The following exercises can help you connect deeply with your environment and also encourage you to view nature from a different perspective. Slowly opening our eyes to reveal a view we have never seen before can be truly awe-inspiring. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of secular mindfulness identified nine attitudes that act as a foundation o build a mindfulness practice upon and one of those attitudes was 'beginner's mind'. This involves letting go of what we think we know and seeing everything with the curiosity and wonderment of a child. The 'orientate' exercises below can fully support you to see and connect with nature with a beginner's mind.
Lie Down. Find a comforable place to lie down ( tip - if you don't feel comfortable lying done on the earth or forest floor; you could take a yoga mat with you for this exercise). Close your ayes and connect with your breathing as you inhale and exhale; you perhaps can feel the air as it passes through your nose and into your lungs or you may focus of the rise and fall of your abdomen. Slowly open your eyes without judgment or expectation and with a 'beginners mind' to reveal a new perspective. What are your emotions? How do you feel in this moment? You may like to jot your findings done in a nature journal
Spin. Similar to the above exercise only this time you stay standing!
Before you start this exercise, ensure there is nothing that trip you or entangle you. Close your eyes and slowly spin. Once your body tells you that it is time to stop (you will sense it), slowly open your eyes without judgment or expectation and with a 'beginners mind' to reveal a new perspective. What are your emotions? How do you feel in this moment? You may like to jot your findings done in a nature journal
Walk with a beginners mind. Try exploring a new place. Leave your expectations at home and walk the trail revelling in all of the new sights, sounds, smells and emotions. Take a trail that looks as if it isn't frequently used; where will you go? What will you see?
Or take an hour or two to explore that trail you've been meaning to for a while. What are your emotions? How do you feel in this moment? You may like to jot your findings done in a nature journal.
Lights Out! Walk when the sun is going down or in the dark - (please ensure you are familiar with the trail, it is clear of obstacles and that you are safe before you try this). Walk a little way with your torch on and when you feel ready turn it off - what are your immediate thoughts? Can you orientate yourself? What are your thoughts about your place in the world right now? Turn your torch back on and compare your feelings, thoughts and emotions to what they were when the light was off. You may like to jot your observations down in a nature journal.