Nature Journaling with Mindfulness

This week’s blog was written by Grace H., a Bucktails alumni. Grace is interested in studying mathematics and international diplomacy. Attending the Wildlife Leadership Academy was an experience that allowed her to develop an understanding of ecology from an environmental lens.

Mindfulness is the concept of having intentional full consciousness of the present without disruption from the influence of the past or the expectations of the future. Living in a state of mindfulness creates a more meaningful existence in which one can be content. Obtaining this mindset requires deliberate acts of practice. The art of nature journaling is a practice of mindfulness that can create a connection between an individual and nature.

Nature journals are a form of expression consisting of a collection of physical elements created by an individual representing their perceptions of their time in nature. Journals can contain components like descriptions, poetry, a collection of written thoughts, diagrams, or sketches. The approach of nature journaling is flexible allowing a personal element to be incorporated into the practice. To incorporate mindfulness into journaling, it is important to be authentic with portraying the true perspective of the environment. Not what is wanted to be perceived, simply what is. The genuine representation of the emotions towards nature, regardless of the degree of quality of feeling, contributes to being actively mindful. This validity of emotion makes a nature journal an honest depiction of the connection between the person and nature in the point of time the creation occurred, without judgment of the past, or anticipation of the future.

Mindfulness can be practiced in simple moments with nature

While the freedom of nature journaling is interminable, to commit to being genuine with the practice, it is necessary to eliminate prioritizing aesthetics over authenticity. With many practices of mindfulness like yoga or meditation, people’s motivation to take part in them is often for the hope of other people to perceive them more favorably through forced aesthetic elements of the practices. This defeats the intention of living mindfully. While nature journals are intended to be artistic, they are not meant to be made with an obsession of neatness and meticulous detail. Writing in nature journals does not need to be pretentiously written with an obsession of sounding intelligent. When the creator’s mindset prioritizes the aesthetic nature of journaling or whether their journal would be perceived positively by others over the connection with nature, mindfulness cannot be reached.

The priority of nature journaling is feeling close to nature, so creators should embrace expressing this connection in ways that are unorganized, raw, and enjoyable. Practicing sitting in nature and developing an awareness of the way it affects oneself through journaling is a beautiful way to develop the skill of living mindfully and eventually reach a state of being content.

The photo used in this blog belongs to the author.