during a stressful or worrying situation, I may become mindful of the sounds around me as a way to ground myself in the present moment and focus my mind from running away with anxious thoughts.