There are few places that I find where I can fully relax in everyday life. Typical interruptions of background noise, cellphones, or traffic tend to keep my naturally A.D.D. mind from being able to rest and refocus, but here in the North there is a sanctuary everyone can find.
Despite the fact that there is nation wide coverage of various cellphone carriers, there are still large pockets in the north where your cellphone simply will not work. It's not a choice of turning it off, or muting it, the thing simply wont work. Even other modes of communication such as AM/FM radio becomes sparse and hard to find in many areas.
Here I can fully detach from my digital addictions and enter into my own 12 step program for recovery!
Step 1. Finding the area - Typically away from traffic, near a source of clean mountain water, some deadfall wood for burning, and line-of-sight for view and keeping an eye on the bears.
Step 2. Finding your POWER SPOT - Once in your area, stand still with your eyes closed and place both hands in front of you. Slowly rotate until you find yourself being 'pulled' in a direction. This is a form of body dowsing. When you find a place that you no longer feel the 'pull', you have found your optimum location for resting.
Step 3. Setting up camp - Get the tent out, clear a spot, collect some wood, fill some buckets full of water. Setup the tent and prep your sleeping area. Getting this done first allows for a relaxed transition later.
Step 4. Prepare the fire - This might sound easy if you were a boy scout or if you like playing with gasoline, but try doing it with natural elements. A little bit of dry Witches Beard or Birch Bark will serve well to get a flame going. Small twigs will help scale the flame. Add fallen pieces of bark or larger sticks as needed until larger wood can be organized in a 'cabin' pattern around the fire. Pile rocks around the windy side if there is a breeze. Never use shiny magazine paper or other glossy printed media as they are full of chemicals.
Step 5. Prepare any food - Some trust in hot dogs, I prefer to glamp a little bit with a small steak or boil some water and mix up the sauce in the pan to have a simple but delicious Fettuccine Alfredo. Get creative with what you can make with water and heat with only dry supplies!
Step 6. Clean up - Wash up the dishes and put away any food, scraps, or garbage. There are lots of little critters and big critters that might be drawn to your camp site if you don't keep it tidy...
Step 7. Prepare yourself - This might include some stretches, Yoga, or even going for a light walk around the area. Get some physical exercise as preparing the body will ready the mind for a relaxing experience.
Step 8. Timing the sunset - Keep an eye on that sun, she's sneaky and can often duck behind the mountains before you caught the most amazing skies. When you see it getting close to the Apex or eclipsing point of the mountain, work your way back to the camp site.
Step 9. Breath - Find a comfortable place to sit. That might be on a log or a mat or a seat cushion. Place your hands over your knees and straighten your back. Tip your chin slightly down but not so low that you'll miss the sights. Take a few breaths and try to feel your heart rate coming down.
Step 10. Awareness - Your mind will try to present all kinds of stimulating thoughts such as "What you need to do tomorrow" or "what you forgot to do before you left!". Don't try to fight these thoughts, but don't give attention to them either. Allow them to come up, then continue to focus on your breath. When your mind has quieted, focus on one sense at a time to take in the awareness of your surroundings. Start maybe with sounds (birds, water flowing, fire cracking), then move to smells (smoke, flowers, wood). What do you feel, connect with the ground, dirt, or surfaces around you (this is a form of grounding). Feel yourself as a part of the environment and not just a visitor. What temperature is the ground, how firm is it, maybe you feel yourself getting heavier or more rooted?
Step 11. Open your eyes - If timing was correct, you should be able to see a spectacular view of a turning Earth/Setting Sun. Note the colors, the shadows on the trees, feel the temperature change as the sun quietly hides away for the day. Place another log on the fire if needed to keep warm. Hold the moment for as long as you can, forget for a moment that you have a name, a title, a family, or anything else. Just BE. And know that you too will one day be hidden from the Earth.
Step 12. Evening Ritual - This is different for everyone and often different for me depending on where I am or what my activities were for the day. Often I make some coffee or tea, then I wrap a blanket around the feet and just pause. From myself I try to visualize a wave of gratitude flowing from me out towards my surroundings. I'm thankful for the freedom to travel, for the nature around me, for the waters that never cease, even thankful for the squirrel that's been nattering at me for the past while, thankful for fire, thankful for food, and most importantly thankful for life itself. The last thing to do is crawl into that bed that's already made!
Peace to you...