So, as you might know (if you're signed up to my newsletter or follow me on Twitter) that I attended a rather cool conference in Derby last week, called Nature Connections.
It was a fast and fabulous day surrounded by many like minded and intelligent people, from both national and small local organisations and groups, all on a mission to realise the strengthening of our human connection with nature.
For me, one of the main things that came out in the talks and discussions with the other delegates was the idea of connecting with our emotions as a means of gaining a deeper connection with nature and noticing how it makes us feel when we take time to be in and with nature.
One speaker asked - Where do you feel happiest?
For most of the room the answers involved being somewhere surrounded by nature. Nope, not in front of the TV or stuck inside in a cubicle.
Another aspect that was discussed by a number of speakers was the examination and shifting of the language that we use to describe nature in our everyday lives. They looked at how the words we use can have deep meaning or they can turn us off and numb us to the emotion of the experience if they get too close to being corporate or government policy focused.
With all of this and more on my mind just the other day, I was feeling like getting creative and getting outside and expressing some of it, and helping others to think about and express their emotion and words around nature too.
So I went for a walk along the cycle path near me, taking my trusty dusty chalk and started asking.
' When I spend time in nature I feel...'
I excitedly scribbled with my chalk at strategic points all the way along one stretch of the path and felt amazing to think about what people's responses would be.
It began to rain as I walked and I enjoyed the idea that only a select few people would see this question today and loved the freedom of knowing that I could come back and ask a new question in a few days time. Oh I wonder what it'll be!
When I got home I shared my images of the question on social media and asked the question of my network there. I waited eagerly for their feelings to flow through to me.
I was soon delighted to see that people were taking up the conversation with enthusiasm.
Here are some of their feelings about spending time in nature.
When I spend time in Nature I feel...
- Free ... Connection ... Real ... Alive ... (So I wonder why I don't do it more often!!)
- Grounded, healthy, refreshed, alive
- Like a wild woman....every sense ignites!!
- Happy, emotional, relaxed.
- Free was what I thought too.. and at peace.. I am so happy its that time of year again. Mountains, here I come!!
- ...at home...free.
- A continuous sense of perspective.
- An interconnectedness with everything that surrounds me
Incredible right? I love all these beautiful responses
Such a simple question and such a simple action - to connect to nature, to spend time in and with nature- with such profound and positive benefits for our health and wellbeing.
I've noticed this pattern reappearing during our Connect to Nature course over the last couple of years and during the outdoor sessions I have delivered locally, all backed up by reading widely on the topic of nature and sustainability.
We need nature in order to be all of our glorious selves.
To be unfettered by our everyday stresses and strains and to see our lives reflected in the rhythm it presents.
We need nature. We are nature.
Nature is good for us and if we choose we can be good for it too.
I'm moved by the beauty of nature and constantly astounded by its variety and details and the sense of peace it gives me to just be part of the whole cycle of things.
I'm wondering what your answer might be. How would you complete the sentence?
When I spend time in nature I feel...
I'm also wondering
Do you spend enough time (for you) BEING in nature? What stops you from spending more time there?
Please carry on the conversation below or over on my facebook page
Our next Connect to Nature Course starts this Saturday- 4th Apr and runs until the 2nd May 2015.
This course is for you if you want to...
feel more vibrant and peaceful, with less stress or anxiety in your life
spend more time outdoors exploring new green spaces, on your doorstep or further afield
explore your creativity- but don't know where to start, or have neglected it for a while
pay more attention and go from scattered and tense to focused and calm
move from feeling flat and lacking in ideas to being inspired and full of life
refresh and develop a deeper knowing of yourself as part of nature, not separate from it looking on from afar.
connect with your inner child, and remember what it's like to be curious and have fun!