We all know that nature helps us feel better. You wouldn't be here if you didn't.
The question is not the knowing, it's the practice of connecting every single day. That's what Susanne Heaton's Wild About Nature Challenge does, it connects. She runs a course for 30 days that invites, engages and delights you to make a more conscious practice of connecting to nature each and every day.
I'm nearing the end of the August challenge and have decided to do the one for September. Would you like to join me? I went into the course as a believer. We belong outdoors is an organising principal in my life. But several things have happened that I did not expect.
Here's What I Expected
- Get outdoors for 30 minutes a day
- Take pictures according to that day's challenge
- Make an entry on the website sharing my challenge
Here's What Surprised Me
Accountability is incredibly motivating. I really did settle into a daily practice, not just spending some time outdoors, but of making sure that each and every day I was looking and listening with fresh eyes and heart.
Making space for wonder, gratitude and miracles is all that's required for them to show up.
Susanne Heaton is a superb guide. She's funny, wise, and devoted to her message and shows up to the experience. Her comments make me smile. She makes it work, completely.
Sharing my experience with others doing the same was so satisfying. I didn't realise how much my nature connection is unshared with the people around me. I was in a group that was ready to celebrate and understand everything.
A community formed. The group was just as important as the platform. It took about a week to learn names and locations. There's so much interaction that by this part of the month, I'm in the platform more than once a day because I know when each person tends to post. I know who is missing if they haven't posted yet.
The community helps me see things with from their eyes and hearts, from their country, season, time in life, and it is expanding my own practice and compassion.
How do you make the time?
None of us has extra time just waiting to be assigned. I acknowledge that life is full and maybe even quite stressful. We are in lockdown in New Zealand, kids are home, work is strange, and keeping our rhythm and wellness is tricky.
I've decided to participate in the September Challenge because it's just the environment and rhythm I need to pace myself through these ridiculous times.
If you join, you'll get the best of me participating as well. Every day. We'll do it together, wild friend.
Urban Environments can do this too
I was in Auckland the week before lockdown, and in the middle of doing this Challenge. I was pleasantly surprised at how much more I saw and appreciated nature woven through the city. Below is a mosaic of some of the photos I posted.
I am learning
I am learning that nature connection is more mindful than just getting outdoors everyday. It's paying attention EVERY DAY. By turning on curiosity, I am turning off worry. This practice is just what I need in these times.
I'm starting to use words like "mental health" and apply them to myself. Wild about Nature has been a gift for mental health.