You ‘ve heard me say it before … nature teaches, nature calms, nature soothes the soul, etcetera, etcetera.   And I’m going to say it again, because it’s true… when you immerse yourself in nature, TIME STOPS!

This the key to mindfulness, the “hot” new philosophy that preaches living in the moment to minimize stress.  Something every conscientious leader knows, or needs to know.

Even police departments teach this technique to their officers.  But, trying to not worry about the past, or trying not to worry about the future proves to be very, very difficult. . Mindfulness is challenging for those pesky thoughts that seem to percolate up during a normal day of activities.

But there is hope…

Several weeks ago, I went camping at a primitive and remote site, off a dirt road that ran parallel to a beautiful Oregon coastal river.  It was a magical place with space for the tent under trees with delicate webs of moss.  A secret place with the river just 100 yards away singing a melody that put me to sleep at night. 

We set up camp, pulled out our camp chairs and sat quietly among the trees.   The miracle was not that we discovered this enchanted spot, but that for three days my brain stopped its daily litany of worries, concerns, and issues to be resolved.

I listened, explored, hiked and laughed in the moment of the experience, within the green and lush carpet of nature.  Three days of mindfulness with nary a thought of work, the kids, the future. 

I was on pause, allowing myself to smell, touch, see and hear the deep and forgotten songs of nature that  filled my mind, leaving no room for worry or stress

Nature makes mindfulness easy. I found I could shut off the clatter of my brain, leaving no room for disruptive thoughts.  I cherished this feeling, tucked it into my memory and returned home, tranquil, slower in pace and refreshed… without stress.

So to all my friends and colleagues who are conscientious leaders… give yourself permission to sit still in nature. By combining it with some mindfulness, stress doesn't have a chance.

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