Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Recently, while on the first trip away from my babies (ever), I spent some time calming my worried mind getting lost in the fractals of two gorgeous trees. Lying on my back tracing their beauty against the evening sky I was out of the pictured chaos in my mind in no time (in fact all went great), feeling my body supported by the ground and absorbed in the brilliant colours, contrast, and ever expanding "Y" shapes moving from trunk to branch, to twig and leaf. It was a website linked below, Healing Forest, which gave me this idea as well as the thought to compile the list of resources below.
Each of these books or links shares the central theme of remembering, developing, and supporting the reciprocal relationship between humans and nature. If you are looking for inspirational exploration of the power of spending time, or just "being" in nature including benefits for both the body and the mind, ideas for easily accessing calm and rejuvenation, or just learning about the rapidly growing body of scientific support of the benefits of connecting with nature, these are for you - enjoy!
A brilliant website including many free ideas for connecting with nature as close to home as your backyard. Each page is filled with content and realistic, tangible, and easy to implement activities for kids ages 2 through 99.
Our aim is simple. Helping people heal. Helping forests heal.
My top three favourite ideas (including examples and links to full activities), which are immediately accessible in any patch of nature:
1. Garden meditation
2. 9 Outdoor mindfulness activities for groups
An example of the "Peace Walk":
3. Wild Ideas
Here is the fractal exercise, which popped into my mind just when I needed it. Find ideas further ideas here.
Wild Fractals: Fractals are self-repeating patterns that occur very frequently in nature. Like the shape of a river delta or the branches of a tree. Unlike the complexity of human designs which have many sharp lines and angles, the fractals are very easy on the eyes. Seek out fractals in nature and when you find one, take time to trace it with your eyes. Start from one edge point and slowly follow it till the other end point. Interestingly, our nerve connections in the eye are also fractals.
Robin Wall Kimmerer takes us on a beautiful exploration of reciprocity between humans and the natural world weaving threads of her scientific training, Potawatomi Nation roots, and life experience. A must read for anyone looking for insight into natural world connection and reciprocity. One to come back to again and again.
The link to her website (click book title) is also well-worth exploring.
Peter Wohlleben uncovers the hidden life of trees, characterizing them as sentient beings and detailing their lifecycle. This fascinating exploration includes how they communicate, protect each other from disease, and strategically support each other in a family-based system.
What was once a forest becomes animated with individual, generational characters whose depth and complexity we are just beginning to understand. After spending time with Wohllenben exploring their world, there is no going back.
Explore more of Wohllenben's research and writing at his website.
A science-based overview of the effects of nature on our mental health. Sue Stuart-Smith writes from the unique perspective of a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst insightfully highlighting examples of the healing effects of gardening. As Stuart-Smith notes, "By tending your plants, you are also gardening your inner space and, over time, a garden is woven into your sense of identity, becoming a place to “buffer us when the going gets tough.”" Highlighting what gardeners already know - spending time in the garden is to nurture one's mind through an intimate and reciprocal connection with nature. Learn more here.
A personal exploration and explanation of the effects of nature on our minds and bodies. Florence Williams dives into evolving research highlighting the positive effects of even small amounts of time in nature. As Edward O.Wilson stated, this book is, “A beautifully written, thoroughly enjoyable exposition of a major principle of human life now supported by evidence in biology, psychology, and medicine."
Explore William's site for more.
Please comment on these or with more of your favourites!