Relationship lessons from Nature

Our world is made up of relationships.

In life, we are constantly moving through a sea of changing relationships – not only with other lives, but also with our surrounding environment and most importantly, with our own changing selves. Sometimes, when life takes a wrong turn and one ends up in an unhappy place, it can be a good practice to re-examine and re-look at our relationships.

Nature is a great place to untangle our thoughts and find fresh perspectives. It’s because in nature, all the mysteries of life unfold before us. All we heave to do is learn to observe and become aware. In this month’s guest post, Katriina Kilpi from Belgium shares some beautiful insights from her own trysts with nature.

Berries

ABOUT
Katriina Kilpi leads a NatureMinded consultancy that works to research and promote nature´s wellbeing effects on humans; a Forest Mind guide, and a student at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in program about Outdoor Environments for Health and Wellbeing. This summer she is co-organizing the first ‘International Forest Therapy Days’ event to help connect and promote the important work of forest therapy practitioners and scientists around the world. She is an expat Finn who has found her magical forest in the scarcely forested Belgium.
https://natureminded.be
 | http://www.forestmind.be | http://www.foresttherapydays.com

LeafWhat can nature teach us about relationships?

There’s this place in my favourite forest, where big old beeches grow. It´s a special spot, because at the bottom of those beeches, there grows a thick layer of moss.

This is the place where I go to when I feel like I can’t handle it alone. When I need to be held like a baby. I go and lean against one of those beeches, with my feet pressed into the soft moss, and I swear, the tree closes in on me, like arms reaching around to hold me.  I feel listened to, without any words being exchanged, and I feel consoled. There’s no judging. Only acceptance and compassion. As a thank you for listening, I value this forest, and do my best to protect it now and in the future. It’s probably exactly what the tree would want from me. A perfect exchange for our friendship.

Successful relationships are formed for mutual benefit.

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My son has also established a relationship with his nearby nature. One day he pointed out to me that of the two bushes next to his tree house, one was a nice one while the other was a naughty one. Maybe the thorns in the naughty bush has something to do with his judgement. So, according to this little man, the bushes not only have their own personalities, but he has also established a relationship with the bushes (one that is less close, obviously).

We quickly judge the personality of someone based on their behaviour towards us. A greater understanding would develop if we realise that personalities and qualities are shaped by the outer environment as well as the inner genetic make-up. In the design of nature, each and every life form has a unique role to play.

So for a deeper relationship to develop, one must start with a better sense of observation.

Kids

For the creatures or people, we do know, we often overlook their value and start taking them for granted. It doesn’t dawn to us that we are taking these people (or creatures) for granted before someone else recognises their uniqueness or, what’s worse, before we lose them. I once moved to Hawaii and found the myna birds, with their oversized heads and their yellow masks, rather comical looking. To me they looked funny and mischievous, always up to no good. I liked those birds. After some years, I had got so used to them that when my mother came to visit and wanted to photograph those little birds, I found it a waste of film. Sustaining a relationship requires a continuous effort, otherwise it loses its vitality.

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And finally in nature and human nature, there are surprisingly many similarities. Though romantics often idealize nature, there is pain and suffering, continuous competition, sickness and loss in nature too. A relationship is incomplete without the acceptance of the imperfections.

Nature has a lot to teach us. Though we all fight for our survival: for sustenance, for shelter, for the possibility to maintain our species – the cycle of life would not be possible without interconnections, interdependence and impermanence.

Nature helps us to mirror our relationships within the human community and allows us to practice our relationship skills early on. Nature is a compassionate and patient teacher, as it doesn’t push us, but allows us to find it out ourselves. The relationship we have with nature, the backbone to our wellbeing, can teach us most about ourselves.

Walden-Quote

END NOTE:
Our world is made up of relationships. A set of intricate links and bonds, tie us to everything in this Universe. These posts on our blog are created, not just to share interesting perspectives and new findings but also to link up with you and build a community of like minded forest friends. Know more>>.

Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. You can also subscribe to our monthly blog posts here. We are a small group of friends trying to find new ways to reconnect people with nature. Our aim is simple. Helping people heal. Helping forests heal.

 

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7 thoughts on “Relationship lessons from Nature

  1. Sitting by the lake, watching the breeze & sun make the water shimmer and gently flow…watching in the distance, a flock of dabchicks, wishing in my heart that they would come closer, give me some company. And then, over the hour that I sit by the lake, the dabchicks do come closer, gently swimming or simply allowing the water beneath them direct their movement. It is hard to not feel the connect there. It is hard to not believe that the nature outside connected with the need in my heart. And in that moment, parts of me settled, warmed by the acceptance from the birds, the wind & the lake.

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  2. I completely agree. I love going to the forest and listening to the rain or the sound of the ocean tide as it comes into the shore. Nature is healing and cathartic because in my belief, man came from the soil and it is the soil and every thing that comes from the soil which is healing. The energy we experience from the trees, the sun, water and the food that the soil produces is all meant to heal and sustain us. Balance. Creating relationships that are kind, patient, loving, empathetic, caring and compassionate requires that we often seek to understand the other before we make the other understanding us the priority. Removing the Ego also helps.

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  3. Oh whaw, in Belgium? I’m in Belgium, too, creating “Robur at The Oak”, a hobbitlike small ecologically built house (Robur) in a weekendzone in the forest/heather (The Oak), a place to connect with nature as a means to reconnect with oneself (especially for people with a burn-out; also for artists who want to work on their project). When not rented out, workshops can take place there, that have to do with rest, nature, healing or creativity – CONNECTION (relationship!).
    I’m convinced that reconnecting especially with trees is the most healing thing we can do for ourselves, our families, our society…
    Perhaps Katriina Kilpi would be interested in working together with Robur at The Oak! I’m currently working on the English version of the website http://www.roburopdeneik.org, hopefully it will be done in a few weeks!

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