Bird Watching and My Scattered Thoughts


Last month I tried meditating.

The kind where you sit in a quiet place and repeat a mantra.

bird head bowed meditation prayer

It didn’t go so well.

Maybe I was a little too desperate for it to work, or maybe it was because my brain likes to tell stories and refute mantras in quiet moments. Either way it was kind of like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach while watching and waiting for a pot of water to boil.

I felt more anxious.

bird head in bird feeder

In the past, I found yoga calming, but sometimes those “yoga clouds” were not in fact carrying away my thoughts, but sorting into my to do list.

flying seeds bird feeder

A black-capped chickadee slinging seeds (and perhaps thoughts).

And walking. I love walking. But I like to go over projects and stuff. Or whatever. I just like to break stuff down when I walk, not push it away.

Then last week I wanted to take some pics of the birds in our backyard. So I sat on my deck, about ten feet from the bird feeder. I had to sit still while holding my camera and somehow that stance forced me to keep an even breathing rhythm.

And so I watched the birds.

bird watching me

Or did they watch me?

I was still. Breathing nicely. And my thoughts were…I don’t know. Like scattered seeds on the ground? Because wherever they were they weren’t bothering me.

Do you meditate?

blue bird illustration


24 thoughts on “Bird Watching and My Scattered Thoughts

  1. Nope, Coleen, I don’t meditate and never plan to lol I have way too much to do and honestly, I don’t need to do an “official” meditation to escape or be creative or anything like that. My brain is active ALL the time and my creativity never ceases 😀 Of course, being able to truly relax would be nice, but even when I’m trying to do something unproductive, I’m never completely relaxed simply because I always feel like I should be doing all the OTHER things lol

    And I get the whole bird-watching thing with your camera. Your still and focused on something that’s fascinating and tranquil in nature. Makes perfect sense to me and what better place to “be” 😀 I feel that way when I watch ocean waves…

    And…if I REALLY want to take the time out to do so, I can experience that through YouTube for a “break” 😀


    1. So true, YouTube is great for that! And also for research. I remember writing a scene and I though if I could just hear the ocean right now…and then that’s exactly what I did via Youtube. Thanks, Donna!


  2. I would say you found what works best for you in meditating. Sitting and focusing on the birds and nothing else, is a wonderful way to be fully present and calm — a wonderful meditation. When you stopped trying, you found your space.

    Yes, I meditate. But, I meditate in a different ways. Some times I use a seed thought (Agni Yoga), quiet myself and go deep into the thought how it applies to me and the world. Sometimes I walk hard to clear my thoughts, which always opens the door for something new to appear. And, I sit in complete silence and ask the brain chatter to stop, so I can reclaim myself. The key for me is to be in the moment.


  3. I wish I could meditate. My brain is in “drive” mode 24/7. Night time is the worst; my brain will not go to sleep. It’s annoying and frustraing.

    But, I do love to watch birds. They kind of remind me of me; always busy they are. At least they seem to be with all the scratching and squawking and fluttering about. I especially like to watch the birds taking baths in the water fountain in my back yard.

    I wish I were a better photographer.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


    1. Sometimes that brain drive thing can really be annoying but then as I read all these thoughts from you creative friendlies I remember it’s the thing we harness to make cool stuff! 🙂 Maybe photography will be one of those things you harness one day!!


  4. Must be something in the water — I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about meditation! 🙂 I don’t meditate. I’m a restless person to begin with, and my brain is constantly working on something. I always hear how it can calm and rejuvenate, which I desperately need. I just need to commit to being willing to sit still for a few minutes.

    Birds are one of my favorite things to watch though, when I do have a minute to reflect and just kind of “be.” I have a feeder outside my study window. It’s empty now, and your post has reminded me to refill it! Have a great day!!


  5. Coleen, I think for creative people, it is more difficult to mediate in the traditional sense. For most of us, our minds may never shut off. But clearly, to focus through your camera lens and bird watch is a moment of meditation, a moment of clarity as your mind is captured in another world. Not unlike writing and storytelling, eh? I hope you and hubby had a wonderful weekend! 🙂


  6. I don’t meditate. I find I have few moments of quiet to myself when there isn’t something needed of me or me just needing to feel productive. But I have found that picking weeds is somehow therapeutic. HA! I noticed many years ago when my yard was especially weedy and I was bothered enough to spend my spare time hand-pulling those little suckers that it was helping me clear my mind. The mindless act of ridding my yard of weeds was also ridding my mind of…thought! I mean CLEAR of thought! I was figuratively and literally clearing weeds. 🙂


    1. Now you’ve got me thinking about spring cleaning, for the mind! Maybe that’s another thing about seasons, we clear out the old and get ready for something new. Or at least a little peace and clarity. 🙂 Thanks, Amy.


  7. Hmm, I didn’t get this post in my email either. I’ve resigned up for notifications so hopefully it will work again.

    But to answer your question, no, I don’t meditate. I know I should, but I never seem to sit still long enough. Which is probably all the more reason I need to!


    1. Hey Carrie!
      Thanks for letting me know. I see your email on the list of public
      subscribers. I’m wondering if maybe the posts got flagged as junk?? I also
      didn’t get a new subscriber email, which I think is because you’re still on
      the list. If you happen to see that it did go to junk, could you let me
      know? In the past I have had a hosting issue a couple of times with emails
      not going out, but no worries if you can’t check, I know you’re busy. All
      the best with your mom and travels!


  8. Coleen I love this post. I feel this way when I sit on my deck and watch the birds. Im relaxed. When I meditate I don’t try too hard because like you I have an active mind which does what yours does. My my organises my day and then I simply let it go. I imagine strings tied to all my thoughts and suddenly they are cut and every thought washes away in a swirling funnel until all I am left with is my breathing and a white cloud. I imagine I am a bird flying through the whiteness and for me I feel very relaxed. I may never be able to quiet the mind into silence but each day I find wonderful jewels whilst I am still. Birds are gorgeous by the way. Namaste.


  9. Hi Coleen,

    If praying counts as meditating, then yes, I do.

    Cool pictures! I’m wondering which came first, the pictures or the post ideas you put with them. 🙂

    Also, I had never heard of watercolor pencils before. Sounds like fun.

    One more thing…Looks like Commentluv isn’t working. 😦


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