Last year I wrote a short book about how to improve nature observation skills. If you haven’t read it yet then you can get it here.
One thing I didn’t talk about a whole lot in the book, but which I think is extremely important to talk about is the simple fact that we can actually be intentional about how we learn in nature.
When I was growing up I spent lots of time outside camping with my family, hiking or spending long days at the beach, but one thing I notice as I look back is that I didn’t even realize at the time that there was anything I could choose to be aware of.
I was always noisy; I didn’t pay attention to where I was going, or what I was thinking so almost everything that was happening simply passed me by.
I can only imagine what the animals & birds must have thought seeing me trudge along in my own lala land.
It’s shocking for me now to go back to some of the places I spent my childhood and realize just how much I was missing.
This is also one of the most exciting things for me to notice because it shows me how far I’ve come through my own process of spending intentional time with nature to practice observation & presence.
This is a practice that we can all benefit from because sometimes it’s easy to forget that beyond the edge of what we “know” there are always further mysteries and opportunities if we can only remember to look.
It’s helpful at times to reflect and consider as a starting point for where you are right now…
How much do you currently notice in nature?
How much don’t you notice?
How much do you want to notice?
Reflecting on these sorts of questions can help us examine our own level of engagement with the natural world and help us to further push the edge of our awareness to new levels & plateaus.
The mountains are calling and I must go.”
– John Muir
What You Notice VS. What You Want To Notice
Have you ever thought about the difference between the awareness you want to have in nature and what you actually notice when you’re outside?
Often there’s a pretty big difference between those two points and that’s actually a good thing because it gives us something to shoot for. But another thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people just don’t seem to have goals for learning.
So now I want to throw another question at you and take this idea a little bit deeper…
I know my reasons for wanting to learn & I have a sense that there are a lot of people out there who share those reasons, but what are your reasons for wanting to learn?
What is it that really motivates you to get outside and explore nature?
Maybe you want to be a really amazing tracker… Why?
Maybe you want to know the names and uses of every plant in your bioregion…
Maybe you want to have the refined awareness of an ancient scout who knows every nook, cranny & hiding spot in the whole land…
What is that drives you to wanna learn these things?
See if you can get that desire really clear in your mind, and for bonus points think about some action steps that you can take to move towards creating more of what you want in your life.
Get out there and connect with nature this week!