Hi, I'm Em and I'm pleased to be welcoming you to the first Green Minds online Mindfulness & Nature Connection course. We’re glad you’ve found us and are very excited to be stepping into this new territory!
With life becoming ever busier, now more than ever the importance of connection with ourselves, our communities and with nature is needed. In response to this, this short course has been developed to provide simple and accessible practices that can be incorporated into your life, to help gently re-engage your connections to the natural world, whilst simultaneously supporting your ongoing mental wellbeing.
All of the activities and practices offered throughout the four weeks of this course can be undertaken both indoors or out, depending on your current circumstances. So lets get started on our journey…
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness centers around bringing a sense of calm and peacefulness to our minds and our day to day lives, through the cultivation of present moment awareness. Every moment is an opportunity to live more deeply, more authentically and to relate to ourselves, others and the world around us with more kindness and compassion. Mindfulness can be summarised in many ways. The following offer some simple descriptions to convey the basis of this ancient practice:
“Mindfulness is something we simply do. It is not a theory, or a thought, or a concept. Mindfulness is paying attention, without judgement and with acceptance, to where we are, how we are, what we are feeling, what we are thinking – in the present moment”.
Author of ‘Mindfulness and the Natural World’
“Mindfulness is about paying attention to our internal and external world with a kind and non-judgmental awareness. Engaging all of our senses to connect with our present moment experience, without getting lost in thought or habitual distractions. It can be trained through meditation, but also practiced whenever and wherever we are”.
The Mindfulness Project
“Mindfulness is a kind of energy that we generate when we bring our mind back to our body and get in touch with what is going on in the present moment, within us and around us. We become aware of our breathing and come home to our body, fully present for ourselves and whatever we are doing”.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist Monk & Peace Activist
What Mindfulness is Not
Striving to set a goal or having expectations to achieve a particular outcome. When we attach ourselves to expectations or live for some idea of who or where we’ll be at a future point in time, remaining fixed on some idea of how we want things to be, we forget the basis of mindfulness. Living a mindful life is to embrace the unfolding of experience moment by moment with awareness, kindness, acceptance, patience and openness.
What is Mindful Nature Connection?
Mindful nature connection utilizes practices for the enrichment of your health and wellbeing, through any activity that puts you in contact with nature (indoors or out). It uses the skills and principles of mindfulness to engage with the natural world, allowing ourselves to simply be with nature and connecting with the sense of wonder that it evokes.
We are Nature
Simply put, we have forgotten that we are also a part of nature. Why is this important? Because it’s led us to deprive ourselves of the simple joy of living, the consequence of which harms both our own well-being as well as that of the Earth, our home. The natural world is at the heart of our very being, nature gives rise to all life on the planet, it is around us and within us wherever we are. If it wasn’t for the sun, the trees, the air we breathe, the water and plants we consume, we simply wouldn’t be able to exist. The natural world is a diverse and complex web of interconnectedness and as such an integral part of our happiness and health. This course is an invitation to explore the important relationship we have with the natural world, and to discover the happiness and freedom that lies in the simple experience of being alive in the moment.
Why Practice Mindfulness?
Bringing our mind and body back together is the foundation of mindfulness practice. So very often we find ourselves living in our heads, caught up in a world of thinking and thoughts and worrying about what’s happened in the past or what may occur in the future. In the mindfulness tradition, the mind is often likened to a monkey, swinging from branch to branch, restless and always on the move. Mindfulness offers us the ability to bring calm to our minds, to slow the pace and quieten the noise within. When we practice returning our attention to the here and now, we begin to cultivate more awareness of ourselves and of the joy, happiness and wonder that is available to us in every moment throughout our daily lives.
Each week the course will invite you to try one mindfulness practice and one nature connection activity. The below are a suggested list of things that may be useful to have to hand:
We recommend at this stage to set aside approx. 15 mins a day for each practice. It’s worth looking at the activities as treats for yourself, a time for nurturing and attending to your own wellbeing. As with all learning, it’s helpful to have a clear motivation and desire to engage and try all of the suggested practices and activities to begin with. It’s also useful to recognize that mindfulness is an art, and as with any art, the skill is honed through consistency and investment in time......
Please find a link for each available week in the sidebar.