In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and advice on how to live our lives, it’s easy to overlook the simple yet profound wisdom of nature.
By embracing the natural world around us and learning from the principles that govern it, we can unlock a wealth of insights.
These insights can guide us towards a more fulfilling and content way of living.
I first read Think Like a Tree ( The natural principles guide to life ) by Sarah Spencer last year. Since then I’ve dipped into it several times as phrases or thoughts have come to mind, particularly when I’m having a coaching conversation in the outdoors. To read all about the benefits of Outdoor Coaching read this article.
The book really resonated with me and my values to live my life respecting my environment and being my authentic self, as well as leaning into courage and curiosity for myself and those around me.
The main points that have stayed with with me are that there are many aspects of life which parallel with nature. We can be strong and resilient, yet flexible and grounded.
Humans and trees are alike, although it might not seem like it on the surface level or from the visual perspective. I’m reminded of the need to feel rooted and grounded so we may connect with both our self and with others. Our need for community and shared space or experiences.
Being rooted isn’t always about being fixed to the spot, it might be that we return to one place time and again that feels like home.
There’s the desire to be calm and at ease within ourselves, yet also be able to withstand a stormy period and adapt to the scrapes we inevitably experience in the turbulent times.
In life we need to be flexible and bend, yet also the strength we get from being rooted gives us the resilience to deal with challenges.
With the right conditions, we have the potential to not only survive, but to truly thrive and grow. By discovering and cultivating our ideal environment, we can create the perfect conditions for our own personal growth and development.
Spencer found there were emerging patterns to her research and patterns to be seen in commonality with all living things. Those six principles are:
Observation – looking, learning, being
Purpose – doing and growing
Surroundings – needs, wellbeing, health and place
Connection – belonging, connecting, communicating, sharing
Resilience – surviving, healing, adapting, rejuvenation
Future – regeneration, creating, celebrating
She encourages you to use the book in any way that works for you, with some suggestions for inspiration, including as:
“a guide to living a happy, healthy and fulfilled life;
a roadmap for going where you want to go;
a way to make choices and decisions”
I found that the book gave me an alternative perspective when considering my values. I was reading the book at the same time as I was exploring what my core values were and perhaps that is why the book feels like it has such meaning for me.
I’m at ease in nature, I seek out the quiet space you find in a forest away from people, and I can find things to wonder (or ponder) as I observe trees in my local area. I’m fascinated by the changing seasons and trees are the sure thing in nature that give the vibrant visual reference to change.
I feel a strong connection to my environment. As I walk the paths I’ve trodden for over a decade now I see trees aging as I do, and that offers me a comfort and familiarity like being amongst old friends.
Life is full of twists and turns, and it’s not always easy to navigate the challenges that come our way. However, by taking the time to step back and re-evaluate our priorities, we can begin to see new opportunities and possibilities that may have previously been hidden from view.
With a willingness to adapt and a commitment to moving forward, we can create a more fulfilling and satisfying life that brings us greater happiness and meaning. What better environment to do this in than the great outdoors.
In the modern world, we are increasingly becoming disconnected from nature. Spencer’s book is about reconnecting with nature and how to live with harmonious purpose, and this ties in wonderfully with my aim to do more of my coaching in the outdoors.