9 Ways to Deepen Your Relationship with nature

Connecting more deeply with nature can change how you view and interact with the world. Whether you realize it or not, we all have a relationship with nature. It’s in the air we breathe, the weather that changes our mood and how we spend our time, or the gravity that holds us to the earth. It affects nearly every aspect of our lives. But few people dedicate their time and energy to deepening this relationship as they do for, say, the people they care about. Still, many of the ways we strengthen our connection with nature are the same as we do with people. Here are nine ways to connect with nature.

1. Get outdoors often

Just like with people, deepening this relationship is best done in person. The more time we spend with them in the flesh, the more we have to enjoy and get to know them. This opens the door to new and unexpected experiences together. You have to show up, first and foremost, to make it work.

There are always excuses and things that can get in the way. Getting outdoors almost always involves a break in your normal routine, and we feel safe in our everyday environments. Some people will dismiss it as not important, that it’s just a bunch of trees and stuff. Others will tell themselves that they have spent plenty of time outdoors, that they get it. But there’s always more to explore, and it will always offer you what you need at that moment of your life. 

So get out of human-centered environments filled with distractions, schedules, and, well, people. Spend time sitting with the larger mystery as it unfolds.

2. Do something physical

Get out and move through the world in unique, fun ways. I personally love skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and rafting, among other things. They get me into some wonderous places that I would never have known otherwise. The way I move through the world is different, and that keeps me present, so I can stay in the moment for long periods of time.

This is similar to the way that positive experiences and physical intimacy (yes, I’m talking about sex) with another person has the ability to bring the relationship to another level.

This is similar to how new experiences and physical intimacy (yes, I’m talking about sex) with another person can bring the relationship to another level. It’s a physical expression of the connection and lots of fun!   

Exercise alone helps us get out of our heads even in a gym or at home. Outdoors, the fresh air, views, and immediacy of the experience intensify that. And it makes getting outdoors that much more enjoyable, which it should be. 

3. Stay there

Data suggests that even 2 hours per week in nature helps to decrease stress, lower blood pressure, be happier, and a whole lot more. If that’s all you can have time for, then do it. But recognize that relationship-wise, that leaves a lot to be desired. It’s like showing up at someone’s place, getting what you came for (yup, sex again), and taking off right after. If you really want to deepen the relationship, stay there. Have dinner. Watch the stars. Sleepover. Have breakfast. Do something fun the next day.

I want to address a common issue people have here when considering a multi-day experience, either with us or on your own. People often ask what they’ll do the whole time. They tend to think they will get bored with a lot of free time (even outside of all we offer) and “nothing to do,” like staring at a screen, especially if they haven’t spent much time outdoors. But it’s really about being present in a magical place. By the end of a few days, nearly everyone wishes they could extend their trip.

There is a saying that civilization is two days out, meaning from the third day on, there is a noticeable shift in your conscious experience. You let everyday thoughts and habits go and experience a flowing state of consciousness, open to the incredible moment you’re immersed in.

4. eat quality food

Eating is a sacred connection with nature. It is the transition of energy from one life form to another. Until recently (from an evolutionary timeline), everything we ate came right from the world around us. While the natural world can’t support this anymore (certainly not in its current state anyway), we can still be mindful of what we eat.

Imagine making macaroni and cheese on a dinner date. It would suggest that you don’t care about them much, or what you put into your body. 

People often associate eating outdoors with of dehydrated food, alcohol, and s’mores. If you’re on a multi-day trek, then dehydrated food is a great choice. Alcohol numbs you to whatever your experience. While I do at times drink with friends on trips, that’s missing the point of an Evolve Wild experience.  

We cook with fresh, organic ingredients. Everything vegan, and we’ll put in whatever ingredients either individually or as a group. Everything tastes better outdoors, too. You’re also more aware of how the food you eat makes you feel, which translates to the overall quality of the experience itself. 

If you’re camping on your own, spend time preparing and cooking your meal. Recognize that your food was another living being. Honor that. Incorporate it into your experience, both when you’re taking it in and when you’re using that energy.

5. Incorporate water

Water is both a given and the most unique relationship we have with nature. It is the lifeblood of any ecosystem and the soul of the outdoor experience. Through the vast majority of our evolution, we were acutely attuned to the location and events of all nearby rivers and lakes. We got our water straight from them and recognized how seasons affected their flow. Now we don’t need any of that, and we generally have little awareness of it either. Our waterways have been damned, polluted, dried up, or otherwise toxic. We have to change our relationship with water. Out here is a great way to be in relationship with it again! 

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in the water.”

