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Paying Attention on Purpose

What does it look and feel like for me to intentionally connect with nature? The word “intentionally” evokes a deepening of my awareness. This word also highlights the fact that I may not do most of my usual activities with intention. I move rhythmically through the routine of each day as if I were a leaf being carried along by a strong gust of wind, the finer details of life whooshing by in a blur. In this week’s group we were asked to heighten our awareness by tuning into each of our senses. I closed my eyes to hear more clearly, sounds that I would not have normally acknowledged, the distant laughter of a child playing, squirrels rustling about in the foliage above. I tasted the cool air on my lips and felt the chill of fall on the tip of my nose and back of my neck. I was able to smell the crispness of the breeze, and the decay of the leaves and earth around me. I saw the glowing movement of the embers in the fire before me, and the beginning light of stars peeking through the dusk. I felt a part of the natural world. The heightening of my senses to what was happening all around me felt as if I had grown roots and tapped into an ancient resource. Life inevitably picks up speed at times, but slowing down and giving myself pause to intentionally join with nature caused a brilliant cascading effect of connectedness. As I moved through the following week, I noticed myself smiling when there was a nip at my nose. It was as if nature was gently nudging me, reminding me to pay attention on purpose.

About the Author

Lauren is currently attending Johns Hopkins University in pursuit of her Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She obtained her BS in Psychology from Towson University. She currently volunteers at the Center for Nature Informed Therapy and hopes to integrate mindfulness and nature into her future practice She will be receiving her practicum and internship training at the Chesapeake Mental Health Collaborative. Lauren is also a veteran of the United States Navy and is currently assisting in the development of a nature informed veteran support group.

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