by GSCA Member, Gail Condrick

Do you have a connection with Nature?

When you are able to go outside what draws you?

For many going “outside” equates to goal-oriented physical activities, such as getting 10,000 steps in, participating in sports, or completing yard work.  All are good activities with scientifically proven benefits that have their place in your personal and health practices.

But what if you balance those practices by choosing to go “outside” to go inward?  Or Going Out to Go In.

For the past year I have been teaching people to do just that.   What started as nature-inspired creativity and writing courses based on my book, Walking the Grove; Journal of a Sacred Encounter, had new connections as expressed by participants. More than 40 women from London to San Francisco, Florida to Connecticut, Louisiana to Arizona, in a variety of climates and circumstances reported similar findings in their post-course evaluations.

These are a few responses:

“It’s hard to express the meaningfulness and depth of truly giving nature our attention.  I had the experience of my heart opening in a way that has made a difference in my life as a whole and I think is going to continue to reverberate.”

“In these uncertain times a bit of quiet listening to the wind in the trees or the ocean waves and birdsong is nourishment for the soul.”

“I learned to take a moment and let the world sit with me instead of feeling like it’s not alright to be alone.”

“Going deeper into reflection and understanding my connection with the natural world was a challenge. Learning how to seek that beauty within is my next step.”

What I have learned is that making a connection with the natural world is achievable for everyone under all circumstances.   It begins with a willingness to develop a relationship with nature and to go inward to receive external messages.


Here are a few tips to start:

  1. To go inward begin by slowing down to appreciate what is in your line of sight. Observe the view from your window.  Breathe deeply, rest, and look out at the same time each day, gradually noticing details of wildlife, light, and the impact of shifts in the weather.
  2. Move out into your immediate neighborhood and practice going inward while walking around the block. Walk as if you were a three-year-old, stopping to gaze at every flower or weed, leaf, and bird.   Sustain your breath and note the expansion of your awareness.
  3. Take your inward practice to a city park, the woods, or the beach. Continue what you have experienced in prior exercises and find a place to sit and observe. Watch the world continue without you. Humble up.  Repeat often.

The benefits of going outside to go inward can sustain your health and well-being in the most difficult times.  It starts by building a relationship to the natural world just as you would build a relationship with a new friend.  It may be an instant attraction, or a slow build, but the fruit of this relationship is just as satisfying as any good friendship and it may even become a life-long love affair.

You may be surprised to find that the natural world wants you, just as much as you want to know it.   It may even begin to speak to you, encourage you, and invite you to share your awareness with others, or so I have heard.