Joining the Vital Groundswell for Nature Connection
In the midst of a global pandemic, when so many of us are suffering and many are scared, anxious, and/or stressed, there is a groundswell of something wonderful that we can embrace.
Aimee and I receive daily e-mails listing the top internet social media posts and articles regarding meditation, all modes of mindful activity, gratitude and nature connection. It is wonderful, heartening and lends scientific and experiential validity to our work witnessing that the articles keep coming from EVERYWHERE. We know the value and transformative quality so the dispersion into mainstream feels tremendous.
BUT, for quite some time, nature lagged a bit behind in quantity and audience reach here in the West, the relatively "new land" for mainstreaming wellness practices. This year, however, and even in the last month, articles and public visibility of the concepts of why, where, when, how we so badly need to reconnect with the natural world "spilleth over."
Books, magazine articles, courses, blogs, podcasts, are all going gangbusters. Colleges are building majors and minors around the concepts. I am hopeful that primary and secondary school curricula will follow. Some schools are already working with the concepts. There are schools that take place IN NATURE. Writers are planning how to get into the space, racing for the next bestseller, inspired by the change in the wind and groundswell for something they are so passionate about.
So yes, we want to shout, "Reconnect! Learn! Help the next generation who are even more removed then we are! Gain all the healing benefits!"
This is a sampling of the books that I have read recently, some from a nature guide certification course I just finished. All contain fascinating and inspiring information on the reasons, the science, the way back. Amazon has 5000 books listed under the search "nature connection."
The Nature of Nature
The Hidden Life of Trees
Wonder and Other Survival Skills
Pittsburgh 60 Hikes in 60 Miles
Your Brain on Nature
The Secret Therapy of Trees
Last Child in the Woods
The Nature Principle
I am currently reading Pullitzer Prize fiction winner The Overstory and I am riveted. Our good friend Beth, fellow nature seeker, cued me in to a Podcast from 'The Sunday Read, New York Times' called "The Social Life of Forests" that still has me reeling in wonder - so well written, concise and eye opening. Listen too if you are intrigued!
As with our other pillars of well-being, science is now backing, in ever increasing study numbers, what some individuals already knew from experience and certainly what our indigenous tribes knew all along. Nature connection and proximity, understanding and attachment is a key to well-being, can be utterly transformational and change the tone of a life for the better.
A "feel better" is right outside many doors, even in winter.
Wherever you are coming from and wherever you want to be, regaining an understanding of what nature brings to us, how she holds our lives in her sweeping branches, how we can meet and greet her with reciprocity and healing for the benefit of both parties - this is the muffled dialogue that has turned into a choir of impassioned, knowing voices.
The isolation of COVID has brought our basic needs for connection into strong light. Additionally, because parks, reserves, trails, tree lined sidewalks, gardening and houseplants, windows and fresher air became more valued due to accessibility and relative COVID safety, we have a much larger portion of society who has reached an arm toward the greenways and waterways this last year. Many have even felt a pull to "the wilds."
Two days ago I led (cajoled) my teen gamers into nature again for a hike. They typically go reluctantly and emerge in a completely different space, a space of energetic rejuvenation, of getting along with each other, of ideas. They grew up camping and hiking with me but I still fight the good fight every day against the temptations of technology. I do not advocate a "no tech" existence. Tech has been a vital mental stabilizer, social connector and lifeline, especially now. Balance is what we seek. Interestingly, some of the same soothing and rewarding neurotransmitters that are released when gaming or when we get a "like" on social media, that keep us coming back for more, are also released when we are connecting with nature.
Yes, it's time to talk about it, learn about it and get our kids and ourselves back on the path. I can't mince words anymore!
My family is no exception to needing the work, the connection. I will seek it constantly and move my kids as needed, as long as I have sway. At this point, I am driven to learn it's every proclivity, ability, diversity, connection, and wonder. I want to seek out new areas to broaden my scope. As I write this article I am bouncing in my chair a bit on this cloudy cold December quarantined day. Nature is right out my door and I will go, no matter how small or big the time available. I know what it can do for me. Will you go?
(Our "Benefits of Nature Connection" Zoom Course Starts in January. Join us if you are moved to reconnect more or begin the journey. )