Today we discussed what qualities a space has to have for us to feel calm. Calmness really is a state of mind and is very personal to each of us. Tuning into the sounds and the smells of busy places can help some people feel an inner calm. Others might need to find the quietest space possible to give themselves mental respite.
One of our participants felt most calm stood at a busy set of inner-city traffic lights. Watching bustling commuters shoot past in their shiny metal contraptions whilst we’re looking on without a care in the world induces feelings of pity for those tied up in the rat race. It can also keep us strong in the knowledge that as social beings we are part of this world, whilst being free and independent enough to stand apart from it when we want to.
Other participants felt that the calmness of a natural wide open space was what was needed to feel tranquility. Vetch Park and Swansea Beach are close to each other so we explored both places to consider what they meant to us as mindful spaces. Again, any calmness is an individual thing. Some people feel free whilst others find these places to be bleak and lonely.
The world holds a mirror up to our own psyche. What we get from a space is often a reflection of what we’re giving to it mentally. We give preconceptions and opinions to a space before we stop to consider what it could possibly be instead. It takes a strength of imagination, and a willingness to rethink what we’re seeing and feeling, in order to change a negative space into a positive one. Mindfulness helps to acknowledge these feelings and enable us to deal constructively with our own mental baggage.
These photographs are representative of our travels today. They are mementos of the tranquility we felt, or they are representative of spaces that we wish we could feel calm in. How do they make you feel?