How to Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley

Learn to take an interest in nature. Everybody wants to see a sustainable environment. There is a good reason to connect with nature. It can indeed be a very rewarding experience. You will be able to sense the power of every living thing. Look at a plant as a source of food. Learn to appreciate the present moment. Do not be oblivious of the surroundings. Appreciating nature has ancestral roots. This book is divided into at least 4 parts.

The Ground Ahead. Nature is indeed a huge network. Every journey is an enriching experience. Everything in our lives are all subsets of nature. Nature is also steeped in rich history. Abraham Maslow proposed the human hierarchy of needs in 1943. One must find practical ways to connect with nature. It is crucial to try new things. We not need to implement big changes to our lifestyle. Thinking about nature can change our thought patterns and make us see things in a different light. One must know their senses well. Using your senses will give you heightened sensory awareness. Beware of what is changing and reacting around you. Plants are known to be influenced by the type of light. They are actually quite intelligent in a sense. There is inherent conflict within nature although not many of us understand it. Nature is also competing for the need to thrive and to survive. Animals ward off predators by emitting bright colours. Similarly, brightly coloured road signs warn us of danger. The peacock’s eye on its back scares away predators. The Venus flytrap is an outstanding organism. It can spring a trap shut and kill victim in an acid bath. People who have experienced trauma will learn to appreciate the passing of time. The greater you can appreciate nature, the more you will appreciate the passing of time. Even if you visit the same nature place again later, the scenario will not be exactly the same. The world is like a music box that needs no winding. Time can sculpt our thoughts. People have a love-hate relationship with plants. Footwear is optional. Many things are inter-connected with one another. It is difficult to explain interconnectedness. One needs to experience it for themselves. We will return to a habitat in future.

Some of the most admirable creatures use colour and contrast for both sexual allure and violent repellence. – Tristan Gooley

The only certainty is that you will only get one opportunity to experience each scene exactly the way it is. It will be different if you return in ten months or ten minutes. – Tristan Gooley

Finding a Path. A Practical Way In. There are books on meditation. We all need to overcome inertia. Attempt the exercises below. Close your eyes and breathe deeply through your nostrils. Compare the effects indoors and outdoors. There are differences between the two. If you think this exercise is a waste of time, you might be too busy in your life. Be aware of your surroundings. We are sensitive to motion. Humans are always aware of threats and elusiveness. Humans remember myths and legends to remind us of danger. You don’t need to train a child to look out for danger. We are temperature sensitive. However, if you wear less clothing, you will get to experience the full force of nature in all its glory. Learn to read the sky. Understand the wind direction and temperature changes. You might be able to identify weather patterns from observing the sky. Learn to identify the different cloud patterns. Look for cirrostratus or cirrus clouds. Observe weather patterns changing. Who knows? Your weather prediction skills might even be better than experts. Spend a night in the wild. Camp in the outdoors and experience life. Humans have a need for shelter. Pines can be useful for this purpose. Take interest in all forms of water when you are dead thirsty. Pick up a pile of muddy water and observe the value of it. Spring water is obviously your safest bet. Foraging can be interesting as well. Pick up various wild foods and cook them. It can actually address hunger issues. Skilled people are able to identify non-poisonous plants from poisonous ones. Is hunting and killing animals cruel? Learn to identify the way home by looking at the moon alone. This is known as natural navigation. Children are naturally interested in nature. Creative people do not think much of nature, but there indeed a lot of beauty to it. Sketch a tree and you might think of it differently. Write about nature and your appreciation for it will grow. Spend 10 minutes sketching a tree.

The Senses. Being instinctive can actually save you. Some people can sense tsunamis. There are benefits to being observant. Some people are better at spotting dangers. Walking provides good time for self-reflection. The sense of sight is very powerful. However, we tend to only focus on the object at hand and not the surroundings. Go for a three minute walk outdoors. When you try that, focus on things that do not move only. We tend to focus on things that move due to our survival instinct. People look out for different things at the same time. A tree’s appearance can change depending on which angle you observe it from. A focused interest can be a double-edged sword. To be good at observing, we need to be aware of the blind spots as well. Go outside and listen to anything for just 1 minute. Hearing is not so directionally focused. Listening attentively is a great habit to develop and it can be very useful indeed. If you are good enough, you might be able to identify a dog’s unique bark. We become more aware of the creatures around us. What do plants hear? Note down what you are able to hear when you are outside. Smell and taste are closely intertwined. Human touch can be very intimate. Trees and plants are generally adverse to touching. Some plants are even more sensitive to touch than humans. The Mimosa pudica is sensitive to touch and will close if touched. By the heightened use of our senses, we can enjoy the perfect nature experience.

