21 April 2020

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In case you missed it, Emma member Claire Thompson (2005) is designing short mindfulness activities each week for us, to share with the college community during this difficult time See last week's exercise or join in with the new activity below:

Oak leaves on a tree, in full sun.An 'Interview' with Nature

How might the rest of the natural world around us be experiencing life? Of course, we’ll never know the answer, but that's not the point. This week's suggested practice is merely about asking the question.

Connecting with non–human parts of the natural world can be a powerful way to feel our innate belonging in nature—especially in these times of social isolation. This week's exercise is an invitation to nurture curiosity and compassion towards the rest of the natural world we share the planet with by 'interviewing' a mineral, a plant or an animal. Find a description of the 'Interview with Nature' exercise here.

It's important to clarify that engaging with nature in this way does not equate to anthropomorphism. In fact, it’s the opposite. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics or behaviours to other living things. Instead, this exercise is an invitation to let go of our human perspective and wonder what the world may be like from another perspective—like we perhaps used to when we were children.

As AA Milne writes in Winnie the Pooh: "Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though, that's the problem". What if we could be humble enough to learn from the natural world? What if we paid more attention to minerals, plants and animals with an open mind and heart?

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