For a lot of us, our connection to nature is critical to our sense of peace, happiness and even purpose. But as we hurry, worry and scurry through the urban landscape of our modern lives, how do we connect to nature? Most of us can’t sit still for even a few minutes. The practice of “Sit Spot” could well be the answer.
The Sit Spot is a spot in nature to connect, observe and study life. It is an age-old dedicated technique used by all of the great teachers. Through this practice of connecting to nature, we can establish and anchor our relationship so that no matter the conditions, we will remain grounded in our connection to life.
This reflective activity can be planned as part of a program for a variety of reasons, however each individual will have their own experience in their Sit Spot and facilitators must respect the unique outcomes of this activity.
Reasons to include Sit Spots in a program:
- An intentional break in a full or multi-day program.
- Create space for individual reflection and quiet.
- Reduce stress that may have built up during the program.
- Boost creativity and refresh participants before the next activity.
Time: 30 minutes
This activity must be run in a large, safe, outdoor space. The space must be large enough that participants can spread out and each find their own sit spot without disturbing one another. It must be in nature, with trees, plants, and other wildlife present, and as far from roads or buildings as possible.
Participants must be given advance notice that they will be spending time outdoors so they can prepare appropriately with appropriate clothing, sunscreen, and bug spray if needed.
An optional material for this exercise are portable chairs (camping chairs) or blankets. You can ask each participant to bring their own. Chairs may also make this activity more accessible to people who cannot comfortably sit on the ground.
- Framing: explain that while there are many benefits of being outdoors, some of us don’t really know how to just sit and relax in nature.
- Explain Sit Spot. Ask participants if they know what a Sit Spot is.
- What: a place you sit, journal, draw in nature. A place you remove distractions and noises such as books, music, or phone. And you pay attention to all your senses.
- Where: A Sit Spot should be in nature and safe.
- Ask the group to try finding and sitting in a Sit Spot.
- Give the group a time frame for them to find and sit in their Sit Spot (at least 15 minutes).
- Optional: outline boundaries if needed.
- You can give the group a guided reflection to do in their Sit Spots or they can simply do self-guided reflection. Below are some ideas for guided reflection:
- Grounding exercise: try to notice 5 things they see, 4 things they hear, 3 things they feel, and 2 things they smell.
- Journalling: provide a journaling prompt related to the program.
- Or ask participants to try a free writing exercise where they start a timer, begin writing and do not stop until the timer is up. This is a good exercise for boosting creativity.
- Meditation: if your group has done meditation before together ask them to do a self-guided meditation in their sit spot.
Debriefing this activity is optional.
Once everyone has returned from their Sit Spots, bring everyone to sit in a circle and debrief the experience. Ideally do the debrief outside.
- What came up for you during this experience?
- How did it feel to spend time sitting in nature? Or: share one word to describe how you felt doing this activity.
- Why do you think we did this activity together?
- How can you try to incorporate more nature / outside time into your life?