Explore Nature – both your inner spaces and the places around you
Nature of Belonging
Belonging is a tricky path to navigate. It has internal and external aspects to it. Watch the presentation to delve a little deeper into the Nature of Belonging.
Nature of Family
What is Family? These days families come in all different shapes and sizes. This wonderful variety and less rigid structures than in the past, allows for each of us to find our own sense of healthy connection with kin. Have you ever thought about the kind of family you have now or the kind of family you want in the future?
Much has been written about our psychological development as human beings. I have chosen to refer to the work of Richard Barrett, president of the Barrett Academy for the Advancement of Human Values.
Family is so important in our development. As babies and then children we rely on our primary caregivers to help us meet our basic physical needs, but also for a sense of safety and protection. Around the age of 8 is when we start to look beyond our immediate caregivers for recognition and a sense of value within our broader community. This stage of development can continue into our mid-twenties. What is important to note, I think, is how family connections set the foundation for us as we venture into the world.
Looking at a diagram like this one adapted from Richard Barrett’s Seven Stages of Psychological Development inspires me to stay true to my life’s journey. Which stage of development do you think you are at right now? Where would you aim for in the future?
Nature of Connection
UBUNTU– I am because we are.
Ubuntu is a proverb that comes from Zulu tradition. It seems to me that many groups of African people have a similar philosophy in their world view.
I love this philosophy – that we share this experience of humanity as a collective. It comes with a wonderful sense of connection and belonging to others, but it also implies a great sense of responsibility for how we treat other people. We all share this human experience. What affects one will affect all.
Personally, I take the philosophy of Ubuntu one step further. “I am because WE are”. For me the WE includes all life on this planet. I share this experience of living with all life in Nature. This means I have a responsibility to tread lightly and mindfully – to treat Nature as I would want to be treated. What are your thoughts on this?
Nature of Compassion
Just like people, in order to have postive mental welfare animals need the right kind of food, health care, environment and opportunity to express their natural behaviours.
The five domains model of animal welfare shown in the diagram should apply to any animals that interact with humans, like pets or domestic animals, and even the ones we may use as a food resource.
Using a model like this when looking after animals is one way we show compassion and kindness to these other living beings we share the planet with. These animals deserve to have positive experiences in their lifetime where possible, just like we do. The same goes for plants and trees.
Reflect on this idea of Compassion.
Nature of Mother Earth
As humans we rely on many ecological and environmental services that happen in Nature for our survival as a species.
We are so connected to the parts of the planet that are habitable by humans. If we don’t look after Mother Earth our own survival as a species is at risk. The future of your children and grandchildren is in jeopardy.
Over the past 100 years humans have been developing new technologies at a frantic pace. A lot of this technology has improved the life of millions, allowing more of our species to survive and to live longer. But only now are we beginning to realise the toll this has taken on Mother Earth.
Let us focus on climate change. You may have heard about this before. Climate change is arguably the biggest unforeseen impact of human technological advancement on our environment.
At times, issues like climate change can feel very overwhelming and we can feel that we are powerless to solve these immense problems. But the truth is that hope and encouragement start with awareness and education. With knowledge comes power to problem solve. If we can put our growing understanding together with our Connections to our Family and community Values, just think of what we can achieve!
Let’s be mindful of Mother Earth and show gratitude for how much she provides for us.