The Science and Spirit of “SkyTime”
We have long heard stories of weary travelers looking to the skies for guidance, direction, and navigation. And, who could deny all the poetry, prose, lyrics, and artistry that reflect the lore, love, and longing for the beauty of the stars, the shape-shifting clouds, the shimmering moon, and illuminating sun? This has been true for thousands of years and remains so now.
The sky itself informs us of many things we don’t consciously take in. The time of day, the potential weather, the sense of the infinite...It tells us daily stories of earthly conditions, planetary alignments, and even the life cycle of stars. This further connects us to the living and breathing Universe, a pulse point for our existence.
During this pandemic, I have encouraged Pathwalkers to get some “Sky Time”. The reason for this is two-fold. First, our brains absolutely need respite from the unforgiving screens, and our senses require the breathing essence of a limitless sky. This invites a sense of expansion and lessens the feeling of constriction and restriction that we often may experience when indoors for so many long hours.
It also promotes mindfulness, a time when we can focus on something grounding, to fire up those neural pathways of regulation and solace, in what has felt like a world overturned. Mindful moments are steadying activators of balance, and essential when we may feel mentally or physically claustrophobic during our collective retreat to our homes.
Working with an ecotherapeutic perspective, engaging with a simple routine where we are able to attune to the sky will activate benefits in mind, body, spirit, emotionality, and even spirituality.
First, by stepping outside of our cocoon, we present our minds with an otherness, something bigger than ourselves. This excites the senses and engages the factors of novelty and environmental engagement. Your brain perks up and neural pathways are firing!
This in turn will have a direct impact on our physical bodies. You may notice a slowing, an ability to breathe more deeply, a nervous system recognizing a moment of equilibrium and homeostasis.
Emotionally, we are in a relationship with mother earth and father sky, both feeding different parts of our existence. We note a sense of balance when outside of a man-made structure, with both the organic earth beneath our feet and the limitless space above. This is one of the reasons that sky time invites us into the promise of divine rhythm, predictability, and some things that still remain certain and true.
When we first went into our initial lockdown during the pandemic, I, like the rest of you, had my own struggles with fear, panic, and anxiety. It was a constant dance between doing what I know how to do in order to be a helper, and then have my moments to emote and allow the expression myself.
The one thing I consistently noticed that I needed - literally needed - was to step outside my front or back door between every session I had. It was almost as if I went to visit the one thing that remained safe and true; the sun was still rising, the moon was still shimmering, the clouds were still in the sky, the trees and earth life still reached toward the heavens...there, right in front of me, was something tangible and accessible, calming the chaos and rebalancing the unsettled energies. It was a constant, a familiar presence when other parts of life were completely shattering.
My favorite days were, and are the cloudy ones. As a rain lover and weather watcher, I really vibe with the cocooning of cloud cover, and the practice of shape finding. Here again, a cell memory exists from which I can summon familiarity, nostalgia, novelty, and mindful replacements of worry and emotional fatigue.
Yet my most cherished sky time moments have to do with Mama Moon. If that stirs something in you, the thought of gazing upon her selenite glow, I have another post for you here.
A beautiful practice, Skytime has practical functionality as well. Each time you engage in this mindful activity, you are building neural pathways that indicate the presence of routine, natural rhythm, consistency, and sensory regulation. Your brain loves this, remembers this, and continues to strengthen those pathways so that it becomes something you can “Call In” when needed.
After you read this paragraph, close your eyes for a moment, and recall a time you looked out over the horizon, with a recognition of the sky ahead and above you. Try to sink into the memory and each of your senses. Could you find one? If you did, what happened as you drifted there a moment? What did you see? What were the clouds doing? Was there any precipitation? What lights were glowing up there?
If you were not able to recall a specific memory, no worries! The good news is that by developing a daily habit of giving your gaze over to the freedom of the infinite above, you will develop a neural pathway that will allow you to call this back in whenever needed. I will spare all the science for why and how this happens, as there is much written. However, it remains one of the most easily accessible yet powerful actions we can take to self-regulate and grow a healthy brain at the same time! And who doesn’t want to grow brain?
All of this can have potent energetic impacts on our spirit as well. Here, we connect to the ancient symbolism of the sky and what it holds. The celestial bodies align in ways that guide, inform, and awe. We are stirred in the midnight spaces within us, where the forms and functions of the universe are subconsciously known, and the mystery of the heavens provides comfort and connection. The skies embody archetypal symbology that reminds us of expansion, freedom, openness, possibility, and the wonder of imagination.
Sky Time. The very Universe supports us with every challenge we face. I’d love to hear of your moments when your eyes are skyward, and what happens for you when it becomes a more regular practice. And, tag me in your Instagram posts with #smilingspiritsky so we can ooh and ahh (and grow more brain) together!