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Sit Spotting

Hello! I'm Brandi Rondinelli.

Married to my soul mate, stay at home mom to my two little adventurers Lorenzo (3) and Halona (18 months)

I am a photographer for both my business Soulshine Photography and an official Hike it Baby photographer.

Me and my family love the great outdoors and we make sure to get outside every single day. Whether that's in our backyard, going for a walk, park, nature center or state park.

Me and my kids have been to 18 State Parks and 25 nature centers/hiking spots in Wisconsin and beyond. Our goal is to explore them all.

We've all heard of meditation but have you heard of sit spotting?

Both are similar in that they involve sitting still and concentrating without any outward activity.

Sit spotting: find a place in or adjacent to a natural or semi natural setting where you can sit and observe. Pick a place that's close. For example, in your backyard, local nature center or neighborhood park, so that it's easy to get to. Remember the best sit spot is the one you use. We chose our backyard for the convenience. Visit your sit spot regularly, preferably daily or at least several times a week, sit quietly there, observing with all of your senses. Listen for birds and other animals, tracking your observations with notes and pictures in your nature journal. In this place, the lessons of nature will seep in.

Meditating indoors for me was difficult. I found it hard to concentrate, sit still and not let my mind wander when i'm inside my house. No matter if my kids are sleeping or not, there is just way too much on my mind. The joys of being an adult...

I started sit spotting with my kids and noticed an unfamiliar sense of freedom from my mind's tendency to wander. The birds chirping and the wind blowing against my face distracted me from all that was on my mind. It let me focus on the little things like the sounds and the feelings of being out in nature, and less on what was for dinner, when is my next shoot and anything/everything in between.

Sit spotting is an easier way to get kids sitting still and concentrating on their inner self and take a second to be self aware on what's going on around them.

The benefits for meditation and sit spotting are similar as well, and include:

• Increase Self-Awareness – clarifying your thoughts and allowing you to focus on what's inside you and/or all around you in a clam positive way.

• Becoming Grounded and Calmer – you begin to realize what effect every day life plays on the consciousness and you learn to be more observant and more level headed.

• Insomnia – one of the causes of insomnia is the constant stimulation of the brain which is such an issue in today’s society. Winding down becomes harder at the end of the day, but sit spotting can improve the quality of sleep and help sort out the daily mental clutter.

• Happiness – If your heart is happy you can be a positive influence on others and become someone other people will want to be around.

My son Lorenzo, who is 3, does pretty well. He sits quietly, takes deep breaths and just listens. After a minute we talk about what we heard, then we do it again.

My daughter Halona is 18 months she hasn't mastered the sitting still part for long yet but she watches us and I know she will eventually catch on. Monkey see monkey do.

Start by creating a fun place to sit. For example, me and my kids built an outdoor teepee and that is our sit spot. They get excited about sitting in the "cool" teepee they helped build.

Practice sitting criss cross applesauce and ask your child if he or she can listen and tell you what they hear. You start off by listening and saying "I hear birds chirping, what do you hear?"

Try sitting and talking about your surroundings for 5 minutes. Repeat the next day.

The following day add closing your eyes.

If your kids can not sit for the 5 minutes start with a lesser time and move up and up.

This will also be a good learning tool that they can utilize in school.

Sit spotting just like meditation is not an overnight exercise. Children won’t feel the benefits immediately, but with regular practice, just five minutes a day can bring positive changes to their life and learning ability. Of course the best thing to do is be a role model and use sit spotting in your life as well!

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