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<p><strong>Welcome to the July Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindfulness and Nature</strong></p>
<p><em>This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by <a href="http://www.becomingcrunchy.com" target="_blank">Becoming Crunchy</a> and <a href="http://touchstonez.com"
target="_blank">TouchstoneZ</a>. This month our participants have shared their experiences of mindfulness and the natural world. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.</em></p>
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I try to make the most of my natural surrounding, wherever I am. I try to get the most out of each day and even get out in the night ever so often.
My natural surroundings have been edited compared to what I’m used to. Most of the last few years I have traveled and lived in environments that inspired minimalism and therefore inspired outdoor activities. I’ve lived in an RV, in national parks and wilderness areas, I’ve camped on private properties(with permission) and I lived in a little casita. The last 4 years have been very nature-filled times. I have comfort there.
I love parenting in nature as well. I’m happiest when my kids have the freedom and space to roam wild and safely. I don’t exactly have that luxury right now. I live in a big apartment with huge rooms and a huge parking lot outside of it. I’m kinda used to parking lots, living on an RV park for awhile, but there was only a few others there and there was more privacy and we had more personal outside space. Here we have a pretty small balcony.
However, there is always a way to experience nature if you really want to. In the winter I’d go on walks at the warmest part of the day. At first my daughters and I would just walk to the tennis courts and peek at the swimming pool behind the gates. Then we started to notice the nice trees and small green spaces throughout. Yes, we were the only ones sitting outside for hours everyday…the only ones having picnics in the winter. Then we found a trail behind another apartment building.
It was something my mom would be afraid to walk into, so I don’t tell her about it. It’s full of large trees, vines and a little stream. It is raised in the middle of two miniature canyons. A homeless person, or person who likes to sleep outside(me) could hide there, living comfortably, easily. My almost 5 year old loves the secret pathway. She is constantly talking about the giant “beanstalk” that marks the halfway point on the trail.
She is constantly asking to sleep outside. She sees nature and feels truly at home. There is no one to give millions of rules about not jumping on things and ruining things. It has been difficult to explain to her that we can’t do things here that we could in other natural spaces, like being naked. But she has grown to love this place.
We found a couple of trees that she can climb on and swing on and the lessons on bugs has been a progression of inquiry and compassion. When we go to the pool she asks me to save the moths and ants from the water. We’ve found nests, we’ve grown a container garden, we’ve seen lots of different types of lizards, birds, squirrels, frogs and it has been the place in which we have had the most interactions with other people. Not indoors in living rooms or restaurants, but in the grass, beneath the trees, or at the pool. Nature provides the best science lessons and I’m happy to say I feel quite confident in unschooling in any environment, with the help of the natural world.
Not only has it inspired many lessons for my children, it has given me emotional release. When I feel really frustrated with life, I force myself to go outside and I almost instantly feel better. Now that it is blazing hot, nature is helping me to improve my sleeping schedule. Just like when I lived in the desert casita, I will start going outside first thing in the morning and stay outside until I am too hungry to stay out any longer(or the kids are). I will come inside and focus on what we’ve learned and take naps, then go back outside around sunset.
Nature gives me regularity. Whenever I am deeply in tune with nature I feel much more capable as a person and as a mother. I find that my kids are so much more pleasant, coordinated and learn everything faster. It seems to create a thirst and hunger for life, to go out into the world of living things and really see the subtle and experience the wild rain, cool breezes, soft flowers, colorful critters and the hot sun, even if I can’t see the stars I night, I feel that I am still in nature’s playground.
I feel like my daughters and I own this neighborhood, because we care for it. Picking up trash, playing in the dirt, speaking with the animals, admiring the plant life. We are preparing to leave now for a greater expanse of nature and I am taking pictures like crazy. Our next adventure will be to give back to the land that gave us serenity. We’ll be planting our garden into the secret pathway before we leave. I’m surprised to say I can’t wait to come back and see what it is like when we return.
