As we closed the call, I felt utterly bereft.
A wave of intense emotion swept through me, as my connection to the mindful photography students was severed.
Yes, I have always found goodbyes difficult, but the strength of my reaction was not something I’d anticipated. It almost knocked the breath out of me, as it whooshed up from my stomach to my throat, creating a void as it went.
I’m sitting here writing this a few hours later, as I needed a little time to process and reflect. I can still reconnect with the intensity of those emotions, even now. I rather hope I am always able to get in touch with the feelings, to be honest. It was a special moment.
As I pondered this reaction, I realised that over the last 2 months I’d become rather fond of each of the participants. Getting to really know them was a privilege. They each had their own personalities, and it might sound strange but although we knew very little about each other in terms of basic facts, we really connected and shared our true selves.
Everyone was always present, not just in body but also in mind, and we and gently supported each other with moments of emotion, exploration and evaluation.
We went much deeper than the surface level stuff. Using the medium of nature photography makes mindfulness and meditation so much more accessible; the perfect way to learn mindfulness for beginners. One thing that really struck me was that everyone joined every week; nobody missed a single session. I think this says a lot. One of the reasons I created Adore Your Outdoors was to create a community of like-minded humans. People who ‘got each other on a deep level’.
We’d created that, and boom – it was gone.
When you add mindfulness to nature connectedness, you get more than the sum of the two parts.
What is Mindful Photography?
Intentional, slow, immersive photography in nature. More than simply snapping away.
You’ll learn the science and possible benefits of mindfulness and nature connectedness, and enjoy lots of interaction and connection through meditation, mindful photography exercises and group discussion. You try lots of different types of meditation (visualisations, mindful eating and drinking, breathwork, mindful movement etc) and I hold and safe space for you all as things can, and do, come up.
Developing your sense of self-compassion (and compassion for others and nature), gratitude and resilience isn’t always a comfortable journey! But by adding in photography and nature it becomes so much more accessible, it’s the perfect mindfulness for beginners course and you’ll learn techniques to help you cope with increased anxiety as we emerge from the pandemic.
And you’ll be able to reconnect with the full mindful experience every time you look at the photos, so you have a memento too.
What is Nature Connectedness?
The 5 ways to nature connectedness as defined by the University of Derby are beauty, emotion, the senses, meaning and compassion and aspects are incorporated into each of the lessons. When you develop your sense of connection to nature, realising you are part of nature rather than separate from it, you begin to feel compassion for the natural world. And with this comes more pro-environmental behaviour. Being more connected to nature is proven to reduce anxiety and stress, increase happiness and health and lead to an increased ability to feel kindly towards others.
This journey was so much more than anyone expected. Here’s what one participant shared afterwards:
“The best thing about the course was the progressive bond within the group and the willingness to talk about personal mental health. I have certainly become more mindful and more attuned to the nature that is all around me. With staying at home still likely to be a factor for some time, that is so important. I find myself now slowing down and really immersing myself in my surroundings and feeling much calmer and stronger as I go through my day”.
Hearing how the course has helped my customers is like receiving a huge hug. And after the year we’ve had, you can imagine how good it feels!
How does the Mindful Nature Photography Course work on zoom?
The majority of the course is done indoors on a laptop or tablet. The mindful photography exercises are done outdoors with phones or cameras, which breaks up the screen time.
The content is spread across 4 sessions of 2 hours each. There are homework exercises each week and a private Facebook group in which to share photos and interact. There’s no need for any fancy camera kit and the course is suitable for beginners.
As with all my events, the experience is one that’s personal to you, although you are with a group and being guided by me. You will interpret the photography exercises in your own way, and you will experience the meditations in the way that’s right for you at that moment. There is no right or wrong.
Find out more
The next courses start on Wednesday 21st April 3-5 pm, and Saturday 12th June 10 am – 12 pm. They run for 4 consecutive weeks and cost £139. I also run 1hr tenner-tasters if you’d like to find out more before committing, and the next one is Sat 15th May 3 pm. As time moves on, I will very likely forget to update these dates 🙂 but the links below will always be current.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.