The topic that I receive the most questions about is the Sit Spot. It makes sense because it is a new concept to most people. I’ve compiled some of these questions and answered them below:
My sit spot doesn’t have _______ (insert noun or adjective). Can I still use it?
There are only two things required for your Sit Spot: it is outdoors and you feel safe while you are there. Obviously, there are many other attributes that would make your Sit Spot better. These include being near a wildlife corridor, diversity, the edge of several habitats, a fully intact ecosystem, being private, and many other things. The more of these you have, the better (at least in theory). That said, most of us do not have all of these elements within a few minute’s walk of our front door. The best Sit Spot is the one that you go to the most. In general, the closer your Sit Spot the better. But almost any Sit Spot will work if it has the two requirements: it’s outdoors and you feel safe while you are there.
What if the area I want to use for my Sit Spot is smaller than 100 paces in all directions?
It is totally acceptable for your Sit Spot to be smaller than the recommended size. Many students have used areas that are much smaller than a 100 pace radius. One of my favorite Sit Spots was a 30′ x 40′ backyard in the middle of Seattle. While I couldn’t explore as much as I wanted, it turned out to be ideal. It was easy to access and I could go there at any time of day. I felt safe 100% of the time. The biggest disadvantage is that you won’t be able to wander as much if you have a smaller Sit Spot. This can be solved by going to a larger area when you have that desire.
Should I choose a) my small backyard, b) the abandoned lot 5 minutes away, or c) the 500-acre park that’s a 10-minute drive and a 20-minute walk?
That’s a good question. There are pros and cons to all of them. The backyard is the closest, but the least wild. If you only have 15 minutes you could do a 15-minute sit in your backyard, a 5-minute sit in the abandoned lot, and no sit in the pristine park. Do you share your backyard with a family that has 3-year old triplets and loves to let them run outside all day? That might push me to use one of the other sites.
If you have a busy schedule then the backyard is the way to go. If you have a lot of time on your hands and want to dedicate a significant amount of energy then the park could certainly work. Just remember that it’s going to take 25 minutes ONE WAY to get to your park Sit Spot. That’s 50 minutes of travel time each time you go.
I would not usually select the lot for a few reasons. One, it’s private property. Trespassing is not recommended. Beyond being illegal, paranoia is not conducive to feeling safe. The other big issue with the lot is that it could be developed at any point. Think of building this deep connection to all the flowering plants, nesting birds, and curious mammals only to see the flagging and property stakes come in. This is not something I want you to experience.
So the answer depends on you. How much time do you have? What are your needs around wildness? When in doubt, test the different spots out and see how you feel.
How often should I go to my Sit Spot?
As much as you can for as long as you can. Listen, the more time you spend at your Sit Spot the deeper your learning will be. It’s that simple. If you can only do one thing, go to your Sit Spot. Along with that, the more consistent you are the better. If you say, “I’m going to go to my Sit Spot every day for the rest of my life,” that is challenging to uphold. When you can build the Sit Spot routine into your daily life, you will be more successful. If that means going 2-3 times per week that is much better than five days straight once per month. My basic recommendation is 3-4 times per week for 20-60 minutes per sit. It is enough to gather a solid base of experience, but not so much that it is challenging to repeat. Develop a routine that you can maintain, then do your best to stick to it.
There’s a bear/robin/coyote that seems to always be at my Sit Spot. What should I do?
You’ve likely placed your Sit Spot on something else’s territory. While you might feel like it is also your territory, see the perspective that you are a guest here. You have another home, this animal does not. You might be able to move your spot just a little to not affect the animal’s behavior (in the case of the robin). In the case of the bear, I would significantly move my Sit Spot. Bears, cougars, and moose are not to be tested. This may be a temporary seasonal change. In nesting season it might be more challenging to have a spot that doesn’t affect birds. But if a bird alarms heavily at you the entire time you are at your Sit Spot or if you find fresh bear scat at your Sit Spot every couple of days, you might want to consider moving. Use common sense and awareness.