Today we bring you a guest post from Liz, of A Natural Nester. Liz is a frequent contributor to the Rhythm of the Home magazine, and is beginning a new e-course through her blog. Read on for more information about the course and to enter a special giveaway just for Rhythm of the Home readers!
Nurturing a Sense of Place
When was the last time you stopped and noticed your natural environment? I mean really observed it closely… the smell of the cold air, the crunch of the earth beneath your feet, the song of that bird who visits the tree in your backyard every day. When was the last time you felt truly connected to the natural world around you? If you’re like most, the days often pass by with only a dim awareness of the landscape you inhabit.
What if you were to awaken your senses and really explore the world around you, engaging in it in a new way… forming a real connection? As you discovered your environments’ sounds, smells, and sights, you’d begin to develop a “sense of place” and your role in that place. You might feel more grounded, more peaceful, more spiritually supported. Your feelings of identity and belonging might shift or broaden.
Keeping a seasonal nature journal helps to nurture a healthy sense of place. Through regular observation and recording of the natural world right outside your door, you gain a familiarity with the land, its natural resources, its native plants and animals, and its natural beauty. You develop a deeper understanding, and form a more meaningful kinship with your own place in the world.
No matter where you are, no matter the season, there is nature all around you just waiting to be discovered. Are you ready to connect to your place? Pick up a blank book and a pen or pencil and step outside your door! Use your senses, as suggested in the exercise below, to begin enjoying the rewards of keeping a seasonal nature journal.
Coming to Your Senses – A Nature Journaling Exercise
Materials needed: blank book or blank paper, pen and/or pencil, colored pencils if desired.
- Go to place in nature close to home, a place you encounter regularly. It can be your backyard, a nearby park, the beach, the woods near your home…anywhere.
- Record the date, time, and place in your journal.
- Sit quietly and use all your senses to observe what’s going on around you. What do you see (trees, plants, sand, water)? What do you smell (a sea breeze, earthy odors, something blooming)? What do you hear (waves crashing, birds singing, wind howling)? What can you touch (fluffy snow, rough tree bark, smooth stones)? Is there anything you can taste?
- Record your sensory observations with words and/or simple drawings.
- Now consider how your observations make you feel about this place. What memories can you associate with those feelings? What feelings do you associate with the senses you experienced? Record how your senses and feelings connect you to this place.
- Consider how this particular place supports you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How does it contribute to your sense of place, or belonging? Record your thoughts with prose, poetry, drawings, a list… whatever feels natural to you.
- Repeat this exercise as often as you can, returning to the same place on different days, at different times, through different seasons. Observe how the place changes and how it stays the same. Record how this impacts your sense of place.
Elizabeth Sniegocki writes about creating a natural and mindful environment around you and within at A Natural Nester. She offers everyday inspiration and informative feature articles on seasonal living, community building, conscious parenting, organic gardening, wholesome cooking, and more from her nest in Sarasota, Florida.
Want more? Join Elizabeth of A Natural Nester for a 6-week online course that will guide you through the basics of keeping a seasonal nature journal. Learn to record your observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you with: themed lessons on nature journaling ~ creative & seasonal writing prompts ~ exercises to connect you to the natural world ~ a supportive online community ~ resources, tips, and more!
“A Sense of Place ~ Keeping a Seasonal Nature Journal”
E-Course begins January 21st!
* Work at your own pace
Get more details and register here.
Thanks to all those who entered! Congratulations to Pamela, Bridget and Jen. Liz will be in touch with details about the course. You can still register for the course (and Liz is accepting registrations on a “pay what you are able” basis!). To register, click the button below: