Get InformedNature Connection, Inspiration & Wonder

Nature: Connection, Inspiration & Wonder

15 May 2024

Nature can provide a momentary release from stress but it’s more than that. Catherine Wells, Occupational Therapist shares her thoughts along with Wendell Berry's poem to explore this further.

Catherine Wells

Catherine Wells

Occupational Therapist

In our Nature series we’ve already discussed how spending time in nature can have numerous benefits for our physical and mental health.

But what about the deeper feeling of connection and meaning in life? This is something many are starved of, it has been termed a spiritual crisis. 

 

Can nature help us with this too? 

According to research and a lot of anecdotal accounts - the answer is yes. When we connect with nature we connect with something larger than ourselves. Our focus is pulled out (even if just momentarily) from the stresses of everyday life. 

Wendell Berry's poem "The Peace of Wild Things" sums this up really well as it portrays nature as an escape from the potential chaos of daily life. 

 

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

 

Connection

Humans have an innate connection with nature, which is often neglected in today's fast-paced and technology-driven world. Actually, it is more than a connection - we are nature. We seem to forget this. We belong on this planet as much as the seas, rainforests and mountains. When we spend time in nature, we become more aware of the intricate web of life that surrounds us. We witness the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and we begin to understand our place within it. 

This realisation can help us feel more connected to the world around us, and give us a sense of purpose and belonging. 

 

Inspiration

In addition to this, spending time in nature can also be a source of inspiration and creativity. The natural world is full of patterns, colours, and textures that can stimulate our imaginations, sensory systems and help us tap into our own creative potential. 

Whether we are relaxing, writing, walking, or simply daydreaming in the midst of a beautiful landscape, nature can help us find new ways of expressing ourselves and connecting with the world around us.

 

Wonder

It has been suggested that moments of awe and wonder can be found everyday and the prevalence increases when we are in nature. These can be transformative experiences that have a profound impact on our well-being and can be powerful tools for promoting well-being and personal growth. 

When we witness the beauty and power of nature, we can feel a deep sense of connection and a shift in perspective that can help us transcend worries and help us navigate the challenges of our daily lives. This can inspire us to make choices that align with our values and beliefs, and to live more intentionally and mindfully. By taking the time to connect with the natural world, we can cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude, wonder, and appreciation for the beauty and complexity of life.

 

Get Out There

So head outside, find a green place. Feel your feet on the ground, the air in your lungs, the breeze on your face.

Marvel at the wonder of a resilient weed, or cultivate some awe for the buzzing of a bee. Take a moment to be truly present, and for a time “rest in the grace of the world, and be free.”

 

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