What we're about
“The wilderness holds answers to more questions than we yet know how to ask.” – Nancy Newhall, conservationist and photographer
In 2019, we will begin our third year of this group, which has evolved into a wonderful, welcoming group of like-hearted people. I hope you'll take a moment to read over the description, and if these words resonate with you, I hope you'll join us sometime this year.
This is a group open to anyone who is interested in practicing mindfulness through a curious and contemplative relationship with nature. Nature can be a wonderful teacher, mirror, and guide which can help us learn about ourselves, connect with each other and the larger web of life, and experience appreciation and gratitude. The beauty, mystery, and wonder of the natural world so easily and effortlessly pulls us into a mindful state of being, which can help to develop or support a mindfulness practice. Through learning to cultivate a meaningful and intentional relationship with nature, we experience joy, awe, and interconnectedness, as well as relaxation and emotional and mental restoration.
All experience levels are welcome, as those new to mindfulness will benefit from guidance and support, while those who are experienced will have the chance to deepen their practice. We will practice different mindfulness exercises and nature-based meditations as a way to explore a variety of options to help support your mindfulness practice and cultivating a mindful life.
Most meetups will offer some walking or hiking, usually at a slow or moderately slow pace. We will meet throughout the year, as each season brings its own personality, lessons, beauty, and challenges. We meet from 10:00 am to noon on the second Saturday of every other month, starting in January, except in November, when we meet for a special extended group from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Things to bring:
Hiking shoes/boots (tennis shoes are fine)
Optional: snacks; hiking stick or pole; portable stool or chair or small towel for sitting on the ground
Mindfulness in Nature Resources:
How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh
Walking Meditation by Anh-Huong Nguyen and Thich Nhat Hanh
Awake in the Wild by Mark Coleman
Mindfulness & the Natural World: Bringing Our Awareness Back to Nature by Claire Thompson
Looking at Mindfulness: 25 Ways to Live in the Moment Through Art by Christopher Andre
Friends of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve Meetup: https://www.meetup.co... (https://www.meetup.com/bcpfriends)
https://www.irvteibel.com/ - Innovative nature sound recordings created to help with relaxation and stress relief. Link to the app: http://www.numerogroup.com/products/environments
http://www.vallecitos... (http://www.vallecitos.org/) - Vallecitos Ranch is located in northern New Mexico and they offer different retreats that are focused on mindfulness in a natural setting.
https://rockymountain... (https://rockymountainecodharmaretreatcenter.org/) - Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Center is a new retreat center near the Indian Peaks Wilderness in Colorado, and they offer a place for spiritual reflection and learning in a wilderness setting.
https://kripalu.org/... (https://kripalu.org/) - well-known retreat center in Massachusetts that has recently been offering mindfulness in nature retreats
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mz-dJFkmrk - Ten Mindful Movements as led by Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village
https://www.meetup.com/austinmindfulness/ - This is a great local group (Austin) that can support your mindfulness and meditation practice.
http://www.hayleygillard.com/blogs/ - Hayley has a few nice, short videos on mindfulness in nature and barefoot walking.
Amy Sugeno, LCSW, Clinical Ecotherapist, M.S.: I was a wildlife biologist for many years before changing careers to become a social worker and therapist. My passion for decades has been to help people appreciate and connect with nature. As a biologist, I taught people about various animals and plants, from bats to birds to rare species. Now, I still do this, with the added benefit of helping people develop a meaningful, intentional relationship with nature - a relationship that helps heal ourselves and nature. I have been a trauma therapist for over 11 years, and an ecotherapist for over 5 years. An outdoor-lover since childhood, I regularly enjoy camping, birdwatching, and backpacking, and I regularly maintain a certification in Wilderness First Aid.