As you’ve probably noticed, our minds, bodies and souls flourish when we connect with nature. But sometimes it’s not as easy to get out on a long, nourishing hike as we would like it to be. Here are 5 unique ideas that I use to connect with nature in my daily life. At the end of this post, I’ve added a grounding exercise that makes it super easy to connect to nature holistically and quickly.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:
5 Unique Ways to Connect with Nature:
1. ZOOM IN ON A LEAF:
Picking up a leaf from the ground, or standing close to a plant or tree, and looking at the details of it can really help us connect with nature. This idea comes from a technique I learned in graphic design school: to zoom in and zoom out. When we change our perspective, we open ourselves to a broader view of what’s possible. Zooming into a leaf takes my focus off of what’s happening elsewhere in the world and sparks wonder in my mind of how that one little leaf is on this planet just like I am.
2. WATCH INSECTS GO ABOUT THEIR DAY:
This idea comes from my animal reiki classes with Kathleen Prasad (affiliate). We had a homework assignment one week to meditate with insects. I chose crickets, and I was surprised how interesting it was to listen to their sounds, watch them hop around, and wonder about where they had been and where they were going. This is another “zoom in” technique, where I stop thinking about the rest of the world and just think about that little bug’s life.
3. PICK UP A ROCK:
I got this idea from Nicholas in episode 15. He talked about finding healing rocks wherever our life’s path takes us, literally. He recommended looking down wherever we walk to see what we find. I’ve practiced looking down and seeing what rocks are in my path. And then picking them up and looking at the details in them. This is going to sound really wacky… but I hold them up near my face and feel the tickle of energy between the rock and my face. It sounds crazy, but you can feel it – I suppose because our faces are so sensitive to touch. Anyway, this is a fun and easy way to literally connect with nature as a part of the earth.
4. GO BAREFOOT:
Do you do this often? It’s an obvious, simple way to connect to the earth, but I’m not sure how often we do it. I am almost always barefoot inside my house, but rarely outside of my house. If you have grass, sand, or even dirt/mud nearby, you can easily go outside for 10 minutes and connect with nature in your bare feet! If your feet aren’t an option for getting out into nature, try your hands in a pot of soil or sand. Or plant flowers or veggies in a garden! Brooke, from episode 1, swears by the impact that growing our own food in the soil has on our wellbeing.
5. IDEAS FOR WINTER:
And then there’s Winter. My friend Ame got me into brainstorming ideas to connect with nature in the Winter, when it’s too cold to hangout outside. We’ve been coming up with ideas in our private community, and here’s what we have so far:
- spend time with indoor plants
- grow an indoor herb garden
- place a bird feeder outside the window
- go snowboarding/skiing
Quick grounding technique:
If you have just a few minutes to soak up nature around you, here’s a quick shortcut to immerse your whole body in what nature has to offer. If you don’t feel strong in any of your five senses, just reduce it to a 4 step process, or a 3 or 2 step process. Make it work for you.
- List 5 things that you can SEE right now.
- List 4 things that you can TOUCH right now.
- List 3 things that you can HEAR right now.
- List 2 things that you can SMELL right now.
- List 1 thing that you can TASTE right now.
This episode was transcribed with ai technology from otter.ai. Please excuse any typos or incorrect language.
Brandy Montague 0:00
Welcome to episode number 35 of the For Animals For Earth podcast, five unique ways to connect with nature, from our own homes.
Brandy Montague 0:12
Hi there this is Brandy and you’re listening to the For Animals For Earth podcast. This is a space where we inspire each other, to take small steps every day to live a more conscious life helping the animals in the planet, while we do it. I’m so glad that you’re here, let’s all take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Brandy Montague 0:37
So this week’s theme is being pulled from something going on in my life right now which is an extremely strong urge to get back out into nature. I am not sure exactly where it is coming from but I am feeling such a strong need to take myself and put myself into a deep, dense woods where there is no sign of civilization, anywhere near me! I know that when I do that, I always feel so much better. I feel more grounded, you know, mental state is clear, my emotions are more balanced. Physically, my body just feels better, and I would imagine if you’re listening to this show that you’re someone who also has already discovered that you have a deep connection to nature.
