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There is nothing new in taking lessons from the natural world, after all our species has been doing is for ever. From the time when Nature was all there was, it has been not just the backdrop to our live and the environment we lived in, it has supplied all our needs. Everything we relied on for life came from our surroundings. First the necessities, shelter, food, warmth, then the less obvious forms of nourishment; entertainment, belonging, inspirations.

We often forget these days just how connected we have been with the natural world and how being outside is as much a part of us as are eating and drinking. As an urban society we have lost touch with this to such and extent that we suffer for it (author Richard Louv coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’).

Even the term ‘outside world’ creates an unnatural separation; we are all part of nature so inner and outer are interdependent. If we perceive them to be separate that’s how we’ll experience them, and there’s the tragedy.

Yet we do know, at some level, where to go when we seek healing or solace. We instinctively turn to nature – through walking, travel, or just sitting in the park – when we are troubled or when we are getting over something. But why wait until our spirit is broken before we decide to fix it? When we think of Nature not is just as a healer but also as teacher we can draw inspiration, learning and motivation from the natural world.

Being mindful of our surroundings is a habit anyone can develop, given the opportunity.

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