Connecting with nature in an urban environment
Yay, springtime is nearly here! I thought this would be a perfect moment to share some tips for us urban city dwellers on how we can connect with nature in our day-to-day lives. We all need this, whether we are conscious of it or not.
“The natural world where we evolved … at the deepest psychological level …
remains our home…We are bound to it in our souls. It is a fundamental
part of ourselves which we cannot afford to lose.”
(The Moth Snowstorm: Nature & Joy, by Michael McCarthy)
I have felt the depths of this connection to nature for as long as I can remember but living, as I do at the moment, in a large city, it is just sometimes hard to get enough access. That´s why I was especially happy to come across a wonderful blog posting recently describing a few easy, helpful ways for us to fulfil at least some of this innate, fundamental need for nature. I hope you gain something from it!
12 Simple Practices to Connect with Nature in a Concrete Jungle by Nicola Moss
(Personal & Life Coach, www.nicolamoss.co)
Breathe. It sounds so simple. We do it all the time to stay alive. But only rarely do we breathe consciously. Air represents freedom. Open a window, let in fresh air, close your eyes, take 10 long deep breaths and let fresh air fill your lungs. Remember you are a living creature.
Go outside for lunch or on your 15 minute break. Move away from your screen, soak up the natural light and fresh air, whether rain or shine. Even if you can only walk around the block once. If possible go out and sit on the grass, lean against a tree, and enjoy your lunch feeling the grass under your feet.
Observe transformation. May it be a tree, a squirrel, a flower or a birds nest you see every day — watch how it transforms according to weather and season.
Take off your shoes. If you do not have a garden or a park close by, be crazy and stand on the little patch of soil in between the pavement and the road. Connect with mother earth under your feet. Feel grounded.
Look up at the sky. Watch the clouds, look at their shapes, follow them into infinity. Remember that wildness is the undercurrent of the world. Watch the sun rise as a new day begins and then set as the day comes to an end.
Feel the breeze in your hair, the wind in your face. Remind yourself of how the wind carries sound & messages, and spreads seeds for new beginnings. Feel the rain. Stand outside in the rain and feel it on your skin. Imagine how it nourishes the earth and is key for anything to grow and survive, including yourself. It washes away your worries and cleanses to make space for new beginnings, however large or small.
Pick up a leaf, look at a flower. Take a good look at its unique pattern, feel the calm that arises with that and how more observant you become.
Soak up the sun. Even if you cannot get outside, go and stand by the window, close your eyes for a few minutes and feel the warmth on your face. As we know from photosynthesis, the sun, solar energy, is essential for growth.
Connect with someone different. That’s right — connect with human nature. That colleague you have never spoken to, the guy who lives down the road, smile & say hello while holding the door for someone at the supermarket. When we reach out beyond our assumptions and perceived differences, we create a world that isn’t quite as separate as we may have thought. Sounds wild, doesn’t it?
Get a feel for North, South, East and West. Feel grounded. Know your place. Where are you facing right now? Look at any tree close by and check which side of it is mossy and green. If you are in the Northern hemisphere, this will be North. If you are in the Southern hemisphere is will be South. Otherwise you can check the sun — rising in the East, setting in the West.
Listen to the birds sing. Focus. Listen. They are there. Even in the city. They sing their little hearts out, proclaiming their presence, not worrying about what the other birds are thinking about their song or words.
Howl. Haha, yes, you read that right. Howl. Let your voice out. We so often can feel caged in our lives we have built for ourselves. If you are up for a challenge, get up right now and go outside right now and howl. You don’t have to do it in front of anyone else. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, try howling in your car on the commute home, or in the park. Let go of what is bottled up inside. Know that your voice matters.
I will leave you with another quote from Michael McCarthy´s `The Moth Snowstorm`:
“The natural world is not separate from us, it is part of us.
The union can be found, the union of ourselves and nature,
in the joy which nature can spark and fire in us.”
Wishing you all a beautiful, nature-abundant 2019!