they emerge happier, more satisfied, and more optimistic with life," said Dahlgren, noting how nature offers a much-needed escape from the stimuli of the modern world. "When we're not on overload, it's far easier to open up and begin to unpack your own psychological process."
A Wandering We Will Go
Nature-connected coaching often involves what Dahlgren calls a "wander." This multisensory experience invites you to simply experience the natural world around you, while noticing what draws your attention. "A wander is a form of mindfulness where you open all your senses to the forest and let your feet go where they want to go," said Dahlgren, who serves as a guide. "The forest doesn't have an agenda. It allows us to see our inner lives in what we observe in nature. As nature reveals itself, we reveal ourselves." When experienced in a mindful way, a stagnant pool of water or a foraging forest animal can carry worlds of meaning. Dead leaves or a broken limb may reflect our own brokenness or grief. An acorn might whisper of untapped potential. Other hallmarks of nature- connected coaching include rituals to support new habits, such as nature-inspired meditation, and ceremonies that work on a deeper level to prepare us for the transformation we seek.
Roots and Wings
Those who participate in nature-connected coaching often gain a more meaningful, lifelong relationship with nature. Self-confidence is another side effect, as we learn that we can count on ourselves - and nature - to navigate whatever life brings our way. "Nature-connected coaching develops a sense of awe and respect for the world around us. It invites the client to develop a practice of seeking nature for direction or answers to questions that are arising for them," said Josp. "The answers are all within us. And when we go out and connect with nature, nature reflects our goodness, our truth back to us." Ultimately, there may be no better place to gain insight than the great outdoors, where harsh realities cannot be negotiated or denied. "Nature always has the last say. You can't talk the sky out of raining. And no matter how we scream at the river, it's not going to lower itself. We have to figure out how to get across," said Dahlgren. "You can reach your personal edge pretty quickly in the wilderness, and that's a pretty good place to be for growth."
terrain March/April 2021
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WHAT IS NATURE- CONNECTED COACHING?
Nature-connected coaching is an approach to coaching developed in connection with nature (not in a simple "presence" of nature). It's aimed at restoring human beings to their natural ability to take care of themselves, of other living creatures (human and non- human), and the Earth. Learn more at EarthBasedCoachPhD.com and EarthBasedInstitute.org.
: Dr. Lisa Dahlgren, nature-connected life coach.Previous Page