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©2013 Shanna Lea
Several years ago I took my first naturalist course called “Kamana One: Exploring Natural Mystery”, from the Wilderness Awareness School. It was through this course that I learned there was a name for what I did naturally as a child: the Sit Spot.
As a child, I escaped into nature. As soon as my chores were completed, I struck out on the trail, either on foot or horseback. I had my favorite trails to hike while in deep meditations and I had other spots to just sit in silence and watch the beauty and wildlife around me. For me, nature was a refuge and a teacher. Nature was my home and I fell into her rhythms naturally.
As an adult now, nature is still my refuge and spiritual retreat. It does not matter what emotions I carry with me on a particular day; sitting in nature helps me to let go of my worries, renews my spirit with hope, and I leave the sacred spot with a sense of well-being.
The Kamana course encourages sitting in nature, anywhere, even your backyard, to observe the cycles and rhythms of our natural world. Taking this course as an adult has given me a deeper appreciation of nature awareness skills.
It has taught me to observe the finer details of my world. Was that a sparrow? Well, of course, doesn’t everyone know a sparrow? Ok, what kind? I observed intently and memorized every detail of the bird before looking it up in a book. In looking through the book, I discovered how many different species of birds look alike. That was why it was important to memorize as many details of what I saw before looking it up.
I changed this scenario to identifying a wild herb, and realized that a missed detail in identification could mean life or death. For example, there are toxic plants that look like wild onion.
I also kept a nature journal. Drawing is not one of my strong points (stick figures are my master pieces). But, I learned how to draw by just drawing how I saw things around me. I got over being self-conscious and now I look back at those drawings and think, “wow, those aren’t so bad”. And, those drawings bring back memories of that day. Drawing helps me to focus in on the details that I might have missed from a quick glance.
Next, I learned how to identify the species and look up other information from my observations and drawings. This was fun, tying biology and science in with my experiences. Weather, trees, animals, birds, insects, wild herbs, the garden, all of it is such a learning experience each day in the Sit Spot.
What is the Sit Spot Challenge?
The Kamana Naturalist Training Program page on Facebook is challenging everyone to start a new Sit Spot Challenge August 1st. Every day for the entire month, just sit quietly somewhere in nature for at least 20 minutes and observe what is going on around you. You may find yourself sitting longer, absorbed in watching all the activity. Or, you may find yourself drawn inward, to your own inner world, and realize how it is reflected in the outer world.
Who wants to join me? I am now in my new location, in the heart of a city, far removed from my comfort zone of pastures and natural landscapes. I’m setting up my new Sit Spot in my backyard to learn from nature in this new wilderness and watch the interactions with city life. I will do it daily and post about it during the week here on the blog.
Start your Nature Journals and post your observations, thoughts, and lessons you learned in the comment section under my nature postings. I’m looking forward to reading your comments! Click here to add the Kamana One Program to your naturalist studies.