If we wish to notice more, it is a good idea to slow down; and noticing more will itself tend to make you slow down. This is true whatever you focus on. – Tristan Gooley

The Big Relationships. There is a lot of stuff out there. We are often overwhelmed by chaos. Is there an end to random matter? There are 25000 different species of orchids. We should not be bothered with each species. Rather, we should focus on the type of species that may be present in each habitat. Water often indicates the presence of animals nearby. Plants can survive on minerals, air and sunlight alone. Herbivores usually like to group together. Trees tend to dominate all types of land. Animals and plants have to adapt to the environment and their habitat in order to survive. Or else, they will perish. Plant life varies according to the type of altitude they are located in. We must learn to identify habitats. More plants prefer alkaline soil rather than acidic soil. Every plant is an indicator of some sort. The type of life present will tell you what environment is it about. There are grasslands, shrub lands, woodlands, wetlands etc. If you know the habitat, you can roughly guess which the animals that will inhabit the land are.

The Finer Connections. Nature is a series of specialists. Learn to recognize the background sounds. Some species work in tandem and only feed on certain species for food. No habitat is off-limits. The regulars usually introduce themselves after a while. Naming using Latin names is a way of distinguishing one species from another and is necessary. Naming is just a form of convention. Animals with similar characteristics usually have similar names. Attach nicknames to interesting species to make it easy for you to remember. Understand what a ghost orchid is. If you understand the backstory, appreciating of animal species is easier and also more meaningful. Learn to heighten your senses and detect change. Once you understand the story, it is easier to make a more meaningful connection. There are always many finer connections out there waiting for us.

The important thing for us to remember is that nature is a set of keys and interlocking connections. It sometimes takes a little patience to work out how to open a new lock, but the keys are there and the reward on the other side is a recipe for a form of alchemy. – Tristan Gooley

Nature is often like a painting that seems dull until you start to learn more about it. – Tristan Gooley

The Beauty of Conflict. Parasitoid wasps are real beasts. Rats are scavengers too. Although we can beat nature, at what cost must we pay? What harm are we causing to the environment? Is it recoverable? Conflict can seem like a beauty sometimes. We are only interested in conflict which can form a connection with us. Animals compete fiercely amongst themselves for resources to thrive and to live. Usually, places where there are less humans will be thriving with nature. Human influence is important. Evolution is never still and new species will emerge. Lettuce can manufacture a poison to deter aphids from attacking them. Now, plants are so smart that they can even pre-empt an attack by an animal by picking up chemical smells from other trees being attacked. Animals must regulate intake of food especially when it is scarce and in short supply. Weather patterns affect the type of species that can thrive at any given time. Animals have systems to warn them from attack. Conflict is inevitable in nature and makes it beautiful indeed. Greedy animals who kill excessively will not be liked by their peers.

Getting Closer. Hidden Calendars. Poinsettia’s leaves can turn red and is symbolic of Christmas throughout the world. It will turn red if exposed to darkness. What is time exactly? We don’t look at the sun or the night sky to determine time anymore. In the past, people relied on sky calendars. The constellations can help as well. Look at the direction is rising and setting from. Stonehenge is a famous place. Plants respond to light and temperatures in different ways. Learn to develop a connection with nature. Plants are sensitive to the length of night. Shedding of leaves by plants can also rid the plants of existing toxins contained. You can tell how old a tree is from its branches etc. ‘What does spring mean to you?’

Fast Change. Try a natural navigation course. You will be forced to think more. You must rely on the solar system. Use nature to determine your direction and your time. The cattle’s clock is the sun. A watch can track time, but a sundial can find time. Time only has meaning when you look up at the sky. Everything we observe outdoors is a once in a life experience.

We have truly learned to read time when we have discovered that nature itself allows us to distinguish each moment from those that come before and after it. – Tristan Gooley

Real Connection. The Clocks Within. Our body temperatures varies within the day like a circadian rhythm. Our alertness and mood levels vary as well. Animals often have a preferred time of the day for mating.

The Strengthening Cycle. There might be correlation between the presence of green spaces and someone’s BMI. Research has revealed that nature helps people calm down and become more generous. Nature can be a shared interest. It is good to be surprised by nature. Be delighted by it. If something amazes you, chances are that you will remember it better. Nature forces us to be humbled and amazed at its sheer beauty. Nature is interesting indeed.

Time spent in nature has been shown to improve self-esteem and conflict resolution. It also reduces absenteeism, and one hour spent in nature can improve memory and attention span by 20%. Nature can calm us, it can help us focus and, for many, it works as an antidepressant. – Tristan Gooley



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