Plug into Nature, Plug into Creativity

Jul 06, 2020

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Nature was the theme of last month’s Creative Mornings conversation and Brisbane’s chapter held their session online via Zoom. The morning kicked off with a groovy DJ set by 8man, a juicy yoga stretch by Shane Andrew from Unplugged Yoga. Followed by an energetic healing/guided meditation by Jamie from Wayapa Wuurrk. Then Dr Mahdi Mason and Kathy Gardiner gave talks centred around nature and creativity. I was so inspired by the session, I’m going to share some of the ideas Kathy and Mahdi presented for how to include more nature time into our day to day lives.

Sun rays through the trees inspiring creativity in nature

Dr Mahdi Mason is an environmental scientist, author and land healer. Mahdi’s goal is to help people connect with nature and take action to turn around the ‘damage that we’ve done’.

Rather than tell everyone how bad things are and that they have to change and do better. Mahdi’s approach to our current environmental crisis is to have people experience and appreciate nature for themselves. For example, seeing a mother bird feeding her baby or a whale breach up close. Mahdi says when people experience the biophilia of nature, they instinctively want to take care and protect it.

Mahdi recommends spending twenty minutes in nature per day. Time with nature refers to a physical connection; your feet on the earth or sitting on the earth, gardening, touching plants and soil. Even ten minutes in nature per day has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, pain and anxiety. Mahdi says you’ll notice a difference after ten minutes per day but twenty minutes per day will transform your life!

Dandelion flower inspiring creativity in nature

These are Mahdi’s suggestions for simple ways to get your nature time every day:

Start your day by having your coffee or tea in the yard with bare feet. Take notice of what birds are passing by? Is the moon still out?

Start doing your exercise routine on the grass. For example, running, skipping, situps, pushups, squats etc. Some people may be concerned about having their bare feet on the earth. But Mahdi reminds us that we’re designed to walk barefoot. Our feet are so well equipped with thousands of years of evolution to keep the nasties out.

If you have a dog, take your shoes off during your walks.

If you have kids, take your shoes off while you play with them in the backyard and playground. Take their shoes off too, let them run around and climb trees with bare feet.

If you take your kids to sports on the weekend, sit on the grass rather than on chairs.

While you’re working from home, take phone calls outside sitting or standing with bare feet on the earth.

Check your emails from a local park or your backyard.

If you’re in the city and spend a lot of time in an office, go to the botanical gardens at lunchtime.

Gardening is another great way to connect. Make it a routine by weeding on the weekends and watering during the week.

At night time you can still connect to nature, stargaze or have a fire in your backyard.

Both Mahdi and Kathy recommend Wayapa as a great way to connect with nature. Wayapa Wuurrk is an earth connection practice based on ancient indigenous wisdom that focuses on taking care of the earth as the starting point for creating earth mind body spirit well-being.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing like hiking somewhere or going for a big drive to the beach. There are many ways we can incorporate nature into our everyday lives. How will you connect to nature today?

A suburban sunset showing the beauty of nature in the city

Kathy Gardiner is a self-taught artist and illustrator who draws inspiration from the female form, nature, botanicals, fashion and the yesteryear. For Kathy, nature is a safe space, it makes her feel calm, connected and happy. Nature has played a huge part in her healing journey from cancer. Kathy says,

‘One of the beautiful things with being out in nature is that she just listens. She’s not judging, she’s just there to make you feel like you’re embraced by her, the greater things. You’re a small element in the whole scheme of things but you always feel nurtured in her embrace.’

Kathy sees mother nature as a great muse for her work. ‘Nature teaches you how to respect the subject or scene you’re illustrating.’ As creative beings, we are inspired by nature’s colours and textures in our work. Nature helps us understand shapes and lines and patterns.

Creating in Nature Cork & Chroma

Here are Kathy’s suggestions for how you can bring nature into your creative practice:

Exploring eco-solutions to the materials that you use.

Participating in community events and projects.

Learning about the land and local habitats around you.

Aligning yourself with brands and clients who share the same vision and values as you.

Get out there and do your work in the environment and explore!

Mahdi and Kathy’s stories and experiences had me reflecting on the influence nature has on my creative practice and wellbeing. I notice that I do feel better when I’m connected with the earth and when I spend time in nature. Thanks to these suggestions, I am feeling inspired with new ways to incorporate nature into my day to day life. I hope these have sparked some ideas for you too.

Water colour painting en plein air

Creative prompt: Go outside and find something small from nature to draw or paint. It could be a leaf or a twig, some bark or a flower. You could either sit outside with your subject or take it home to draw. Begin by observing your chosen piece of nature. Spend at least five minutes looking and exploring your subject. Notice the colours, lines, patterns, textures, light and shadows. You could begin by choosing an element of your subject that appeals to you most and draw or paint it in your journal. It could be the tiny veins twisting and branching or the underside of a petal. This is a great way to warm up rather than diving headfirst and trying to capture the whole thing. Notice how you feel during and after this creative exercise. Do you feel more grounded? More connected to nature?

Watercolour dandelion painting en plein air

Find out more:

Creative Mornings – Sign up in your city!
Wayapa Wurrk – Connect and learn.
Kathy Gardiner – The Naked Gardiner.
Dr Mahdi Mason – Book, Earth Healing: Healing the Earth to Heal Ourselves.

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