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<p><a href="http://touchstonez.com/currentprojects/mindful-mama-carnival-home-page/" target="_blank" title="Mindful Mama Carnival"><img align="right" alt="Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ" border="0" src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6088/6104475337_2081e669dd_m.jpg" /></a> Visit <a href="http://touchstonez.com/currentprojects/mindful-mama-carnival-home-page/" target="_blank">The Mindful Mama Homepageto find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
<p>On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy <strong>#MindMaCar</strong> hashtag. You can also subscribe to the <a href= "https://twitter.com/#%21/TouchstoneZ/mindmacar">Mindful Mama Twitter List</a> and <a href="http://www.google.ca/reader/view/?hl=en&tab=wy#stream/user%2F08929773466428579444%2Flabel%2FMindfulMamaCarnival">Mindful Mama Participant Feed</a>. <br>Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:</p>
<li><strong><a href="http://monkeybuttjunction.com/?p=2098" target="_blank">Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens</a></strong> Jenn at <strong>Monkey Butt Junction</strong> has found a connection to nature in her very own backyard, thanks to her chickens.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/06/healing-gemstones-and-crystals-for" target="_blank">Healing Gemstones and Crystals for Children Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses which genstones and crystals are best used by children to support physical, emotional, and/or spiritual healing.
<li><strong><a href="http://talesofgoodness.com/2012/07/05/a-gardeners-meditation/" target="_blank">A Gardener’s Meditation</a></strong> Andrea at <strong>Tales of Goodness</strong> shares how she finds peace and renewal through gardening.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://letstakethemetro.blogspot.com/weeding-my-thoughts.html" target="_blank">Weeding My Thoughts</a></strong> Amanda at <strong>Let’s Take the Metro</strong> discusses how nature keeps her in the moment and stops her endless stream of thoughts.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://omshesaid.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/grounded-in-nature/" target="_blank">Grounded in Nature</a></strong> Rani at <strong>OmSheSaid</strong> shares her walk in nature, and through expressive words, shares this journey to coming home.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://www.dreamingaloud.net/2012/07/embracing-magic-of-moonlit-nights.html" target="_blank">Embracing the Magic of Moonlit Nights</a></strong> Lucy at <strong>Dreaming Aloud</strong> shares ways to embrace the magic of moonlit nights with your children and as a woman.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://babyweb.co/2012/07/05/meditation-for-mindful-mama/" target="_blank">Meditation for a Mindful Mama Alinka at Baby Web guides you through her research on the science of meditation, its numerous benefits, and presents to you a life changing meditation exercise.
<li><strong><a href = "http://naturemummy.blogspot.ca/2012/07/wild-within.html" target="_blank">The Wild Within Naturemummy at Motherhood: My Latest Adventure reflects on the soothing qualities of wild places.
<li><strong><a href="http://muminsearch.com/2012/07/natures-lessons-mindfulness/" target="_blank">Nature’s Lessons in Mindfulness Tat at Mum in Search wants to bring the same mindfulness that comes so easily in nature to her relationships.
<li><strong><a href="http://featheraniweda.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/manicured-nature-small-spaces" target="_blank">On Manicured Nature: We Roam in Small Spaces Featherstory at The Aniweda Dream shares her gratitude for her limited natural settings and her plans to expand her children's experience with the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://www.anktangle.com/2012/07/garden-time-out-meditation.html" target="_blank">Garden (Time Out) Meditation</a></strong> Do you ever need a time out for yourself? Amy at <strong>Anktangle</strong> finds that during a difficult parenting moment, taking pause to spend a few minutes outside is just the thing she needs to be able to experience renewed patience, focus, and energy.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://onelovelivity.com/childofnatureblog/nature-makes-me-a-better-mother" target="_blank">Nature Makes Me a Better Mother</a></strong> Terri at <strong>Child of the Nature Isle</strong> could not imagine parenting without Mother Nature.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://playfulplanet.com/blog/" target="_blank">Natural Renewal Karen at Playful Planet shares her experiences of reneweal in the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://milliontinythings.blogspot.com/2012/07/natural-history.html" target="_blank">Natural History</a></strong> Kenna at <strong>A Million Tiny Things</strong> gets out into nature, 200 years ago, and isn't sure she likes it there.</li>
<li><strong><a href="http://themahoganyway.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Nurtured by Nature Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares with us how being in nature helps her feel centered and connected.
<li><strong><a href="http://touchstonez.com" target="_blank">Mindfulness and Nature Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores the connection between mindfulness and the natural world.
<li><strong><a href="http://wp.me/p1qmQy-Sx" target="_blank">A Sense of Awe and Wonder</a></strong> Kelly at <strong>Becoming Crunchy</strong> shares the feeling she never fails to get from the natural world and how it guides her to the mindfulness she craves.</li>
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