Everything changes: Preparing the MindEnvironment Nature Retreat

I struggled for a whole week trying to join all the points I have collected from environmental psychology, mindfulness based stress reduction and traditional meditation / psychology together into a coherent retreat schedule to make them accessible to people attending the retreat. The map of sticky notes on the floor grew bigger and bigger ... but at some point it was simply too complex and far too much to introduce during a short weekend retreat.


Then, I recalled that the purpose of a meditation and mindfulness retreat in nature is certainly not to have too much of theory - but to be out and get in touch with nature and eventually, with ourselves. A bit confused and desperate I swept away all the sticky notes on the floor (which took ages to put together) and went out for a walk and came to sit under a tree at the river nearby. Half an hour later the rush-hour thought traffic in my mind had cleared. Finally, I felt less stuck in the planning mind and closer to the heart. Watching the river and trees around I gained confidence again. Confidence in nature - and that it can teach us the most essential things of what we need to learn to re-connect with ourselves, others and the environment (the proposed content of the retreat) - if only we listen and observe carefully enough. After all, sitting under trees is what many of the ancient meditators have done to settle their minds and understand the principles of life and how to live in accordance with them for their own benefit, but also to be able to benefit others. Inspired and with confidence I went back home and re-wrote the entire retreat schedule to be much more based on the experience we will gain under trees.