Brandy Montague 1:31
So what I thought I would share today is just five kind of unique / easy ways to connect to nature just in our own I guess ecosystems or places where we live, when we don’t have those moments that we can necessarily get out on a hike, and get out into a place with no civilization. So hopefully these are fun for you. I would love to hear from you some of the things that work for you.
Brandy Montague 2:06
Before I jump into the five simple ideas I did want to share a grounding technique that I learned, and I, I know this is pretty common, so you may have heard of this, but I thought I would quickly share it anyway. It’s called the 54321 grounding technique and it’s a way of tapping into your senses to ground into the present moment and alleviate anxiety. If you don’t feel comfortable with all five senses you know just make it work for you. You can make it a 4321, a 321, a 21, you know whatever actually works in your life works for this technique.
Brandy Montague 2:48
So what you do is identify five things that you see. Then four things that you can touch. Three things that you hear. Two things that you smell. And one thing that you taste. And all five of those are buckets that you can take in right there in that moment and I think it’s just such a great way to get grounded out in nature, and notice some of the things around us that we may not otherwise notice such as you know, a bird singing in the distance, or the sound of the leaves, you know, kind of crumbling under our feet. Those are sounds that often we don’t even take in, even if we are out hiking and immersing ourselves in nature. At least me, you know, very often I’m out there, and I have earbuds in and I’m listening to a motivational speaker, and I’m thinking about all of the problems that I need to solve that day and I do tend to get clarity when I’m out in nature but I also sometimes miss out on truly taking in everything around me that I know would help me even more to feel grounded and serene. So that is just a fun technique that I wanted to share with you before sharing these five ideas. So these five ideas are super, super simple guys, so this is fast, so get ready. So here we go.
Brandy Montague 4:24
Number one is to look at leaves up close. So, you know a question for you. When was the last time that you were out walking, and you took time to walk up close to a tree, and, you know, pull a leaf or a branch close to you and just really look at it? Like at the veins inside the leaf, at the colors of it, the textures into just really yeah just really take in what that leaf is. It taps into another technique that I really love which is zooming in, zooming out. So when my mind is really overwhelmed, it’s really helpful for me to zoom way in on something and just really really focus and look into the details of that, and then to zoom way out
Brandy Montague 5:15
So you know, if I’m on a mountain or something being able to see a view for a really long distance you know those two contrast to each other, really, really helped me to just, I guess just see different viewpoints and expand my vision of what’s possible. So, anyway, that was a side note to, number one, which was to look at a leaf, up close.
Brandy Montague 5:43
Number two is along the same lines, but it’s to look at an insect or multiple insects up close. So this is one that I have learned from my animal Reiki teacher who is Kathleen Prasad. And she, in my first animal Reiki class with her one of our projects was to pick an insect to meditate with. I remember reading it and thinking okay I happen to be on a trip with friends and I was like, Oh my gosh, this is gonna be funny because they’re all going to be cracking up right now because I went outside to meditate with the crickets. There was one point, you know, obviously there was my eyes closed, but I happen to open them and they all were stranded there at the screen door looking out at me laughing and going, What is she doing.
Brandy Montague 6:35
But I’m not even kidding you, you guys, I felt I could feel this like heat, almost from crickets and more and more crickets came around me. I don’t know that I would have even noticed them, had I not been doing that meditation. And then the craziest thing happened because, you know 10 minutes later I went back inside the Airbnb that we were staying at and one of my friends screamed that she saw a cricket. And there was a cricket in the bathroom. I was like, Okay, don’t kill it, you know, let it go and it disappeared quickly and we never saw it again. Just listening to those crickets, watching them kind of come around me really changed by perspective on insects.
Brandy Montague 7:25
So, you know, a lot of times we do this with butterflies or you know really pretty insects but you can also do it by just watching a line of ants march and just being an innocent bystander and just kind of watching where they go and what they do. And doing that for about 10 minutes really, it really can just freshen up our minds and open up space in there to relax, so that’s idea number two.
