Designed by Carlos Buj and Nuane Tejedor inspired by the native American wisdom
Material: notebook (nature-journal), pen, something to sit on (if it’s wet), natural environment
This activity is inspired by Native American wisdom about the sacred places in nature. The wisdom of the Earth that comes from indigenous peoples speaks of sacred places in which for some specific reason we feel a special bond with nature. They are places where we experience feelings of well-being and calm, so it is easy to enter into meditative states.
– Connect with nature
– Explore the depths of our own being
– Learn how to find calm and energizing places, to gain a better perspective of the problems of everyday life
1. The facilitator provides the group with an envelope and invites them to walk out into nature. After a few metres from the starting point, they open the envelope and read the first message. Each envelope contains six papers with instructions and the exact time they should dedicate to each message. The messages have the following contents:
Paper 1: total 15 minutes: “Look around you and within yourself and find a place in nature that seems right for some reason. Let yourself be guided by your intuitions… follow a butterfly or a ray of sunshine among the leaves of the trees. Stop where you feel comfortable. Remember you must be able to return in a few minutes. Choose your place in a non-rational way, it means trying to follow your feelings, do not judge yourself if it’s right or not… Just be where you want to be. When you find a place where you feel comfortable, show respect and ask permission to all the beings that inhabit it. Be aware that in that place everything is going to be watching you. Once you have found your magical place, sit down and read the next message…
Paper 2: total 10 minutes. “Welcome to your place on Earth! This is what we will call it. It is your own space in nature at this time. Everyone has the right to a home where the sun, the stars, the open fields, the big trees and the smiling flowers show the way to a life without interruptions» – Jens Jensen. Reflect on this quote for a moment … now ask yourself: Why have your felt that this is your space, why did you choose it? Why do you feel good here? Action: Automatic writing: take your nature journal and a pen. Concentrate on the impression and the feeling you have in your space. Start writing and do not stop! Write for 5 minutes anything that comes to mind. You do not have to share it with anyone, nobody has to read it. It can even be illegible, just follow your instincts and try to express yourself. Maybe some interesting things will arise.
Paper 3: total 25 minutes «Modern life narrows our senses until our focus of attention is mainly visual, tailored to the screens, on the contrary, nature accentuates all the senses» – Richard Louv. Imagine that you are a child who has never been in nature and you are in this place for the first time. Try to absorb as much information as possible and make sense of what you have around you. Observe the trees around you, their trunk, their leaves … be careful, because it is possible that some leaf may fall and dance in the air near you. Sense the temperature of the air, if there is wind, where does it come from? Is there humidity? What kind of living beings can you see or hear? Can you guess what they are saying? Touch the earth with your hands, what kind of soil is there? Is it sandy, dark, hard, loose, is there fresh grass, or is thirsty for rain? Perceive the light in that place, what are the different tonalities of colours that change subtly with light? Look at the sky, are there clouds? Which shape can you see? What does it smell like? Try to look at the small details and also the whole set.• Have you discovered something new about your space in the last minutes? • Do you feel different in relation to your space now? How? Why?
Paper 4: total 15 minutes «Not long ago, the soundtrack of a young man’s days and nights was mostly composed of nature notes, most people were raised on earth, worked the land and were often buried in the same land. The relationship was direct. » – Richard Louv. Action: Reflect on the following questions:
• How did your ancestors (grandparents, great grandparents …) relate to nature?
• How is your relationship with nature compared to theirs?
• Now ask yourself: Why am I here at this moment? Let the response surface on its own, without any effort. If you feel like it, write in your nature journal what you want to remember or express …
Paper 5: total 5 minutes. Action: touch the ground and the grass, with the palm of the left hand while slowly reading these words (that is, speaking aloud):»This is what connects us, this is what connects humanity, all beings on this planet and also the earth itself, this is what we have in common.» Repeat this as many times as you want. You can express it in any way you feel appropriate.
Paper 6: total 10 minutes .It’s time to say goodbye to your place on Earth. You can say thank you to the place and its beings and SMILE! Now is the time to return quietly to the starting point. Please respect your own silence and also the silence of the other participants during the time you consider appropriate.
2. Form a circle to share the experience and reflect on what we have lived.
Questions for reflexion
How did you feel in your chosen place?
Do you think that in difficult times nature can help you?
How was your mind in that place?
Have you reflected on the relationship between our ancestors and nature?
Download a printable version of these instructions here. You can see how they look: