Reflecting back on this year there is something that most, if not all of us, have been able to partake in – reconnecting with nature.

The stresses and pace for modern life can distract us from all the natural beauty that surrounds us every day. As we’ve had more time available to us from lockdowns, furloughs and unfortunately redundancies, there is some benefit to our daily Boris walks.

mental health
start point sunrise

Nature in all its seasons orchestrates sounds and songs that can keep us in tune with our very own nature. It can help keep us grounded by keeping our minds healthy and renewed with positive thoughts. It can also help us to escape in our own headspace to a place to comfort and peace.

I’ve found myself surrounded by symphonies of birdsong, the gentle trickle of the brook or even the roaring wind. Even as I sit here on a headland in the South Hams watching the old sun rise on a new day I can feel the energy and life in all the sounds around me… the crashing waves on the rocks, the whistling wind, the calling gulls and the eerie howling of the wind in the caves below. Even watching the blazing sun rise into the sky adds to the spectacular show that I’m witnessing. There’s motion, tempo and life. 

In a year that has been dark for many, where there has been death, sadness and negativity… this can disrupt or even irritate our mental wellbeing. Being forced to slow down life can help us to think and to contemplate. For me, spending time in nature has been a positive experience which has helped me to keep my mind focussed on positive perspectives.

I’m a fan of J.R.R Tolkien and his masterpiece stories set in middle earth. There’s a quote I’m particularly fond of that says, “where there’s life, there’s hope”.

Songs, poetry, literature and other forms of creativity can communicate utter garbage, while some can echo lifelong truths. For me, this quote fits hand in glove with how I want to approach challenges like 2020.

hobbiton
hope

Going into lockdown I started to enjoy being lazy. Time to slow down and catch up on some tv series I could binge on, great! For some this is dream come true, for others it has been a real struggle. After thinking about it, I knew I didn’t want to tolerate the behaviours and attitude that came as a result of lockdown. Instead, I wanted to engage with it, I want to look back on this time and for it to be profound, as a time where I was still able to grow and learn despite circumstances. Even in the midst of despair, I wanted to find hope and maintain good mental health.

When I look and see terrible things happening, I wanted to see with new eyes something that revealed the opposite. When I heard negativity in the news, politics or social media, I wanted to hear the opposite with new ears.

As a musician, it has been hard not to share and enjoy your passion with others who are like-minded. As a band, we have missed seeing a lot of our friends and music family this year through our gig circuit and summer festivals. At the beginning of restrictions and lockdown in England I had thought that music was being completely silenced…how wrong I was.  There is always a song playing, always a tempo and always a melody. We just needed to reconnect with it.  

Keep safe, Mark.