There is nothing like seeing the faces of my own kids as well as those I teach light up as they discover something new and wonderful about nature. I swell with pride as I watch them make their own connections with nature through exploration and play, but recently, I was feeling like something was missing and
I realized my own personal connection with nature needed some nurturing. I rarely get time outside by myself, but it’s important enough to me to make it a priority, even if only for a few moments.
As adults we have so many things to do within a day that it seems impossible to add in anything else, but a few minutes outside is all it takes to reap the benefits
that our natural world provides. Whether you step out of the office during your lunch hour, stop at a local park on the way home, or make the short stroll to the mailbox, taking a minute to focus your mind and senses on your natural surroundings will help you to restore and recharge.
Here is a simple and quick ritual I try to practice every morning that you may be able to incorporate into your day as well! I go to the same place each day, out onto my back porch that looks out over our yard to the corn fields and forests beyond. It helps to visit the same place each time, to familiarize yourself with the goings on of the flora and fauna, creating a sense of place in your little nook of the world.
Take a few moments to tune into each of your senses:
Shoes off, put your toes into the earth (weather dependent!)
Close your eyes and reach out to feel the wind, reach down to touch the ground.
Breathe deeply through your nose to smell, in through your nose and mouth simultaneously to taste.
Cup your hands to your ears and listen, don’t worry about identifying all the sounds you hear.
Lastly, open your eyes and imagine it’s the first time you are seeing. Notice the colors and shapes around you. Give thanks for all that your senses allow you to experience!
Such practices, no matter the amount of time, allow us to be in harmony with nature and, in turn, with ourselves. If you have time to journal your experiences, you will heighten your awareness of everything around you and nurture your own connection to the beauty and wonder that nature provides.