Learning from Nature

Here comes a selection of pictures that I took whilst hiking as part of a social work project with a 17 years old teenager beginning of this year. We were together non-stop for 51 days and explored the different landscapes and climate zones of Teneriffe and La Gomera. Whilst being outdoors, we had the chance to dive deeply into conversations about Life and the adventure developed a transformative dynamic for both of us.

When I was working in Kindergarten between 2010 and 2015, we followed a guideline that says: “the room is an educator”, which basically means that our environment teaches us certain things and provokes thoughts, emotions and behaviour simply by being what it is. This principle has been used in the creation of sacred ceremonial spaces and architecture since the beginning of time.

Knowing this, made me curious to find out what happens, when a young person is introduced to and immersed in wild places of overwhelming beauty for a considerable amount of time. The spaciousness we experienced in the mountains almost immediately opened more inner space, in which it was easier to step back and get an overview of all that’s happened so far. With this sense of distance, new and potentially more empowering perspectives become available more quickly and the silence lets them sink in, to be integrated.

Nature is a wonderful teacher. She holds the capacity to initiate us into the wisdom of our ancestors. Law of Nature says: “if you want fire, collect firewood!”. The size and duration of the fire we enjoy is a direct reflection of the effort we put into collecting the wood. Self-efficacy and responsibility develop around these skills, as a by-product. The room is educating us the same way it educated humans for thousands of years. A bond between us and Nature develops which then becomes the foundation of love, respect and the wish to protect our planet.

Walking step by step up and down the mountains is a great metaphor for the journey of life. Sometimes we look back and see how far we have come, at other times we look at the horizon, not knowing what’s behind it. We have a map, a plan and a sense of direction but things happen along the way and we need to adjust. Sometimes it’s a beautiful old tree that makes us change direction, sometimes its thirst, hunger or a change of weather that impacts our decisions.

I invite you, to look at these pictures from that perspective and I hope they inspire you to include an element of Nature Connection into your personal life, your relationships and workspace. Especially our children need the simplicity that natural places can provide. Nature acts as an antidote for the stress of a modern and often disconnecting technology-based lifestyle.

Greetings from the forest,

Yannick

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