Connecting with Nature in a Concrete Jungle
Stop. Breathe. Watch. Listen. Smell. Touch. Feel. Taste.
2. Go outside for your break or lunch. Eating lunch at your desk is a bad idea, and sometimes the breakroom isn’t much better. Move away from your screen, soak up the natural light, and enjoy the fresh air, even if you can only walk around the block once. If possible, go out and sit on the grass, lean against a tree, and enjoy your lunch feeling the earth under your feet.
3. Observe transformation. Be it a tree, a squirrel, a flower, or a bird’s nest you see every day — watch how it transforms with the change of weather or season.
5. Look up at the sky. Watch the clouds, look at their shapes, follow them into infinity. Remember that wildness is the undercurrent of the world. Watch the sun rise as a new day begins and set and a day comes to and end. All runs in cycles.
6. Feel the wind and rain. Focus on the wind as it rushes through your hair and over your face. Remind yourself of how the wind carries sound and messages, and spreads seeds for new beginnings. Stand outside in the rain and feel it on your skin. Imagine how it nourishes the earth and is key for life to grow and thrive – including you. It washes away your worries and cleanses to make space for new beginnings, however large or small.
8. Soak up the sun. Even if you cannot get outside, go and stand by the window, close your eyes for a few minutes, and feel the warmth on your face. Life cannot exist on Earth without the sun.
9. Connect with someone different. That’s right — connect with human nature. That colleague you’ve never spoken to, or the guy who lives down the road, the stranger at the supermarket – smile and say hello. When we reach out beyond our assumptions and perceived differences, we create a world that isn’t quite as separate as we may have thought. Sounds wild, doesn’t it?
11. Listen to the birds sing. They are there, even in the city. They sing their little hearts out, proclaiming their presence, not worrying about what the other birds are thinking about their song or words. How many can you count? How far away are they? Can you match the birds with the songs? How do the other birds respond to their singing?
12. Howl. Yes, you read that right. Let your voice out. We so often feel caged in our lives we have built for ourselves. If you are up for a challenge, get up right now and go outside right now and howl. You don’t have to do it in front of anyone else. If it’s not possible to do it in private, try howling in your car on the commute home, or in the park. Let go of what is bottled up inside. Know that your voice matters.
Having a connection with nature is deeply personal. We all have it to varying degrees. There is no right or wrong. Find your way, your enchanted wood in the city, doing what’s best for you. And remember, if you don’t have the opportunity to escape the city today, you don’t need to stray as far from home to see nature as you may have thought.
Be an urban nature detective. Where else have you found nature in the city?