RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW: Luna, 4, demonstrates nature-connection in action.About nine months ago I received an email from Jane, a woman living on the Central Coast who was looking for ways to connect to nature, both herself, and for her two small children.Having worked in war zones around the world for many years with Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as remote indigenous communities in Cape York, Jane was understandably feeling a little wild-deprived in suburban Australia.Since then, Jane and I have had many rich conversations about how to live a nature-connected life, right where you are. It didn’t take long for Jane to find like-minded other mums in Copacabana who gathered weekly to allow their kids unstructured play time in nature. A couple of bush kindies and playgroups sprung up nearby, reflecting the general upswell of similar initiatives across Australia.
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As well as immersing her kids in the bush, Jane longed for a period of solitude in nature, to reconnect more deeply to both the wild within herself, as well as outside. With her husband’s support, Jane organised to spend 24 hours alone in the bush, with just water and a sleeping bag. I kept vigil from afar as she sat, and was happy to catch some stories on her return.

“I had a glimpseof actuallybeing part of a community of nature – of birds and trees and earth and air. Some of the separation fallsaway when we are quiet enough to just be and listen. I felt like there is so much to learn from all of nature if we are able to be still.”

Jane was inspired to start modelling to her kids the art of being still in nature, and found a spot on the bank of the creek in their backyard to sit in quietude as often as possible. Last week Jane rang me excited – her four-year-old daughter, Luna, had independently begun to take herself outside to sit. “Nature connection in action!” I said.

Jane has come to see what I have also received from my nature connection teachers, that spending time outdoors is only the start of cultivating a deep connection to nature. Pioneers in the field, drawing on anthropological study of indigenous cultures, science, and a long hard look at the effectiveness of environmental education, have found there are core practices that quickly create strong bonds of connection between humans and nature. Simple and repeatable practices such as tracking, bird language, sensory awareness and attuned mentorship are some of the most effective and ancient techniques that exist to enable profound connection with nature, with ourselves, and with each other.By understanding our relationships with animals, plants, the weather and wind, and various aspects of the natural environment, we re-pattern our brain and nervous system to activate what are known as ‘the attributes of connection’ – happiness, vitality, the ability to listen deeply, increase empathy, helpfulness, true aliveness and gratitude for life, compassion, forgiveness and the quiet mind.

Hosted by Jane, I am presenting these practices at a Deep Nature Connection workshop, April 7-9 in Somersby. See naturesapprentice南京夜生活南京桑拿 for more details.

Claire Dunn is the author of My Year Without Matches. [email protected]南京夜生活南京桑拿

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