Writing a Letter to Mother Nature
This the big kahuna, writing a “Letter to Mother Nature”.
I have been doing this for the better part of the past decade at the suggestion of my beloved Auntie Lynn. Auntie is a guru in finding practical ways to tend to one´s spiritual life. Great gobs of what I have learned about being a resilient human, I have cultivated from her guidance. Writing a Letter to Mother Nature is a nature related ritual that I inherited from Auntie and have passed on to many friends looking for some realignment in the New Year.
HOW THIS RITUAL CULTIVATES YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE
This exercise enables you to channel Janus, the Roman God of new beginnings and the namesake of the month of January. Janus had two heads. One head looked backwards and the other forwards. Like Janus, this exercise engages you in a bit of reflection, and a bit of prognostication with the objective of rooting yourself in the present. Like the humans who started the traditions of resolution setting as an act that aligned them with something bigger than themselves, this exercise engages you in your relationship with nature.
January is about new beginnings and embracing uncertainty with resilience and faith in creating your best life. Writing a Letter to Mother Nature is a process that kindles your ability to set intent, to accept that there is little in life under your control, and trust that your relationship with nature will provide you with the resilience to meet any challenge that may come your way – and equally to recognise and revel in the moments of joy that will surely present themselves to you in the year to come.
HOW THIS RITUAL CULTIVATES YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO NATURE
Writing a Letter to Mother Nature allows you to reflect on your experiences in the past year and give gratitude for what they brought to your life. That doesn’t mean that all your experiences were positive or easy. But, this is a moment to pause and reflect on how you approached the good and the challenging and where they have brought you to in your life.
And that is your launching off point. Where are you right now? Physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? Where do you want to be this time next year? And, specifically, what is your plan for getting there? What do you have to cultivate in your world, in your relationship with nature to be where you want to be in all aspects of your life as a living being? Taking time out to write this letter allows you to set an intent for the year that focuses you on gratitude, acceptance and trust that all will be as it should. And that trust is your resolve to listen and use all of your senses in a deeper way in the coming year. As we progress through the year you will be amplifying this exercise through the other nature relatedness practices that we will be exploring.
WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS ACTIVITY
• COMFY CLOTHES AND A COSY SPOT
• MATCHES OR A LIGHTER
HOW TO WRITE A LETTER TO MOTHER NATURE
Sit down (perhaps by the light of your candle on new year´s eve or new year´s day) with a pen and paper. Do this old fashioned style. There is no rushing. Putting pen to paper slows you down, and, creates a tangible document that you are going to need when you are done. ct like you are writing a diary or a journal entry. Here are some questions to get you going:
1.) Put the date and place at the top of your letter and get personal with a salutation. Mother Nature is your pal, greet her that way. This is about developing a personable nature with her. Whether you greet her with a ´hey girl´or a Dear Gladys, matters not. What matters is that you develop familiarity with talking to nature with kindness. So give a little joyous thought to your tone. How would you greet and communicate with a dear, dear friend?
2.) Now share with your mate the highlights of your past year. What were you most grateful for and why? Think about this in terms of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Not just the big and wonderful things that happened, but perhaps how you responded to or learned from the more difficult circumstances. How did they bring you to this point, right now, where you have put pen to paper to write to Mother Nature? Share that with her.
3.) Now you´re ready to jump off to the future. What do you want to manifest in the New Year and WHY? Think about what you want to achieve, but also how you want to do it. Again, think through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Meaning, you need not feel you must only think about the tangible (such as; I want a new flat, to meet the love of my life, take up gardening).
It is generally more effective if you think through the more intangible things that you are hoping to develop in the new year and then create a tangible plan for how to achieve it. Last year, I felt caught in a cycle of complaining too much. When I would catch up with friends, I felt like I was moaning more than I was laughing, questioning, marvelling at the good stuff. In my letter to the universe, I asked to better understand why I was complaining and then target the things in my life that were causing griping to be my default mindset. The process of reflection led me to realise that my life was imbalanced. I had been working on projects that had me travelling and living in multiple places and I wasn’t finding it intellectually stimulating. Physically, I was exhausted and missing routine. Emotionally, I was missing the joy of day to day life with my partner. Mentally, I was rather bored as I wasn’t being intellectually challenged. Spiritually, well, I was letting all of the above separate me from my nature relatedness practices and I was becoming a glass half full kind of gal.
The reflection on this ´intangible´ in my Letter to Mother Nature lead me to the decision that I needed a job better fitted to my values and skill set, that I wanted that to be based in the same city as my partner, that I needed to prioritise social time as well as spiritual time. I set myself a practical plan for doing this and asked Mother Nature to help me on my way. Get introspective, get creative, get specific.
4.) Before you close out your letter, thinking through how you want to pay more attention not Mother Nature in the new year and why. If you have some ideas for how, great. If not, we will be exploring plenty of activities through this book. But it is important to thinking specifically about your nature with relationship at this stage too.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR LETTER
Letter written? Okay. Next step is to read it…OUT LOUD. I am serious. READ IT OUT LOUD. I go outside to do this. I have done it with tears streaming down my cheeks in a snowy Swedish forest, I have done it snuggled in my bed, I have done it standing on the waterfront under a cloak of stars. I have done it alone, I have done it with a trusted friend. It doesn’t matter where you do it, it matters that you do, do it.
Reading your letter aloud is a positive feedback loop for your brain and your heart. You are solidifying your intent by vocalising it. There is a courage in this, because you are not alone. With every word you utter you take you are sinking your deepest hopes and sincerest gratitude with air that circulates in and out of your body and connects you to all of the natural world.
Once you have read your letter out loud, here comes the tricky bit. Burn it. Burn your letter. The point of this exercise is not to have a letter that you can review in a year´s time. The point of the exercise is to set your intent to develop a more trusting relationship with the flow of nature. You are testing your ability to believe.
Burning isn’t always easy, particularly if you aim to do this outside in January. Last year, I had a particularly amusing time doing this with a good friend. On a blustery 1 January evening, Jane and I read our letters out loud and then aimed to set them alight.
Let’s just say it took multiple attempts of different candle/match/park bench shield contortions before we decided to take shelter behind a wall at the nearby Opera House. Success! As the paper hit its steady pace of burn, a security guard pulled up. How we were going to explain that we were not bumbling arsonists to the authorities caused a moment of panic. Low and behold, the guard took one look at us and walked on by. Maybe he really didn’t notice the flames behind our backs? Regardless, we took it as a sign that nothing was going to block our intent to reach a more harmonised flow with nature in the coming year…and that Mother Nature has one heck of a sense of humour!
If you want to capture something from this experience, jot down how the process made you feel and put that in an envelope. Your keepsake to reflect on in one year’s time.