LEARNING / NATURE
The important thing is to find your way back to nature in a genuine way, there’s no point going on a 10 mile trek if you hate long walks or starting a vegetable garden if you have no desire to grow your own food. By all means try out new things, but don’t push yourself to do things you don’t enjoy (I’m giving the long walks a miss, I much prefer sitting around a campfire). Children know when we are faking enthusiasm as a way to try and encourage theirs, if you’re willing to spend time in nature with your children do so in a way that feels right for you.
MORE INSPIRATION WATCH talks that will give you a deeper understanding of where the wild things grow at ted.com/ playlists/398/reconnect_with_nature PLAY Find courses and nature explorations in Pembrokeshire at reconnectinnature.org.uk
Jean lives on the edge of Dartmoor with her husband and two daughters. When she is not writing she spends her time home educating her children and enjoying the Devon countryside
“The next time you walk out your door, feel your feet connecting with the earth”
> view, seeing things we’d normally miss.
We are also part of a natural learning home education group which meets weekly. Every week we start by sitting around a campfire, singing our opening song and then introducing ourselves and perhaps sharing how we’re feeling. Everyone is invited to talk including the youngest of children, and nothing is off limits so we are there for each other just as much for our children. We spend time on the land in various ways, whether its cooking a big soup or popcorn over the fire, building dens in the wood or simply letting the children play. Although we are all responsible for our own children, belonging to this community means we often care for other children as well, this doesn’t just mean that the closest adult picks up the fallen toddler for a hug, but it can also mean sitting with another child and talking about the fungi they’re so excited to have found or pointing out interesting things we’ve seen to the closest child. If you’re unsure of how to reconnect with nature, a great place to start is by finding a community like this who can help guide you.
5 WAYS TO RECONNECT
Megan Roop is a retreat leader (thequietadventures. com) who guides women in living a more present, free, and connected life. Here are her five ways to get reacquainted with the earth
BRING NATURE INDOORS Buy some houseplants, keep a jar of fresh flowers, put a crystal on your desk, place a jar full of seashells and sand in your living room, or start a pinecone collection.
WAKE UP WITH NATURE Upon waking, open your window and stand in front of it. Look outside and take in all the beauty of nature. Breathe in the colours, shapes, textures and sounds. Notice the colour of the sky, the shapes of the clouds and the sounds of the birds. Allow the natural world to ground you into the here and now.
MAKE CONTACT WITH THE EARTH Go outside, take off your shoes and socks and sink your bare feet into the grass. If there's snow or ice on the ground, then find a tree and place your palm on the trunk. You can even give it a big tree-hug if you’re feeling the love; just lean in and wrap your arms around it.
PLAY IN THE DIRT Tend to a veggie patch or an herb garden, play in the sand or make mud pies with little ones. Just as sinking your bare feet into the earth will ground you, so will digging into it with your hands.
KISS THE EARTH WITH YOUR FEET One of my favourite quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us to slow down and notice nature, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” The next time you walk out your front door, feel your feet connecting with the earth, step by step.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2019 www.thegreenparent.co.uk