#14: Mindfulness in Nature – Drexel University


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I was honored to be a part of Drexel University’s 2021 Fall Mindfulness and Well-Being course taught by Scott Quitel. Right in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, an urban setting was new for me, and hummed with sound of drums, train station stops, traffic and more. But as each minute passed, we continued to dive deep into the heart of nurturing one of the most important relationships of our lives, that with Mother Earth. I lead experiences of how to take a ‘pause on the planet,’ even with the urban song, which is a powerful experience.

Below are resources from that class and a bit on the flow which is always guided by the earth’s heart through me. Thank you to the class for your presence that day and I wish you all a spark of mother earth’s love in your heart in every moment you walk this planet.

CONSIDERATIONS AND PRACTICES FOR DEVELOPING A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EARTH

  • THE 3A’S (awareness, appreciation, action): see this page of the website to learn more.
  • LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: At the start of a presentation or even introducing yourself in a meeting or class, one way in which you can begin to honor the earth is honoring the first people of the area from which you speak, giving what is called a living land acknowledgement. For example, in our class (and do this from your heart and with purpose, not because you have to) I said, “I honor and appreciate the first human-stewards of this land, the Lenape. I deeply appreciate their kindness, reverence, connection and wisdom they have birthed and maintained for over 10,000 years, despite my settler ancestry that has caused suffering and pain.” To find more about the First Nation peoples of the area in which you inhabit and how to begin a land acknowledge, see this website. Here is where you can find out more about the Lenape of Pennsylvania.
  • EARTH ACKNOWLEGEMENT & RELATIONAL PROTOCOLS: In my opinion, even before honoring humans, I feel a calling to honor the true original stewards of the area, all the biota and more. The water, the air, the soil microbes, the flora and fauna are in my mind, constant stewards, deeply in relationship an one with the earth, whom we have so much to learn from. You could say something such as “I appreciate and honor the 1000s of native flora and fauna, water, air, soils and more, of this area, the original inhabitants of what is called the ‘River of Humans,’ the Delaware River Watershed.” You may also consider when entering an area of the earth or connecting to a plant or river (for example), to introduce yourself to the more-than-human beings of the land, which can look like this (can be done in any sequence):
    • a. Introduce yourself: internally or out loud, share your name, how you understand yourself on the soul level, such as your role on the planet or whatever feels most complete to you.
    • b. Listen for an invitation: notice where you’re being called into relationship, perhaps by a stone, a tree, a stream, a bird.
    • c. Ask permission: verbally or internally, ask if it’s ok to be with them and listen for an answer. Tune into your body and notice what you are feeling (do you feel open to enter the area or feeling best to stay where you are?). Be mindful of what is coming from you and honoring the sovereignty of the other being.
    • d. Listen: If you receive a yes, listen to what the being wants to share with you.
    • e. Offer gratitude/appreciation: Sing a song, a word, express a feeling from your heart, or whatever feels right to you.
  • HEART OPENING: Shifting your thoughts about how you see the earth can be incredible for your relationship. Try the meditations on this page of my site and see this blog post about seeing light wherever you are, then you become the light.
  • LOVE LETTER TO THE EARTH: After a few initial practices to give gratitude to the earth and connect our hearts further, it was time for the culmination activity: a love letter to the earth. Inspired by Thich Nhat Hahn, you can read more in my blog post. Students wrote their letters, sealed them up, and it was suggested to open them on New Year’s Day 2022. These letters are really letters to the self as we are one with Mother Earth (ME).
  • LOVE, PEACE, AND HARMONY- JOIN 1.5 BILLION AROUND THE WORLD: I didn’t get to fully explain this beautiful song of oneness, but here is the resources page to learn more. I sing this song as I run, bike, walk in my neighborhood, or to shift out of a contrasting or negative thought or momentum. It’s 5 simple lines that have a positive, powerful message of oneness and it all begins with YOU! LPH is translated in over 60 languages so pick which one resonates with you or check out their YouTube station to learn in a different language and pledge to sing daily for 15-minutes and see it transform your life!

Remember, it doesn’t necessarily take hours to nurture our relationship with Mother Earth, and neither does it have to occur outdoors as the natural world is also within. But whatever you do, do it from the heart and with sincerity.

Thank you so much for this opportunity to be with you on such a gorgeous day and all the very best with the remainder of your class!

With one earth heart,

Tara

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