How are you today? What is happening within you? What’s happening outside? Is the Sun shining right now? I’m sitting at my computer at 5 am. Typing this out. The roads outside are relatively quiet and the birds aren’t awake yet. The wind is bringing with it a crispness, some faint scents and the promise of a new day. I’d like to pass on its energy to you and welcome you to the mini Green Connect eCourse. You must be eager to read on, I ask that before you do so, you read this blog. It will give you a good grounding as to why we are doing this.
I’d like to tell you a story. This happened when I was trekking one day in the forests of Bhagamandala. We were a group of 8 and the leaders were “hardcore trekkers”. They had been pushing us to cover ground since the start of the trek a few hours back. Walking very fast, almost bulldozing their way through the ecosystem with nary a look to the side.
Bhagamandala is a part of the Western Ghats and we could see around us, great lianas (woody climbers) connecting one enormous tree to the other, orchids, unknown birds, strange insects, ferns and green everywhere. But, us poor city folk needed to get somewhere and we didn’t have time, as usual, to really appreciate the place we had come to.
Trodding along, I try to keep up with the others. To my left, I spot a whole field of ferns, dry now, waiting for the next rains. They have all turned the colour of golden molasses and just at the right spot, a ray of sunshine hits a leaf, making it glitter. Once more, I assert to myself that I can never again come to the forests on a time schedule and turn away… when it hits me. It hit all of us in varying degrees and we stop for a bit to take it in. Bay Leaf trees…
Deciduous trees with leaves that turn aromatic when dry. Their scent is what lends fragrance to Pulavs or Biryanis amongst other things. Deep in the forest, nobody has bothered with harvesting the leaves and as they lie, a thick carpet of crackle on the ground, the slightest movement releases their aroma into the air. It would be almost another 6 min before we reach the tree, but the generous dose of olfactory stimulants that the wind carried was strong enough to make us stop in our tracks.
I watched these people who were bulldozing just a few minutes back, connect. All it took for them to start grounding themselves was this one call. Would you like to do this for yourself? We come to the practical part of the course.
You can do this with anyone else who is interested, if you can, take a child out with you. If the rest of the folk are open to it, go as a family. If you are a teacher, take your entire class out. You don’t need a forest, a simple garden would do. I’ve often done these exercises on the roadside! Just make sure to find a place you feel safe and comfortable in. And simply follow the rest of the instructions.
In groups of no more that 4, do this challenge list.
- Find 4 different textures to walk on, make at least 3 of them natural. Walk on each for as long as you would like.
- Find 6 leaves that feel different, that have different textures. Do they smell different?
- Find a tree that is comfortable to climb on. (if needed this can be changed to touch as much of the tree as possible and see if you can find different sensations on it)
- Knock on the bark of 3 different trees, do they sound different?
- Can you find one edible wild plant around? How does it taste?
- Can you find a flower that has three colours on it?
Feel free to let go of inhibitions, sense with all your heart and for the moment, simply do that. You don’t need to learn, you don’t need to improve or perform. You simply need to look, watch, smell, taste, touch, hear and thoroughly enjoy them all.
When your group has done that, share stories with each other of interesting things you sensed. Listen to what everyone has to say and just absorb it all. If you are doing it alone, save up the story and tell it to someone who will listen. You could even tell us. Now take the time to just soak in the feeling of being present. Sit or stand or lie down and just for a minute, realise that you are there. That you are there, my friend, amongst these beautiful, life-giving creatures who enjoy the fact that you are listening and present.
If you are with a child, don’t force this part. See if the child would like to sit, if not, let it be. Use that moment of storytelling to bring the child’s energy to a level where he or she can pay attention.
When you need to, come away.
That is all you need to do this week. As adults, we often need reasons and a lot of science and theory to justify what we do, and we will look at that a little later. But for now, just let go. If you are with me until this point, I very much doubt you would underestimate the power of this exercise. Do it as often as you would like, where ever you would like and I will talk to you next week. Happy Connecting.
PS. If you haven’t put in your email ID here, please do. That will enable us to send you the rest of the course.