In the Martin & Sylvia story, “The Sit Spot,” after a day at Wilderness School, Martin tells his sister and Daddy about finding a "sit spot" or personal spot in the woods. Sylvia is inspired to find one herself, as is Daddy, but Momma is feeling she needs to focus on getting the house ready for guests. In the final moments before the guests arrive, Momma decides to find her own "sit spot" and has the most magical moment of all.
Sit spots are a fantastic way to connect with yourself and with your environment without too much effort. I actually have several sit spots. One is in my garden. I have a blue chair that is always out there. When I really need to think and process, I go there. The next sit spot is a huge boulder at the base of the mountains where I live. From that boulder you can see for a hundred miles. The last sit spot is in the woods. I return to these spots time and again, and which one I go to depends on how much time I have to get there and stay there. If I am pressed for time it’s the garden, if I have all morning I’ll go to my forest sit spot.
You might be asking, if you haven't heard the story yet, what is a sit spot and how do I find one? The main objective of a sit spot is to have a place in nature that you return to over and over where you sit completely still, allowing yourself to blend into the environment. When you sit in a place long enough all the creatures around you begin to relax and you will see things you never saw before.
Birds and animals tend to stay away from humans. We make loads of noise and movement. But when we slow down and take time to be still, that’s when the magic happens.
How do you find a sit spot?
You simply go for a walk in a place you like that is easy to get to. When you come to a spot that inspires you and says to you, “Sit a while,” you’ve found it. It could be your back step, a park bench, or a log just off your favorite hiking trail. It’s really up to you and what space calls to you.
What do I do in my sit spot?
Well, nothing! Not exactly nothing, but rather you’ll want to sit down comfortably, close your eyes, and slow your breath. This might take a while to relax and find a place of ease. Your mind will wander and your body will tell you it has itches or aches. Simply acknowledge those things and let them go. You are there to observe nature as if you were a stone. When you feel calm and relaxed, allow yourself to look around without moving much more than your eyes. Begin to listen to the sounds around you. Can you hear birds chirping, insects buzzing? What about the wind blowing through the leaves? Notice what the environment feels like. Is it cool or warm, is there a breeze, can you smell anything particular like flowers or pine sap? You aren’t here to judge, just to make observations.
At my sit spot in the woods, I can smell dried grass, douglas fir trees, and wet rocks from the stream nearby. There are many small song birds that frequent the elderberry trees around me. Often I will see birds of prey soaring high above me in the sky looking for their meals.
How long do I stay there?
That’s entirely up to you. At least ten minutes is a good start. Make sure to come back there often and observe how the space changes with seasons. It might look completely different in the winter versus the summer.
By taking the time to connect with nature at nature's pace, you’ll find it’s easier to connect with yourself as well. Children love to find sit spots and often even the fidgitiest of children will come to sit still and watch and take in their surroundings.
Try finding your own sit spot this week. Return to it once a week until Christmas and see what happens! If you try it out, tell us how it went via email or Facebook or Instagram.
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
- The Importance of Wilderness Stewardship
- Three Sparkle Playdate Themes
- 55 Things to Do Instead of Screens
About the Author
KC is a full-time radical homemaker and mama to two spunky little girls. She writes about all kinds of radical goodness, from gardening and cooking with whole foods to crafting, sewing, homeschooling, and mama musings. Read more on her blog The Nettlesome Life.