{Guest Post} The Gift of Nature

Today, I'm happy to welcome Shawn Fink, author of the Playful Family eBook and the inspiring blog, Awesomely Awake. Shawn writes regularly about creating a playful family life, and teaches others to do so as well through her creative eCourses. A two-season participant of A Sense of Place, and a contributor to the At-Home Summer Nature Camp eCurriculum, Shawn joins us with ther heartfelt thoughts on the gift of exploring and sharing nature with her two young girls.

"Is it up in that tree?" she said, standing close to the trunk, pointing up. Her head was tilted straight back.

I tilted my head back, too. "I don't know. I don't see anything."

We were searching the lush green branches of the tree when my other daughter darted off to the next pine tree. We were trying to find a family of owls we heard are living in a local, urban park near our house...

When I heard about Liz's first winter nature journaling class it was roughly 15 degrees outside at our house. For some people in the world, that would be nothing. For us, it was definitely life altering. We're that family outside in the middle of winter, usually. But not this past winter. 
And yet being in nature is how we recharge and connect.

So, for months, we sat staring out our kitchen window finding solace in our dead forsythia bush and talking about what it must be like to be a bird sitting on a branch, waiting.

But, that's motherhood, isn't it? Waiting. Waiting for the kids to get ready. Waiting for the next thing on our to-do list to get done. Waiting for the next season to begin. Waiting for a birthday or a holiday or a special celebration.

Spring sprung, eventually, and we felt our internal transformation happen. Waiting was no longer about rushing to the next thing but about relishing, appreciating and noticing. The sun is out. It's warm. We're out and on our way.

This is how we slow down. Pause. And connect to each other, again.


On this particular day, we'd set out on a trail with our journals and pencils and tried to find the owls. We searched nearly every tree. But they were too smart for us. In fact, we didn't even write much down or take any photos.
But, what we did find was the immense beauty that grows up from the ground and relies on sun and water to survive – just like us. 

Later, we ended up at the playground, where my girls rushed off to run and play. I took my place on a vacant bench, tilted my head back, and stared at the sky.

And everything – EVERYTHING – was so clear.
Join Shawn on The Playful Family Adventure this summer a 4-week eCourse designed to be the spark you need to be playful, present, and peaceful. Read all about it and sign up here!

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