I don’t know much about birds, but I do know that I love watching and listening to them. In the morning, I’ve been eating breakfast outside, and I can hear so many different types of bird calls, near and far. I often hear a bird make a particular call, and then if I listen carefully, I hear a faint version of the same call coming from far away. I assume they’re saying something like, “I’m here.” But, I really have no idea. Another thing I enjoy about birds is that they’re almost always on the move, whether they’re digging in the dirt for food, flying from branch to branch, or simply moving their heads back and forth and up and down, staying alert for danger (or perhaps food). In fact, I’ve often found all of the bird activity outside to be so compelling that I give up reading my book and just sit, watch, and listen. And it takes something pretty good for me to want to stop reading! I’m not usually thinking, “I’m practicing mindfulness,” but this is undeniably a mindfulness practice. If you are trying to practice mindfulness regularly, and you’re having a hard time with more traditional meditation-style practices, such as observing your breathing and so forth, you might consider sitting somewhere and observing something that is always active and moving. Also, when you first start to practice mindfulness, it can be easier to sustain attention on something external (e.g., birds, boats, people walking by) versus internal (e.g., breath). If that external thing is moving a lot and making sound, like the birds in my backyard, it can be even easier to keep up your practice. Go somewhere without your smartphone, sit comfortably, and observe the birds, the movement of the leaves of the trees, and the people walking by. Watch with an open, curious mind. Try to let go of any judgmental thoughts, and just be for a while. Act like there’s nothing better that you could be doing, like your whole life is encapsulated in this activity of observing nature, right here, right now. ~ Alexander L. Chapman, Ph.D., R.Psych.