Spirit in Nature is a Saturday and holiday program of uplifting activities for children ages 2-12. The programs that I am creating takes advantage of the natural beauty of a variety of local parks and provides children with joyous experiences. Program activities, including yoga, crafts, and bird-watching, are designed to foster positive attitudes and mindfulness to have a lasting beneficial effect on children’s lives. Today I had the opportunity to work with two young sisters. It was an entirely different nature outing from yesterday but both had their strengths. As a teacher I had to be creative and mindful of the beauty and the differences.
Today the girls were ages 6 and 8. Both of these young ladies are very intuitive, expansive and have an ability to express their feelings maturely in almost every situation today. I was captivated by how they tuned into nature so quickly without me having to talk very much. We were able to just feel, listen and explore nature together. Often times they would just walk quietly listening, or notice a still section of the stream.
The Education for Life system is divided up into four "Stages of Maturity". Each stage of childhood is expressed naturally and we have developed strategies that help unlock children's highest potential.
Today these young ladies were a magnet for feeling life. They had the ability with maturity to harness and channel any turbulent emotions between siblings while being in touch with their own calm,sensitive natures. I was able to relate to each child individually and they were able to joyfully relate to each other in an harmonious way.
Each had their own strengths but I also felt we all were enjoying nature simultaneously together.
|"I am calm and poised"|
We began the morning much like yesterday. We sang two opening songs, a short prayer and yoga to begin our day. This was very sweet and deeply inspiring, as they showed me their favorite asanas. Both of these girls have been in my Yoga classes at the Living Wisdom School and the Living Wisdom Day Camp. I love how they can incorporate energy, magnetism and expansion. The backward bend below has such an upward motion of expansion from the heart.
It was magical today as the sun was blessing us in the meadow.
|" I am free, I am free.|
We finished our yoga and began to play the "Animal game". This was fun and spontaneous. Children love secrets at this age so acting out the animal is perfect for this age group.
|She was the baby "fry" in the stream.|
We quickly headed up the path in search of the baby salmon. But today the holding tank had been closed so the girls weren't able to view the imprinting tank. This didn't stop them, the river seemed to draw their attention right away. They got in it immediately by wading, touching, feeling and exploring. They looked at the smallest miniature fungus to the largest expansive trees over head.
|Mosses of all types, mushrooms, sporophytes and a log that was cut on the path. How old is this tree? About 50 life cycles we counted. " Hey, that tree is older than my mom!"|
|"Can you feel the energy from the sun, Chandi"|
|One of the girls, just looked up at the sky and said to me:"Chandi, isn't that blue sky just magnificent? She begins to take another deep breath filling her whole energy body with color.|
|Even the drains at the salmon tank were beautiful with many layers of different stories told. We also talked about how we could create clay presses and multiple patterns on paper drawings with crayons.|
There were so many layers of exploring in one morning. During one quiet interlude while walking on the path down to the Puget Sound we stopped and played the Sound Map Game.
When we arrived at the sound today it was a beautiful crisp winter day.
We began eating our lunch and then I led the children through an abbreviation of
"Expanding Circles", from Listening in Nature by Joseph Cornell
I led them through a brief visualization to look out right in front of them at the pebbles on the beach, now hold that image. Open your heart to all the living animals, rocks, and seaweed that lie there. Now expand your vision to the waves, expand your circle to the birds floating in the sound. Now expand your vision across the sound to the land, beyond. Now imagine, that you can feel everything as your self. Feel like you are holding the sound and all the living things in it.
Close your eyes and feel that peace.
This is a shorten version of" Expanded Circles" but a powerful tool for raising spiritual awareness and consciousness.The girls completed their own nature collages and then we finished with a closing circle. We individually shared our inspirations from the day and blessed the park in all four directions.
I want to leave you with a quote from John Muir taken from Sharing Nature II, by Joseph Cornell.
Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energies, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
May we all feel oneness with spirit in nature. Step outside and explore its profound beauty.