A Different Way……
A great article written by friend and fellow ANFT graduate Scott Poynton where he explores the difference between connection and relationship with nature. A great read and video.
“We’ve been hearing a lot lately about how good it is for our overall well-being to spend time in Nature. I believe this to be an essential truth. From my personal perspective, one of my main self-care practices is walking quietly and reverently in forests. It really does help me.
Yet, I think there’s a subtle change we might make in both the language we use and the way we think about the benefits of spending this additional time in Mother Nature.
So often, people speak about the need to ‘reconnect’ with Nature, and the benefits we get when this reconnection happens.
I feel this is a problem. This notion of the need to reconnect implies we’re not currently connected. It places us outside of Nature, something separate, something disconnected that needs to ‘reconnect.’
But we’re not disconnected are we? We’re part of the same, all encompassing wonder of the natural world as the wind, the stars, the misty breath of a deer on a frosty winter’s morning, as the tiniest insect happily gathering pollen from a dandelion. We are Nature.
My sense is that part of the reason we’ve trashed Nature so mightily in the past 70 years since WWII is that we’ve happily considered ourselves not only separate from it but above it, better than it. We do things to Nature, it’s inert, not sentient. We hold power over it, we can hurt it at no cost to us – indeed, often at great benefit if we only take a narrow definition of what ‘benefit’ means – because we’re separate from it, right? It’s over there and we, in our houses, cars, planes, ships, fast cars, air conditioned offices and heated winter homes…well, we’re different.
The language of ‘reconnection’ risks entrenching this sense of separateness just as we’re coming to better understand that we’re very much a part of Nature and that Nature is part of us, there is no separation. What we do to her, to Nature, we do to ourselves.
Might we instead imagine how we might deepen our relationship with Nature? For surely it’s a loving, caring relationship we speak of? Is Nature not our lover, our Mother, our bestest friend?
Deepening our relationship with a loved one seems natural to us. It’s something we work at, a lifelong commitment.
Might we do the same with Nature? If we can, there’s a greater chance we could improve the way we treat her, the way we treat ourselves.
Next time you have a chance to spend a moment in Nature, try perhaps to think of her as your grandmother. How might you spend your time getting to know this ancient wonder better? What secrets might she reveal? Might you sit quietly, holding her hand? Surely, you wouldn’t gouge her, cut her, make her bleed?
Nature relationship. Yes, it just feels better.”
You can read more form Scott and some of the work he offers, which always inspires me at https://www.scottpoynton.com/a-different-way