By Kirsten Dallimore, Environmental Educator
When I go out into nature I am looking to feel some sort of connection. I use my senses to explore the landscape, the flora and fauna and the water. I always need to go to the water because being near water brings me a sense of calmness like nothing else. I have a quiet mind and child-like play comes out when I am near water, which leads me to have a deeper nature connection moment in that place.
When I am in nature I am often searching for a place to spend time reflecting in, or I am looking to have a big wild nature moment. A big nature moment is when you finally reach the top of the mountain and look out and see a bald eagle flying above you. I’m always seeking out adventure and also a feeling of being alive and free. I know my big nature moments will lead me to have a great story to share when I get back home.
A core routine I like to practice is sharing my story of the day. Sharing your story with someone who is fully listening is a way you can experience a fulfilling and longer lasting deep nature connection moment.
There is a lot of talk out there about making a connection with nature. What is connection? What does it look like for you? How does it feel when you make a connection with nature? How are we able to connect more deeply with nature? And at the same time how can we connect with ourselves and others in a meaningful way?
One endeavour I’ve taken on this year is participating in a program called the Renewal of Creative Path. This is a program shared by Jon Young through the 8 Shields Institute. The 8 Shields Institute is a global movement in rebuilding nature-connected intergenerational mentoring communities.
I’ve felt very excited to find this place where I could dive deeper into these questions about building connection. I wanted to see what I could discover about what it takes to be fully alive and engaged. I want to share with all of you the eight attributes of connection.
Each attribute is associated with one of the eight directions:
- North-Love and forgiveness
- Northeast– Quiet mind
- East-Inner Happiness/Child-like happiness
- South-Mentoring & paying it forward/Unconditional listening
- Southwest– Empathy and respect for nature
- West-Being truly helpful, gifts are activated
- Northwest-Fully aliveness/Awareness of the sacredness of life
To get started on this journey I encourage you to go through each attribute and ask these five simple questions:
- What’s happening with me when I have this attribute?
- What is this attribute telling me?
- What is this attribute teaching me on a deeper level?
- How is this attribute helping me?
- How is this attribute helping me to help others?
The goal of having all of these attributes working within you is to become fully connected with nature, yourself and others in your community. Once you have gone through each question for the eight attributes, you can start to design your own ideal scene journal.
An ideal scene journal is something you can create at the beginning of each year that sets the stage for how you can be working towards being fully connected. This can be created by writing down how you envision yourself embodying these attributes. The more specific, the better.
Best wishes to everyone in finding your own path to connection with nature, yourself and your community.
I encourage you all to get connected with the 8 Shields Institute to learn more about deep nature connection, mentoring and cultural repair. You can learn more at: http://8shields.org/about/about-the-8-shields-model/
Feature image by Jess Alford