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Mindfulness: the gift of being in the here and now

A dark brown haired young woman with thoughts in her head illustrated by question mark, rocket, money, coffee, clock, email, social life icons drawn on the background wall concept.

How often have you travelled a route and not really noticed anything between points A and B?

It happens, a lot. It is easy to go into ‘auto’ pilot, our minds full of thoughts about other things – ruminating the past; worrying about the future.

My husband and I have just enjoyed 5 days away on the northern New South Wales Tweed Coast. During that time, we cycled. We don’t dilly-dally but we don’t ride so fast as to be oblivious to our surrounds. On our rides, we took in our surrounds with interest, openness and receptiveness. We connected with the world directly through our senses rather than thoughts: the warmth of the early sun on our backs and the cool as we entered a stand of Casuarinas creating a tunnel; the smells of the sea, the bush – and someone cooking bacon!; the sounds of insects, so many different bird calls and the surf just beyond the foredune. We noticed 3 black cockatoos flying in formation against the bright blue sky and I spied 2 of the endangered Bush stone-curlew.

And then there was public art that literally stopped me in my tracks. Admittedly I am a fan of art outside traditional galleries and museums, and the integration of public art in the built environment. I had not expected to see it on this bike path between Kingscliff and Cabarita Beach. While we stopped at one, my husband spotted 2 cycling mates who live locally. He called out to them and they stopped and joined us, surprised by what they saw. “Gee, I’ve never even noticed,” laughed one. That made me wonder how many of the other path users – residents and holidaymakers – register the existence of this public art.

So my blog today is two-fold — a tourism suggestion when on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales and an illustration of active mindfulness.

If you are visiting the Tweed Coast and enjoy public art, take a stroll or a bike ride along the Kingscliff to Cabarita path near Casuarina to see these public art installations (and more):

A mermaid sitting on a cassowary, holding a cassowary chick…

Acknowledgement of the First Australians, the Bundjalung people, who lived, fished and gathered this area…

A horse – make that a sea horse … check out its tail!

Even the showers and water stations are a nod to the beach lifestyle.

As to my second purpose of this blog, mindfulness – a way of bringing us back to experience life as it happens, here and now – is not only achieved by being still. For those with really active minds, who resist the idea of trying mindfulness because the head is switched on permanently to an internal radio station, I suggest trying a walk, or a bike ride – or a laughter yoga session – and allowing yourself to be in the moment, without judgement or worries, just being.

(c) Heather Joy Campbell 2017