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Head in the Clouds? No better way to nature relate!

2019, Jun 17 | A Practice for Summer

STORYTELLING

I learned a new word this week! PAREIDOLIA. We humans have two great needs in life: security and meaning. Our innate storytelling capability serves both. That´s why we experience pareidolia – that sensation of looking at something, like a cloud, and seeing a story about something that is not really there. Or IS it? Surely there is a heart in this photo.  But, of course, that is not even what a heart looks like. So, what ARE we seeing in the clouds? Love? Perhaps…What do YOU see? ⠀

Love in the sky

WHAT IS STORYTELLING?

Our brains have evolved to help us process lots of information in one moment. Our perceptual systems process patterns. When we see something we do not recognise, our brains scroll through their databases and match what we are looking at with something recognisable to help us make sense of the world. As our brains tell us stories to make us feel secure, and part of that security is understanding the meaning we find in our day to day life. We become anchored through purpose. 

STORYTELLING CAN HELP US RELATE TO NATURE

Looking at the clouds and telling stories suggested by our brain´s stored experiences seems the ultimate in nature related storytelling to me! Is there any more literal way that we can reinforce our identity as a part of nature than when we see our lives play out in the clouds? ⠀Our security, our meaning as a part of nature is showered upon us from the skies.

BEGINNER´S MIND

How about upping the wonder of wonder in your life with a few new questions about what is overhead? Embrace your inner Thoreau and have a chat with the clouds.  Ask yourself not only WHAT you see in the clouds, ask yourself WHY you are seeing what you see.  What does it tell you about your relationship with great big neighbourhood we all share, our biosphere? Is there security to be found in understanding that your vitality is interdependent with that of all forms of life? What new meaning would you find for your life if you looked at Earth from the perspective of the clouds?

 

RITUAL

We turn thoughts into actions through rituals – or literally acting out our values in the world. Here is a nature related ritual to help you on your journey identifying as a part of nature to build new awareness of the reality that nature is not OUT there, it is IN you.  As you go, you will discover feelings of reduced anxiety, increased creativity and empathy – which slowly, but surely, translate into seamless eco friendly habits in all parts of your life.  Healthy people generally are not self destructive. If you see the rest of the natural world as an extension of yourself, your self care habits extend to all the life that surrounds you. 

How do you make the invisible, visible?

How do you make the invisible, visible? Last year I had the delight of attending a conference at The British Library called Women and Climate Change where Christina Figueres spoke. Figueres was the Executive Secretary of the UN framework Convention on Climate Change and was the chief negotiator at the conference which resulted in the groundbreaking Paris Climate Agreement.

 
She asked the gathering to do whatever we could to make the invisible, visible because it was so challenging to make people realise that air is not nothingness – it is the essence of life. That our biosphere may appear transparent, but truly it is the ceiling that encases all life on Earth in one shared neighbourhood.
 

Clouds Remind Us That the Biosphere is our Neighbourhood, Everyday

Come to think of it, clouds make the invisible visible everyday as they condense and travel from one side of the world to the next. And when you lay back, pause and consider what it is we see in those clouds, you have the potential to discover what it means to be fully human by identifying as nature.
 
Asking questions about the science of weather is equally as important as considering why we make stories up about the clouds. It reminds us that air is not nothingness, it is everything-ness, that which creates and sustains life for all.  Our inherent ability to see the stories of our lives reflected in the clouds is sign that truly embracing what it means to be fully human, is embracing your true nature as an interdependent part of nature.
 

See the World from the Perspective of the Clouds

Nature related rituals can be incredibly simple.  After all, nature IS all around you. Shifting your mindset to shift your behaviour begins by slowing down to build your awareness of the story the life around you is trying to share. Look up at the sky.  Try to do it everyday! What shapes and stories do you see in the clouds? Why do you think THOSE are the stories that you tell? 
 
How does the cloud structure change on a daily basis? What does that mean about the weather? What does that mean about the hydro-cycle? Do you know how the hydro-cycle is changing as the seas and the air warm due to the climate crisis? 
 
And, what think is the MOST important question…if you were not looking up at the sky, but looking down upon earth from the perspective of the clouds, how might you answer those questions?  Your ability to even dream of seeing the world from the perspective of a cloud is a taste of what it feels like to be fully human and live life in your true nature, as a part of nature.  That is how you become the change for personal and planetary well being, from #headtohandstohabit