Connecting with Nature by Marty Kraft

The Urban Wilderness is a great place to connect or reconnect with nature.  You can share this connection with your child on a regular basis. Here is a process that I enjoy doing with whole classes of second graders and their teachers. 

As you stand or walk through the Urban Wilderness or any other natural place, pretend that it is 500 years ago. There are no streets or buildings, no city. It's just you in nature.  In this bioregion 500 years ago there were grizzlies, wolves, and cougar. You can have dinner by finding and eating some plant or animal or you can be dinner through lack of awareness. Whether you are trying to eat or keep from being eaten, you aren't in the same state of mind that you are at the mall. All your senses are wide open. You "hear" with your eyes and skin and nose. You feel in a circle all around you with your whole body.  Your body is like a sponge absorbing the seen and the unseen. You notice the tiniest movement or unusual shapes or color differences. Your whole being harmonizes with all around you. You were designed for this.

Now let your attention shift from one thing to another, noticing the tiniest detail. From time to time come back to sensing the whole scene then let your focus hop again. As you see the full moon also hear the crickets and watch the trees shift in the breeze. Nothing is anything by itself.

While you engage everything around you, also be aware of your inner state as well. Every sight, sound, smell or even thought leaves tracks of sensation in your body. Notice these. These are part of the symphony too. Let each of these sensations be, none more or less important than any other. Enjoy.

If you don't feel comfortable with this exercise, remember how long it took to learn to read.

Become aware of what all of your senses are receiving. Turn around and notice every thing, above, below, near and far. Notice your bodily sensations as you see or hear, think about or feel the things around you. Enjoy yourself. As you stand, sit, move, or whatever, hold everything in your entire 360 degree scope in your awareness with nothing holding dominance or more importance to you than anything else. As you notice new things add them to your total awareness. Let your thoughts and worries from your daily life take their place in your total landscape; no more or less important than anything else. Enjoy yourself.  Now see yourself as part of the scene. Draw no distinctions or differences. Simply be a human in the flow of being. 

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