The world’s 1st Mindful Pocket Park℠ is based on the University of Michigan research that 20 mins in nature reduces the stress hormone, cortisol. Stanford’s research supports how vital to mental health “The Nature Pill℠” can be, possibly to reduce the risk of depression in an overly urbanized and concrete world.
As more of us are living in urban centers than ever before, our disconnection to green spaces grows, creating a “nature deficit disorder” as outlined in Richard Louv’s “Last Child in the Woods”. He coined the phrase to capture how technology has pulled us away from green and toward our screens at an accelerating pace. This disconnection comes at a price. The Center for Humane Technology outlines the dangers of tech impacts on humanity to include stress, loneliness, feelings of addiction and increased risky healthy behavior.
The Mindful Pocket Park Project will be a 7,500 square feet oval-shaped “mini-pocket-park” at the entrance of Patch of Heaven, immediately following the Welcome Center. The grounds have already been cleared to begin construction, with the upcoming Gardening Day bringing alive the vision.
The park will offer a wandering path through the five senses, with each “Sensory Stop” hosting a special mindful sensory experience — “destinations” to focus attention and engage the five senses: sight, sound, scent, touch and taste.
At the center of the space will be a meditation circle, with a Teacher’s seat at the top, surrounded by Apprentice, Beginner and Aspirant seats in a crescent shape. Arrival at this core will begin the second half of the immersive nature experience, a mindfulness experience facilitated by a Teacher during retreats or by the Nature Pill app for solo journeys.
PAY ATTENTION WITH YOUR SENSES What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you touch? What do you taste?
Upon reaching the center, you now are submerged into a deeper sense of yourself using one of three guided mediations. For solo visitors, you’ll choose the seat that most speaks to you, as you ease tension from your body, focus your mind and expand your imaginative creativity. For retreats, guests will surround the Teacher’s seat and be guided into the meditation.
Before you reach the center, and even before you begin your P.A.W.S. journey, you would have checked in on the supporting Nature Pill app upon your entrance into the park.
At the beginning of the experience and again at the end, you will answer these questions:
- On a scale of 1 – 10, what is your level of anxiety now and where do you feel it most?
- On a scale of 1-10, what is your level of calm now and where do you feel it most?
- Placing your hand on your heart, name one or two words to describe the state of your heart and mind.
In just a few short seconds, this self check-in deepens your ability to be present to the momentary experience and build inner awareness around your state of mind and wellbeing. You will pause and “drop in” to your “inner weather,” simply inquiring of your inner life, “what’s alive inside me here and now?”
You will notice a remarkable difference between when you began the journey through the Mindful Pocket Park and when you end. This moment of reflection is a personal practice of attention and kindness to yourself, helping you learn more about “being human,” as it were.
Getting in touch with ourselves and our inner state may very well help with the loneliness, disconnection and distraction that is fueling the public health epidemic of loneliness. These times have us feeling disconnected from one another and especially from ourselves.