I’ve always kept a journal. Sometimes my busy life didn’t allow me to visit it every day, but it was always there, faithfully waiting for me. My journal is my venting nozzle, my self- exploration tool. Within its pages, I develop ideas, understand myself and others, find my voice, and learn to slow down and ponder.
Recently I started experimenting with nature journaling. With our urban high tech life, we tend to drift more and more apart from nature and this kind of journaling was a reminder, a restorative measure for this essential relationship.
Nature journaling allowed me to deepen my relationship with earth and nature. For me, it was a safe place for meditation and deep thinking. Putting my thoughts, ideas and observations on paper helped me developing those ideas further gaining wisdom and insights on nature and its beauty, and on the magnificence of the creations around me. It taught me hidden wisdoms and precious lessons and drew me closer my Creator by awakening my senses and touching my spiritual insight. Connecting to nature helped me connecting to my roots and my deeply held feelings. Exploring my outer environment was a step towards exploring my inside world. My nature journal was a great opportunity for personal growth and spiritual enlightenment.
How to keep a nature journal?
Your journal is your personal sanctuary where you write about the beauty of nature, you write about your feelings, your reactions towards natural places, living and non-living creatures, plants, rocks, shells, mountains, bees, spiders and ants… In your journal, you express your gratitude, awe and wonder…In your journal your draw sketches, gather information, take phonographs, stick down samples of leaves, petals, feathers, or insects; or glue down ephemeras or photos of rocks, insects, and animals… Through your nature journal, you gain insight into Nature's beauty, and into your Creator’s power, wisdom and blessings.
How to start:
Ø Observing nature is the most important step in connecting with it. Stop and watch with a keen eye. Take your time. Slow down and relax. Describe the grass in our backyard, the tree on your sidewalk greeting you on your way to work; listen to the tiny rocks, to the crunchy autumn leaves; admire the ants in the cracks of the pavement and the beetle on the shady petals… describe them as you feel them, as you deeply see and understand them.
Ø Listen to Nature's voice. Listen to the wind, the trees, the songs of the birds and the whisper of the insects…describe these sounds and voices in your journal; write about what the birds were saying, what the flowers, the trees, the sea, the waves and the shells told you…Interact with the natural world and consider how you are part of that ecosystem and that diversity.
Ø Touch the sand, the grass, the lakes… build sand castles, feel the texture of the shells and leaves…walk barefoot on the grass, on the seashore, feel the ground and connect with it.
Ø Notice different smells and aromas around you; good or bad, sharp or faint… Describe them in your own words. Raw them in your own colors.
Ø Whenever and wherever it is safe get a taste of nature: taste the honey of the bees, the nectar of edible flowers, the salty water of the sea, the bitterness of the unripe olives…
Ø Incorporate your feelings, mood, make it personal let it speak through your soul. Let it touch it and heal it.
Ø Put all your observations, thoughts and feelings in writing. Don’t worry about grammar and vocabulary just let your writing flow, you can edit later if you wish. Use whatever style you like: lists, paragraphs, dialogue, stories, similes…
Ø Don’t forget to record the date and the location. Give it a title.
Ø Incorporate drawings and sketches into your journal. You do not have to be great artist; you can use simple stick figures, abstract images or mere colors to convey your mood.
Ø Add photographs or press a leaf or a flower between pages of your journal. Collage pictures from related magazines or articles about the topic that interests you.
Ø Revisit a place in different seasons, record the changes, and contemplate your feelings about those changes, which time is closer to your heart and soul, why?