One root cause of today’s environmental crises is our growing disconnection from nature.
Our dominant economic system does not reflect the fact that we live and operate within ecosystems and are therefore reliant on the health of our earth. This issue is very much relevant to food where true costs of production are not reflected in the price products are sold e.g. unsustainable and unhealthy food is often cheaper than more sustainable options.
Calls for us to ‘reconnect to nature’ (and live within the earth’s planetary boundaries) have been growing louder, and this pandemic in many ways highlights what can happen if we don’t do this. These calls to reconnect come from both academics and civil society and the growing environmental youth movement around the world. However answers to ‘how we re-connect?’ come in all shapes and forms.
For the past year Scotch Quarry community garden in Lancaster has been exploring the 8 Shields route to re-connection and has hosted a series of excellent events that seek to regrow nature-connected communities. I was lucky enough to attend a weekend course last year that explored how the 8 shields “Connection Model” can be used to increase our ‘aliveness’, grow healthy group-cultures and bring out earth-care in people. During two sunny days a group of us met and explored the woodland community at Scotch Quarry through games, sharing circles, songs and other outdoor activities.
One of the activities that stood out for me (and that I have been practicing for the last year) is the sit spot. It also happens to be a great daily activity for a lockdown!
The ‘sit spot’ is so simple and yet so beneficial- especially when stories from the experience are shared with family and friends. You literally find a spot outside (this could be in your garden, in the middle of a park or in a local woodland etc) and you sit or lie in it on a regular basis.
In sitting, you open up all your senses: What can you see? What can you smell and taste in the air? How does the spot feel? What can you hear? How do these things change on a daily basis – through the seasons and years?
In sitting and watching, ask yourself lots of questions about what you see: Why is that leaf so green? Why is that bird shrieking loudly? Why is that bee not going to that flower? What is a bee!? How does it fly so fast?
In asking questions (rather than seeking answers), our thoughts can open and our wonder for the world around us (and our place within it) can increase.
If you take up this sit spot activity during the lockdown or beyond, we would love to hear about your experiences!