Nature connection is a feeling of being in relationship with the natural world. This is different from simply knowing things about nature. You may know what an oak tree is and be able to identify it when you come across one. But it’s a much deeper experience to know a particular oak tree in your backyard as distinct from other oak trees.
If you spend enough time with one tree by coming back to it over and over again you’ll eventually realize that it’s a dynamic character in the never-ending story of life. You’ll learn that the tree changes and interacts with the birds, animals and seasons in a way that is predictable yet unique.
The tree will no longer be just a tree. With each new experience you have with that tree your connection will deepen until you know it like good friend. Your knowledge will go well beyond simple recognition of the species.
Because of this connection… the tree would have a whole different meaning to you than it would to someone who is just encountering it for the first time. Even if they can identify the species… Their relationship to and knowledge of that tree would be nowhere near as deep as what you can cultivate with that tree over time.
Because of the time you spent with the oak you would feel something for that tree that other people wouldn’t feel. And you would care about it in the same way you would care about a close friend.
If your connection with the oak can be called oak tree connection… Nature connection is when you develop that kind of relationship with all of nature from the plants & birds to the stars & the seasons.
Why is this important?
There are certain psychological shifts that happen for people as they connect to nature. If you go back in the history of people everyone can trace their family line back to a time. When their ancestors had deep connection with nature.
Now in the modern world science is starting to show us that a lack of connection to nature (or nature deficit disorder as described by Richard Louv). Has some significant consequences for our physical and mental health…
Nature seems to play some sort of role in balancing our minds to release physical, mental & emotional stress. Having too much technology, inside time and not enough timeless moments spent outside in nature causes people to lead disconnected lives where they find it harder to feel the simple joys of life.
When people take on a routine practice of connecting to nature it starts to awaken something inside them & they gradually become healthier. Happier people who increasingly engage with life in positive ways.
How long does it take to develop a deep connection to nature?
Everyone already has at least some connection to nature. The fact that you’re alive and reading this means that you were born in a natural process. You eat food that comes from nature and you’ve probably spent time around things like trees and birds. The trick to taking it deeper is to intentionally set aside time to go outside for the purpose of connecting with nature.
As soon as you start getting out there and paying attention. To what’s going on your connection will already be forming. If you’ve never really taken the time to sit down and simply watch nature then you’re in for real treat.
There is so much going on outside that it might seem overwhelming at first. How could I ever get to know all the different plants? All the different bird sounds? Rest assured that if you keep going out there day after day you’ll start to notice more and more.
Maybe you’ll learn the name of that bird you were watching, or maybe you won’t. The trick is to not get caught up in trying to get to any particular level of understanding with this. If you come back from spending some time in nature. And you feel more relaxed, peaceful or happy than when you first went out then you know you’re getting it.
It’s more about the journey than the destination so the time frame isn’t set in stone.
As you keep getting out there to connect with the things you encounter regularly in the landscape. You’ll build deeper connections and that learning will never cease to evolve and grow. It’s a fun-filled adventure of discovery and transformation.