Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day: Ways To Help You Connect With Nature

Wise Wednesday KNOWSY Readers, and a Happy #EarthDay to you all! Today is the 45th Anniversary of the creation of Earth Day here in the United States, as per #Wikipedia
"In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by U.S.Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations."
Now that you know a little about the history of this day, the question remains: How do you celebrate Earth Day? Are you doing anything special or different today? Even more important: Do you care? Just a few questions to ponder as you go about your normal schedule.
For today I came across an article in #MariaShriver's Blog and is written by Patrice Vecchione.


14 Exercises That Will Connect You With Nature on Earth Day

Patrice Vecchione Nature Earth Day
The natural world has inspired artists, seekers and thinkers for millennia, but in recent times, the pace of life has sped up and its demands have moved us indoors. Yet nature’s capacity to lead us to important truths, to invigorate and restore our imagination and equilibrium, is infinite and within reach.
Taking a walk, who knows where you might end up?
You might fall in love with the call of one particular bird; I’ve certainly gone far afield doing so. Or the desert may whisper long-hidden secrets, show its subtle colors and rattle-bearing snakes. Does the rhythm of the waves mirror the determination of your footsteps? The wide-open plains, do they set your feet to walking? Alone in a gully, what’s that darting behind the rocks?
It can be as simple as a startling slice of blue sky that you catch outside your kitchen window that draws you outside and into the imaginative beyond. Patrice Vecchione Step Into Nature
In my new book, “Step Into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life” (Beyond Words, Atria Books 2015), I offer friendly suggestions, activities and resources that can be used by individuals, families or groups to reconnect with nature to engage the restorative power of the outdoors.
For Earth Day and National Poetry Month, challenge yourself to get away from phones, tablets and laptops and join me on a journey of discovery to invigorate the imagination, replace lack of energy and concentration and express ourselves fully in new creative ways.
Nature’s not far away, really. You don’t need to hightail it to Alaska’s Kenai Fjords or the Mojave Desert to set your feet upon concrete-free earth. A taste of nature may be no farther than right outside your door or at the neighborhood park. Even on a day when a short walk in the open air is impossible, you can open the window and lean your head out, inhale the breeze and take in the sky, the absolute expanse of it.
Here are a few exercises from my book to nurture your relationship with nature, and yourself.
1. Research natural areas near you. These are places that may be hidden in plain sight. Look for locales where you can get your feet on some earth and be close to trees, rocks and bushes.
2. Consider the parts and places of nature you feel connected to. Is it the deep darkness of many-roomed caves or the lushness of a rainforest? Perhaps butterflies’ ability to flit resembles your own? You might jot down a list of those aspects of nature that feel like “family.”
3. Take a hike. You may walk farther than you thought you could, stay out longer than you thought you would. Your gait will influence your thinking and vice versa. As your behavior changes, the way in which you see yourself may change too.
4. Imagine “translating” a conversation between two parts of nature—between a tree and its leaves, the mountain lion and her cub, the rain and the soil. Or a conversation between you and the natural world.
5. On a blue-sky day, take a short trip to childhood and lie back on a soft spot of ground. Look up at the clouds. Who’s traveling there? What appears out of the billowing white?
6. Which of nature’s life cycles have you observed? What about your own—those connected to your creative life? Consider how you’ve changed through the lens of nature’s metamorphoses.
7. Personalize a store-bough notebook with quotes, images and doodles, or make a book of your own. I find the portability of pocket-sized notebooks the best. Start bringing your notebook, plus a pen or two (or perhaps even a set of colored pencils) as you explore.
8. If you’ve got something troubling you, take your thought into nature and hold it close. Let it roll around in your heart and mind, as though it were a pebble on your tongue. What does your trouble have to say in this new setting? What do you want to say to it? Jot down the experience in your carry-along notebook.
9. Take your fear out for a walk. Talk to it. Ask it questions. Have a conversation. What happens when you do?
10. Challenge yourself to gather 1 or 2 inspirational items—physical or otherwise—from your surrounding each day. A pretty stone on the beach, the distinctive call of a bird, a leaf found on your favorite trail; whatever speaks to you.
11. What if we wrote a story with the trees? Or painted a picture using berries for paint? Might we translate the wind into words, dance or song? Explore the different ways in which you might directly engage with nature to create art.
12. Take a little idea—the color lemon yellow, a spiraling seashell—and dangle it in front of yourself. Bait your imagination and then hold on. What emerges?
13. Where solitude is concerned, you might start out with fifteen minutes. Soon you’ll want thirty of them, once a day or a few times a week. Go to the beach or the corner park and leave your phone behind—there’ll be less distraction and more inspiration at every turn.
14. Observe the animals in your life and their solitary and communal habits? What might their behavior say about the nature of solitude?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

author image
Patrice Vecchione is an accomplished speaker and teacher that readily engages all audiences of any age. She is the author of Writing and the Spiritual Life and the newly-released Step Into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life, as well as two books of poetry, and the editor of many highly acclaimed anthologies for children, young adults and adults. Vecchione has taught creative writing and collage workshops at universities, libraries, in community and spiritual centers, including Esalen Institute and privately for over thirty years. She also teaches workshops outdoors through parks departments and recreation centers. She lives in Monterey, CA. For more visit her websitepatricevecchione.com.
Alright my KNOWSY Readers take a moment from your hectic schedule and try to connect with this planet we call Earth. It doesn't have to be a showy display for all to see, rather it can be something small but very personal just for yourself. For it is all these small gestures combined that will help us Save this Planet we live on and hopefully keep it for several generations to come! 

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