A sense of shared destiny and belonging between humans and the rest of the natural world is referred to as a connection to nature. We may live in physically remote or close proximity to one another, but a sense of connectedness brings nature close to the heart, making it intimate.
There are a spectrum of emotions in any relationship: mutual respect, understanding, love, wonder, empathy, belonging, intrigue, need, happiness, joy, and on the other hand, discomfort, sorrow, sadness, guilt, longing, and expectation; these, in balance, are also components of wellbeing.
Our sense of belonging begins when we are born into the natural world as a part of it. Making an effort to maintain the spark of connection in any relationship depends on our ability and willingness to recognize our shared destiny and do what is required to keep the spark of connection alive.
Psychologist James Hillman put it succinctly when he stated:
“...stop picturing the planet as a kind mother who is passive, nurturing, and supporting, and instead see it as a complex entity that needs thought and imagination.”
Mindfulness & Reflection
Mindfulness refers to the state of being fully immersed in an experience with your body, mind, and spirit. Mindfulness, contrary to its name, is frequently not about the mind at all, but rather about being!
Reflection, on the other hand, is when the mind enters and recognizes the feelings and actions you've had; it's a phase in the meaning-making process. Observing how you feel/felt about your experiences in nature might serve as a starting point for reflection.
For example, how the sun's warmth makes you feel sleepy and content; When you go on a walk in the park, you come up with fresh ideas; when your dog is harmed, you cry. your awe at the changing colors of the leaves in the autumn; how small you feel when you gaze out at a wide panorama or a spectacular sunset.
What methods do you use to reflect? Specifically, how do you become conscious of these sensations and behaviors?
Conversation, art and music creation, pondering, storytelling, writing poems, maintaining a journal....anything that helps ‘bring to mind' the event.
This reflection helps you become more aware of the natural world around you and the relationship you have with it. Depending on your experience, it may be a love-hate relationship, or a respect relationship, but hopefully what is realized is that we do have an effect on each other, both physically and emotionally, and our fates are connected.
So, if you want to strengthen your connection to nature or make it easier for others, here's what I recommend:
Experiment with nature frequently and create opportunity for others to do so as well.
By talking, writing, thinking, or creating about the feelings and activities associated with the event, you can aid the process of reflection and self - directed learning.
Do it once more! Participate in or provide activities that will broaden your and others' perspectives.
These actions produce feelings, which foster connections to the natural world, which create values, that lead to compassionate actions toward nature, and finally to happy coexistence, which we call sustainability!