Brandy Montague 7:54
Idea number three is rocks. So I actually got this thought from Nicholas Pearson who came on episode 15 of the podcast, he was the one if you remember who was an expert in crystal healing, and he talked about how we can connect to nature and experience the benefits of rocks and gemstones anywhere around us. So even if you’re, you know, walking through your driveway or down your street or on a, an unpaved path in your neighborhood. If you find a rock. Often that rock is going to have various I guess geometric properties that can help us relax.
Brandy Montague 8:43
So something that I love to do and I would really love to hear if this is something you all can feel as well or if I’m just super whacked, but I love to hold rocks up near my face and feel the energy not against my face but just hear it, and feel like the tickling energy, that that is between a rock and my face. So it’s like you know you kind of move it around and you can just feel the kind of very subtle energy between, you know, a part of the earth, and my human body and I just think that is also such an amazing way to be grounded and, yeah, present, and the earth.
Brandy Montague 9:31
So number four is to get barefoot. Not everyone has the luxury of having, you know a place to run around barefoot that is safe but if you do, if you can get your feet into grass or even dirt or mud. It makes such a big difference in grounding us and you know I mentioned at the top of this episode I really feel like I need to get out. I don’t have grass, easily accessible to me here in LA, obviously there’s grass in parks in LA but to my house here, and I really am just feeling the urge to have my feet in some nice grass. You know, obviously it connects us deep down into the earth to walk barefoot on the earth.
Brandy Montague 10:24
If you don’t have a place to be barefoot then maybe digging your hands through soil, whether it’s soil outside or a pot of soil, sand, and even if you get a chance to plant some flowers or plants and vegetables. I know that that can be extremely therapeutic. Brooke who came on the very first episode of the podcast talks a lot about how just growing food in the earth changes our lives.
Brandy Montague 10:54
Okay, the last one is for winter. So winter has been a subject that came up in our private community and I have to thank Ame and Shawn and Laura for some ideas of what we can do to connect with nature when it’s the middle of winter, and we don’t even feel like we can go outside. So some of the thoughts that they shared were putting up a bird feeder outside the window so that you can watch, you know birds come near you. Another idea is to really lean into indoor plants, so just spending time with plants or herbs or something similar you know inside of our house. Another thought was snowboarding. So my husband, he brought up how much more connected to nature he feels when he goes snowboarding, and I think that really is true because you know you get out there and you get on the mountain and you’re, you’re away from everything. And you have a different perception right of the world from there, which is really really nice.
Brandy Montague 12:00
So, yeah, I know it’s hard, if you live in a snowy area to see snow as a miracle, but if we can look at it as just a miracle that it fell and it covered the area and it’s doing its job as a part of nature, maybe we can appreciate it a little bit more, I don’t know. I suppose it’s until you have to go outside and heat up your car driving it’s a little harder to appreciate!
Brandy Montague 12:29
But anyway, those are the five quick easy ideas I have for connecting to nature. I hope one of them speaks to you. If you’re not familiar with the all trails app and you like to hike, I highly recommend that app. It will help you find trails near you all around that you can go and go on a hike on and you’ll, you get input from other people about it so it’s a really really helpful app called alltrails.
Brandy Montague 13:00
Alright guys I can’t wait to hear about any of your experiences connecting with nature. Come over to Instagram and say hi. I’m at For Animals For Earth. And, yeah, I am always looking for new ideas myself so please come over, say hi and share yours. All right, I’ll see you next week. Bye bye.
Brandy Montague 13:22
And that’s all for today, thank you so much for tuning in and listening and for supporting the show. If you’re up for it, ratings and reviews are really helping us right now as a new show, you can do those if you listen on Apple or on Stitcher.
Brandy Montague 13:37
Otherwise, the best thing you can do to help is to tell a friend. I really appreciate your help in helping us grow this community. Remember that you can always join me live for interviews at foranimalsforearth.com/live, just check out that link to see when the next one is scheduled. And if you want to get in touch with me personally, I’d love to hear from you, come say hi, you can DM me on Instagram at For Animals For Earth. Okay, until next time, Bye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai