Connect With Nature Wherever You Are

                                     Back to Joyality 601

This exercise is done in two parts. The first can be done at home or wherever you’re comfortable. The second part should be done somewhere in the outer world, in a place that you feel disconnected from nature. Remember to take your Joyality Journal with you!

Purpose & Preparation

To prepare for this process, you’ll need to do 3 things:

  1. Make sure you can access this page on your phone or other mobile device, and that you have enough data to stream audio. (If you can’t, then you’ll need to download the Connect Wherever 2 (Process and Reflection) onto your mobile device. Let us know if you need help with that.)
  2. Choose a physical place to do the Connect Wherever Process (guidance below)
  3. and, before you go to that location, we suggest you re-listen to the Elemental Being meditation.

Now think about and choose a physical place that is similar to the place you are likely to do your change making in. Choose a challenging place that is quite disconnected from nature, for example, somewhere that’s air-conditioned with no openable windows, or perhaps it has no windows at all. You could even practice this in a shopping centre. The best way to practice this activity is to choose a place where you feel uncomfortable and disconnected from the things you really care about.

Now that you have chosen your changemaking place, think about how you might travel there. Whatever your answer is make sure you travel that last few 100m on foot, before going inside a building, so that you can listen to this audio whilst you are walking to your change making venue.


“I act on the conviction that everyone is making a difference. Just by living our lives, consuming space and resources [and interacting with other people] we are making a difference. Our choice is what kind of difference we want to make.”

– Fran Peavey


Process & Reflection

 

Reflection:

Tune into your body, your emotions and state of mind, see if you feel any different than you normally do in a space like this, and write about this in your Joyality Journal.

How are you feeling? What is your state of mind?

Do you feel more connected to life and nature than you normally do in this space?

If so which parts of this exercise gave you the strongest feelings of life and nature and the force of evolution. Write this down, because these are the most powerful practises or thoughts and concepts for you to focus on when you are coming into an environment to do some change making in the world around you.

[Download MP3s: Connect Wherever 1 (Purpose & Preparation), 2 (Process & Reflection) , or you can use the text below to guide others. ]

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[Transcript Connect With Nature Wherever You Are]

Purpose: A lot of our change-making work doesn’t take place in the most beautiful spaces. It is often in the city, in air conditioned buildings, perhaps inside a corporate business environment, maybe a parliament house, council chambers, city hall, or in Congress. Even if we are doing our change making processes in natural spaces, there are often some very disturbing things happening in those places as well, such as destruction caused by logging or mining, toxic waste dumping or the break down of previously thriving ecosystems.

These places can feel quite soulless and quite disconnected from our values, the inspiration and beauty of nature and the kind of lifestyle and society we are trying to create.

The question is, how can we stay inspired, connected to and invigorated by those values, by those things we really care about, when we are in an uninspiring and disconnected space?

The process we are about to do is a series of tools and techniques to help you feel more connected with the larger processes of life, no matter where you are, so that you can draw upon that inspiration and power in your change making.

We invite you to practice this now, ahead of time, so that you can become very familiar with the process of feeling connected when you actually do your action or your change work.  This is also a good time to remind ourselves that change-making is not separate from our ordinary lives and ordinary places that we find ourselves working and living.


“I act on the conviction that everyone is making a difference. Just by living our lives, consuming space and resources [and interacting with other people] we are making a difference. Our choice is what kind of difference we want to make.”

– Fran Peavey


Preparation: To prepare for this process, you’ll need to do 3 things:

  1. Make sure you can access this page on your phone or other mobile device, and that you have enough data to stream audio. (If you can’t, then you’ll need to download the Connect Wherever 2 (Process and Reflection) onto your mobile device. Let us know if you need help with that.)
  2. Choose a physical place to do the Connect Wherever Process (guidance below)
  3. and, before you go to that location, we suggest you re-listen to the Elemental Being meditation.

Now think about and choose a physical place that is similar to the place you are likely to do your change making in. Choose a challenging place that is quite disconnected from nature, for example, somewhere that’s air-conditioned with no openable windows, or perhaps it has no windows at all. You could even practice this in a shopping centre. The best way to practice this activity is to choose a place where you feel uncomfortable and disconnected from the things you really care about.

Now that you have chosen your changemaking place, think about how you might travel there. Whatever your answer is make sure you travel that last few 100m on foot, before going inside a building, so that you can listen to this audio whilst you are walking to your change making venue.

*** Pause here whilst you go to the start of your walk, about 100metres from your inside location. ***

Process: You have arrived at the start of your walk. We invite you to look around you, get yourself oriented to where you are. Spend half a minute or so doing that. Like the very first Joyality walking meditation you did, remember the idea of a silent disco, focus on your own experience and enjoyment in this process even though you’ll be surrounded by other people going about their daily business.

Make sure you are standing still, and in a safe place. Now look up … this is something we often don’t do when we are walking through town or in the city. Look up into the sky and notice what you see there, what the weather is like, whether the sun is shining or whether it is cloudy, what sort of clouds there are… are they moving fast across the sky? Or are they just still? Just tuning into the weather… See if you can tune into the vastness of space that is up behind that sky, up towards the sun and out further into the solar system. Connecting into your big context.

Now looking down around you more normally, start to walk. As you walk towards the venue, just become really aware of your feet walking on the pavement or the road and start to draw your attention further down as you walk, underneath the concrete, underneath the bitumen, down, being aware of the soil beneath you and the rocks, the different geological layers down below your feet. As you are walking see if you can become aware of the lay of the land. So what shape does this landscape, the natural landscape, under the roads and pathways, what shape does that take … going up a hill, down a hill, round corners, feeling the shape of the land beneath you. That may even take you back in time a little, imagining what this landscape was like before all the buildings and the streets were made…. I wonder where the natural lines of the creek were, what the trees and natural vegetation were like.

As you continue walking, draw your attention to any vegetation that is around you. Are you walking past any parks, or are there any street trees, are there small bits of grass growing through the cracks in the concrete? And hardy weeds? Allow your attention to be drawn to the nature that is around you in that human made landscape. Allow yourself to marvel at the wonder and the strength of that nature that is around.

*** Pause here whilst you absorb and notice the environment around you … continue when you are nearing your destination. ***

As you are nearing your change-making place: Keep walking or, if you’ve already arrived, find a seat somewhere either outside or inside. Draw your attention a little more into yourself, but make sure you also have enough attention on what’s around you so you keep yourself physically safe. Focus on the nature that you are, the nature that is inside you, that is connecting with you all the time. Practising a mini version of the Elemental Being meditation, become aware of your breath and the connection between you and the atmosphere. Every in-breath, really feel grateful for the life force that is entering you.

Then drawing your attention to the water that is in your body. The beautiful soft fluids that are moving around, take a drink of water if you have some with you and appreciate the blood that is taking all the nutrients and energy around your system.

Now drawing attention to the solidity, the earth element within your body, your bones, your strong framework that allows you to stand tall, stand in your power and feel the element of earth within you, strong and secure.

Finally focusing on the element of fire as you are walking, feel the heat energy of the exercise as you walk, be aware of the energy of the sun that has come through the food that you have eaten, into your body, the fire in your belly, the passion that you feel for life.

Now ending this meditation on your elemental being, focusing on all of those elements coming together and recognising the force within you of life affirming life. Seeing if you can focus on the power of positive evolution that’s flowing through your being right now. That can support you on any of the positive changes that you wish to make and inspire within others.

*** Pause here while you find your destination and actually enter the space or the room where you are going to practice the rest of this nature connection process. ***

At the change making venue: Now that you’re inside inside your change-making venue, your disconnected place, find somewhere that is quite comfortable to sit and just be for a while. Find yourself a seat where people are unlikely to disturb you, or get yourself set up in such a way that looks like you’re busy so no-one will interrupt you.

*** Pause here while you settle into your spot. ***

Now that you’re comfortable, we invite you to focus in on the nature within yourself. Centre yourself by taking a few deep breaths, focusing on the air, your breathing that is within you. The water, the earth and the fire. Just settling yourself into the natural being that you are. Appreciating that. Focusing on and appreciating the beauty that you are. Finding that place inside your heart, inside your body where you are really connected to that joy, that beauty, that peace.

We invite you to close your eyes and see if in this place, which might be busy and noisy, see if you can focus and come into a calm place within yourself, with your elemental being.

*** Pause here whilst your give your self as much time as you need to connect with that calm peaceful space within yourself, take as long as you need there is no rush, this might take a couple of seconds or even several minutes. Practise tuning in, just have a go, before opening your eyes and continuing. ***

Human connection. Now that you’ve opened your eyes again, have a look around the room or the space that you’re in. Become aware of all the different things that are in there, tables and chairs, or decorations, curtains, light fittings, whatever is in that space. Start to become aware of all the hands of the people that have used these things, how many people have touched and used all these objects around you? Who have they been?

Then cast your mind back to the history of these objects, think about how many hands have been involved in making these things, in the manufacturing process, in the transportation process, how many other people have been involved in actually making this whole space, all the things in it, the building itself. Think of all of those people and how, being in this space right now, you are connected to all of those people.

If there are other people in the room, in the space with you, allow you attention to be drawn to them, really opening up, with curiosity, thinking who are the other people sharing this space with me. See if you can practice seeing the beauty within them. Practising something that is other than your ordinary sense of consciousness in this space … and really sit and allow the beauty of these people to become apparent to you.

*** Pause here whilst you give yourself time to do this. ***

Natural Origins. The last part of this process is to focus again on the objects within the room, within the space, and allow them to connect you into their source, into the source of everything on Earth.

Have a look at some of the objects around you, just take one to start with and take yourself back through what you know of how this object has been created, how it’s been manufactured and what the source materials of those objects are, there might be a few of them. Do this the best you can, using your imagination if you don’t know for sure.

Follow each of those components of the object back to its original source, so if its steel then think of the iron ore that it was manufactured from and the fire, the energy that was used and where that came from. So the original source of the fire would have eventually been from the sun and the source of the iron ore was from the mineral in the ground.

Allow each of these objects to take you back to the raw source, the natural original place in nature that these things come from. By doing that see if you can feel connected to nature as you sit here in this place. Recognising there is no separation. We, and our human made environments, are all made of stardust.

*** Pause here while you follow as many objects back to their source. ***

Reflection: Now that you have finished that process, I invite you to stand up and walk around in that space, do something a bit more normal and ordinary in that place, whether that is buying something to eat or drink, or just having a light conversation with someone, or going to wash your hands, whatever it is that comes naturally to you.

*** Pause here whilst you do that. ***

Tune into your body, your emotions and state of mind, see if you feel any different than you normally do in a space like this, and write about this in your Joyality Journal.

How are you feeling? What is your state of mind?

Do you feel more connected to life and nature than you normally do in this space?

If so which parts of this exercise gave you the strongest feelings of life and nature and the force of evolution. Write this down, because these are the most powerful practises or thoughts and concepts for you to focus on when you are coming into an environment to do some change making in the world around you.

Source: Dr Eshana Bragg, inspired by workshop processes first experienced with John Seed (Thinking Like a Mountain, 1988); David Abrams (The Spell of the Sensuous, 1996) and Wes Nisker (Buddha’s Nature, 1998).

 

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