Many people want to deepen their felt sense of connection to nature. One of my favorite exercises is the Sit Spot Ritual. This exercise was made popular by John Young. I have adapted it here: The most potent way to develop a strong and intimate relationship with the wild world is to become very familiar with one outdoor spot over time. Visit this spot as often as you can (at least 20 minutes/day is optimal) and get to know it at all times of the day and night, in all seasons and in all types of weather. Treat your daily visit to your sit spot as a sacred ritual. After all, spending time in your sit spot will bring you into deep communion with nature – both the nature that is you and the nature all around you. This connection will nourish, stretch, teach, and fulfill you beyond your wildest expectations.
Tips for finding your spot…
First of all, your sit spot should be VERY CONVENIENT for you to get to. It is not important that the spot be idyllic or that it be your favorite place on Earth. It is important, however, that it be easy to get to and that its close proximity (within a five-minute walk of your home or work) compels you to visit it every day. A place in your backyard is most likely the best sit spot for you!
Secondly, your spot should feel comfortable and safe. You need to be able to relax here. As you try out various locations, listen to your body and your intuition and go for the spot where you feel most at ease and open.
Finally, the more natural diversity around you the better. A combination of open meadow, some shrubs, brambles, and/or bushes, some trees, and a water element (i.e., creek, pond) are ideal. Obviously, most people won’t have this. It’s ok! I promise that even if you have a single rose bush and a concrete patio, your sit spot ritual will be transformational for you!
When you approach your spot for your daily visits, do so quietly and with mindfulness. While you are there…
Settle into yourself – get comfortable, breathe deeply, relax your body, greet yourself with kindness
Set an intention to connect with the natural world around you – let go of distractions
Turn your attention to what you smell, hear, see, feel – really experience the sounds of the birds, the temperature of the air on your skin, the smell of the plants growing around you
Get curious, wonder about things, and let it be ok to not have to know anything – this is about connection not information or knowledge
If it adds to your connection, take a journal with you and write down what you notice
Give thanks if gratitude arises within you
Say goodbye to your spot and your wild friends when you are ready to go
If you are able, tell people about your experiences there. Make sure these people are good listeners and supportive of what you are up to! This nature connection practice is very popular in the permaculture community.Inspired by Jon Young’s book: “Coyote’s guide to connecting with nature.”