-Loren Eisley

There are a ton of benefits associated with being close to water. If you can, drink it right from the source. Get a filter system and collect it from streams and springs so the world around you will then move through you. Touch it with your hand in or jump in altogether. Contact with water will bring an immediate sense of presence. It shifts the feel of the entire experience. And if you can, get out on it (see #2).

6. Be Present

Relationships are built during the time we spend together, as the real people we are just naturally comes out in unexpected ways. When we get out into these places, we have to be present for these places to really show themselves.

Turn off your phone (hopefully you don’t have service anyway, but that’s never a given). Find presence and stillness, either with a book or just soaking it in in a chair or a hammock. Sit, breathe in the fresh air, and find stillness. 

The creatures that live there will begin to emerge and go about their business. You can also dive in by giving your attention to a being of your choosing for a while. This could be a spider, a tree, a fish, a bird, a chipmunk or a river. Sit with it if you can. Consider how it lives, and what part in the ecosystem it plays. What it can come into contact with and how it affects them. Spend half an hour or more just holding this awareness. You’ll be surprised what you discover.

7. Talk to the world

Crazy, right? Your words are conscious energy put into physical form by exquisitely vibrating the air. Doing so, in some way, alters the energy around you. I’m not necessarily telling you to have a conversation in English with a being with no capacity for human language. But everything around you will respond in some way to your energy, whether we register it at a conscious level or more subtly. It’s like talking to someone in a foreign language that you don’t know. Be open to the way they express themselves beyond words. They are doing the same thing with us.

I like to express gratitude for a beautiful place when I feel that way, just like when I appreciate seeing someone special to me. I tell the world around me my intention for being there when I’m feeling it. Expressing grief or sorrow for the human impact on these places can open up something deeper entirely. Or maybe I just have questions that I’m not finding answers to in other places. Maybe I’m just talking to myself, or maybe I’m speaking to the larger mystery. Either way, this practice shifts things. 

8. Honor the experience When You Go Back

One common belief following these experiences is that they don’t really matter in “the real world.” This implies that the unstainable madness that we have created is somehow more real than our experiences and conscious state in nature. But both of these worlds are, in fact, real.

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Imagine having an amazing experience with someone. They open up incredible insights into your life and well-being and help you find ways to navigate your entire life better. You talk about all of the things you’re planning to do with them. But you never follow through. 

Yes, we all do this sometimes. But your relationship with nature is a reflection of your relationship with your deepest self, not someone you hardly know (or maybe it is). you are disregarding your path to your best life. You’ll probably make excuses and maybe even deny the impact of that relationship. If so, why even give it your time and energy in the first place? 

Whatever you find during your experience, live as much as you can into our human-made worlds. This may conflict with something else, and you’ll have to adjust. Just be kind to yourself, and honor what you find along your path as meaningful. Take steps that bring a felt sense of presence further into your life. Maybe find a spot with wild beings near your home. Things like this will tell the mystery that you’re ready to go further. It will respond.

9. Get out again

People will often get outdoors, have powerful experiences, and will believe they are forever changed. They say they “get it” and maybe even think they don’t actually have any more to gain from being outdoors. You never “get” a relationship. The path unfolds over time, and you’re either deepening into the relationship, or you’re not.

You likely won’t have a life-altering experience every time you get out, or even close. But you will more easily move into that state of peace and reflection that comes after a powerful experience. You’ll change from within. You’ll remember the important lessons that didn’t stick previously, especially if you follow through with awarenesses you found prior.  Your realization of your growing edges and roadblocks that go along with being human today, and how you can move around them. The undercurrent of your conscious experience shifts. 

Every time you get out, it’s another opportunity to deepen that relationship with both the wild world and your wild, authentic self. 

Your Relationship With Nature Is Unique!

While there is a lot of overlap with human relationships, your relationship with nature is also unique in some incredibly powerful ways. Nature will never judge or reject you. You don’t need its permission to be with it. It already deeply loves you, and you it. You’re always welcome to explore it, no matter how distant, strained or difficult the relationship may be. The natural world will accept you, no matter how troubled our human relations are, at any time in your life. It will offer the clearest reflection of your true self, not what it wants from you. 

Taking chances to deepen this relationship often will help you become happier, healthier, wiser, and more mature. Taking steps to deepen your relationship with nature will change your conscious experience, and, if you allow it, ultimately your life.

Eric Inman

Founder and guide

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1 Comment

  1. Leah Syme

    I so love this article! Thank you so much for sharing this information in a way that resonated strongly with me, most especially the section Honour the Experience When You Get Back. I have a deep connection to Nature and feel strongly about honouring it when I am in it, but hadn’t really contemplated doing that when I got back home. I’m always looking for ways to keep wild nature with me, and I think this is perfect. I’m really looking forward to trying it out.

    Many thanks for you work and words.

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