Nature based practice is about developing relationship with the natural world in order to feel a sense of connection to something larger than oneself. Robert Greenway of Sonoma State University was the first to pioneer ‘The Wilderness Experience’ in the 1960s – a coming together of outdoor experiences and psychology – he felt it was important to communicate how people ‘feel’ after these experiences and coined the term ‘eco psychology’ which examines the human-nature relationship.
Mindfulness' aim is to achieve a better awareness of what’s going on inside and outside ourselves moment by moment. By connecting with the present moment, and becoming more aware of our thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations in an accepting, kind, non-judgemental way we can become better able to manage the way we deal with ourselves and the world.
The intention of this group is to combine the two practices - to use the natural world as a canvas to explore mindfulness practices and vice versa.
Recent research is beginning to show mindfulness practiced whilst in nature could have far reaching benefits. Indeed the two are not mutually exclusive – both Buddhism (of which mindfulness origins can be traced) and nature connection work (including both Eco psychology and Deep Ecology) both address the same goal : for people to have a greater capacity to feel at ‘home’ in the universe.
I have a wild passion for nature, that has been with me since I was a child growing up in New Zealand - there it was second, or maybe 'first'-nature, to go wild swimming, to camp by the beach, explore the native bush and mountains, look at stars - it was natural to simply BE in nature and was not something I questioned. I have been a filmmaker most of my adult life [making science docs for broadcast channels like the BBC, and environmental/nature films for charities like WWF] and whilst I continue these ambitions, more recently I’ve been exploring nature practice using mindfulness tools. I’m quite science-y [!] and am fascinated by how this natural way of being can rewire the brain, uplift, heal and restore. I run and direct scientific studies for the BBC in conjunction with UK and international universities every year - I love finding out how the world works and 'what' works in life. In the past years I have undertaken : an Ecopsychology Foundation with Dave Key, which saw me carrying out experiential work in nature - [some crazy days were spent on my own soloing in a sleeping bag in a freezing cold snowy wood!]; I’ve also vice chaired an Eating Disorders group in Glasgow; I've passed the first initial week in Summer Mountain Leader training; I have gained an outdoor first aid qualification; I carry out volunteer surveying for the British Trust for Ornithology; I volunteer on the Scottish Wildlife Trust's Handa Island; I made a science documentary about bats and am now a bat nerd[!]; I’ve experienced Joanna Macy’s ecopsychology ‘Work That Reconnects’; I’ve undertaken wilderness solo time at the retreat centre Ecodharma in the Spanish Pyrenees; I’ve moved to the wilds of Scotland near a loch and forest; I’ve learned to LOVE wild food foraging and plant identification; I’ve qualified as a mindfulness teacher. I also have some experience in shamanic work. I can’t wait to share and pass on the tools I’ve learned which have helped me to connect more deeply to myself and the natural world.