Guest Post By Kinde Nebeker, MATP
Why does spending time in nature makes us feel so good? Could we bottle that good feeling and have it available when we need it?
The answer is yes, with a bit of practice!
If we are willing to dive a bit deeper, is it possible to find out how we can use spending time in nature as a practical and highly nourishing tool for becoming healthier, happier and wiser people. I have discovered there is great power in using how we pay attention, how we use intention, and how we listen to and share our stories in a natural setting that accesses something amazing. It is a deep connection to self, others and the world that feels both magical and very concrete. And the insight, clarity, and sense of well-being that comes to us while being outside in this particular way is very applicable to our everyday lives. It is something that our indigenous ancestors knew, but that we have lost in our fast-paced, modern world . . . and perhaps need now more than ever to remember!
The Lifelong Learning class, Nature & Wellbeing: Experiential Ecopsychology is an opportunity for you to experience this deep connection.
Ann, a participant in the spring semester class reports,
I know that I feel better when I’m outside in nature, but why? It’s not only the warmth of the sun, or the sounds and smells surrounding me. It’s deeper and very individual. I discovered how to access my own personal relationship with nature, and how to apply that insight into my daily life. I was surprised by what I learned about myself during this class when, instead of talking to nature, I let nature speak to me.
This class is also an opportunity to see new things about yourself and your potential, as Danny notes:
In taking this course I found some new perspective and changes I want to make in my life. It is kind of overwhelming and gives me anxiety to make changes as big as these. I learned that these changes will allow me to attain the potential I’ve not allowed myself up to now.
And this is the story of a third participant, Renate:
I have spend many hours hiking or just walking with friends in the outdoors, but this class was a new experience for me. At our first class session at the University of Utah, we learned about Ecopsychology. Three days later, we all gathered at a beautiful treed meadow with a flowing river. We were asked to find our own path and go alone for about one and a half hours into nature.
This was indeed a new experience! I have gone on many hikes with friends talking, laughing but never alone.
I crossed the river on a small narrow bridge and found myself alone in a dense forest. I was a bit frightened, but I like to sing to cheer myself, and it worked. I kept going.
I came quickly to the end of the short path and the path diverged, one to the right, one to the left. I took the one to the right after marking the path on which I had arrived with a stick. It was a narrow little path and very quiet. I kept singing and felt more confident! The path turned to the left toward the mountains and I had to stop. It was covered with branches, dead large trees and shrubs. It looked confused, dead, and chaotic. I stopped singing. There was no sound, just total stillness. I stood there for a while observing, thinking, listening. All of a sudden I heard birds — beautiful geese crossing the sky. It made me happy.
I turned around and walked back. As in life, you come to a closed door and you are forced to find another path which might lead you to more knowledge and happiness.
I came to my stick marker on the path, but it was too soon to return to “base camp.” I had much time left. So I decided to walk the opposite direction, to the left of the marker, and soon came to a beautiful meadow, next to the river. I was so glad I had to turn back, take the other path, and consequently discover this beautiful stream. The little path diverged from the river and continued over the meadow with an increasing number of beautiful trees. I walked for a long time and then sat observing nature and felt that I was really part of nature.
I have had an early spring, a summer, an autumn of my life, and a winter to come. I am in my 80th year and thought about my parting from this life sooner or maybe a little later. I thought about how I love my life, my family and friends, but how in a way, one is really alone. I loved being alone! I was alone with the grass on the ground, the trees reaching to the sky, and the sound of the river. It was peaceful and quiet. I sat there until I had to return to the group, listening to nature and feeling part of nature. A NEW EXPERIENCE!”
Come join us on June 8th and 11th for a great class that will enhance your life in enduring ways.
And in the meantime . . . go outside!!