We can’t all live in a green oasis – modern life separates us from our innate connection to nature all the time! So, what are the best ways to make sure we feel connected to nature every day?
When we spend time somewhere we love, it’s relatively easy to drop into a feeling of deep connection with nature; to breathe easier, feel the breeze on our faces, smell the roses (or native flowers!) and feel an intimate part of the universe and this planet filled with life.
But if we want to take that feeling into every day – and who doesn’t? – we need to practice some techniques and remember them while we drive, type, shop, get kids to school, and live in our modern world of buildings and cars, fridges and microwaves, and everything else that makes life easier but also distances us from the natural world we evolved in.
So, to help you keep that feeling you love, here are my Top 5 Tips! Please fee free to share the love, by adding to them in the Comments section below:
- Breath: I start every meditation class with a focussed awareness on the breath. Wisdom traditions the world over assert the close relationship between breath and mind; both are seemingly immaterial (thought can fly anywhere at any time it would seem!), but both also have a dramatic, physical effect on the way we think and respond to the world. By practising breath awareness, we can make that effect one that reconnects us to the freedom, beauty and majesty of life in each moment.
- Light: in just over 100 years of electric light, we have almost totally lost our deep connection to the cycles of sun, moon and stars, and the way we used to navigate our environment according to those daily cycles. How do we get back in touch with our primal connection to light? Start by getting up early enough to watch a sunrise, and take time to say thank you to that great golden orb that powers all life on earth! Then, in the evening before bed, why not try bowing to the moon (or howl, if the inspiration hits and the neighbours aren’t too close!), while reflecting upon the cycles of life that brought you to this moment. Finally, spend some time gazing into the night sky, remember how lucky we are to be here in the vastness of space, and don’t forget to wonder as you admire the stars.
- Bodily movements: the way we move is an expression of our relationship to nature, both the inner nature of the way we feel in our bodies and the way we move through our environment, in terms of our spacial awareness. I found the combination of martial arts training and working in hospitality, where I had to be aware of who might be walking around the corner at any time with hot plates in their hands, drilled into me a consistent awareness of where I am in terms of what is around me. I practiced being ready for anything and sensing what might be coming next, in a physical way, and it feels good; like a hunter sensing prey in the wilderness.
- Mindful eating and drinking: take time to focus on what you are consuming. Give thanks for it and don’t take it for granted. This is one of the traps of the modern world; things just appear in our shops and on our plates and we forget the chain of events that brought it to us, from farmers planting seeds to the sky magically allowing fresh water to fall onto fertile soil. Practice awareness of all that comes together to bring you that meal – including the technologies of production and delivery. (And try this free Nature Calling meditation)
- Stories: we are all used to listening to the voice/s in our heads, as we daydream, talk about ourselves and others, judge and compare what we like and don’t like, remember the past with regret or longing, look forward to the future with expectation or dread, and so on … but what about listening to the ancient, archetypal patterns, the stories of our cultural DNA, the voices within that could lead us back to deeper connection with nature at all times? These voices can teach us to be attentive to our personal habits and predispositions, to evolve beyond our limits, to trust our intuition and be wary of danger when we sense it approaching, to treat the earth with love if not reverence, to take care of others as if we were all connected … in short, to be a better ecological citizen and a more balanced and centred individual in one.
I’ll extend each of these points out to more detail in forthcoming blog posts. In the meantime, please feel free to get in touch if you want to learn more about any of these options or more. There is a Nature Calling Online Course, if you would like to try some of these practices in more depth. Also, on my Ecoretreats, we also add simple but effective rituals to keep that connection alive, no matter else happens in our day. Check them out here and take that feeling of freedom and endless possibility back into your every day!