Looking to Nature - Part 2

Written by Michael Jospe Posted in Looking to Nature Series, Nature-Connected Coaching, Professional Coaching, Wilderness Guiding

Looking to Nature as an Outdoor Professional

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As a professional coach or guide, what occurs during the dynamic process of looking to nature is extremely important. While we, too, are always looking to nature to help create awareness in our clients, opening this doorway for them is a powerful reminder of how they have everything they need to answer their own questions, and to reach their own goals. Additionally, looking to nature means understanding the natural processes that are involved with personal growth and change, so as a guide, you can collaborate with and rely upon them. Remember, you are nature! Everything about you is part of nature. Understanding what naturally happens internally for an individual as they look to nature can support the change process tremendously.

From a professional standpoint, it is important to look to the research on nature, human development, change theory, psychology, neuroscience, and the human-nature relationship to give you ideas as to both how you might support a client, and to validate or clarify your assumptions. Knowing how the brain naturally navigates what seems to be an irreconcilable conflict can allow you, as a guide, to step back and let it do its job. Your purpose? Simply help your client identify the issue clearly as well as set the intention to look to nature. After that, just get out of the way!
Looking to nature from a professional guide standpoint also means looking for visual representations and stories from the land that metaphorically illustrate what your client is working on and the questions they hold.

atlersThis can also be done through listening for nature in your client's stories. When these metaphors are revealed in the moment and not contrived, they can have a powerful effect  on the mind that is always searching for understanding.  Seeking metaphor is a natural process that the brain instigates in order to integrate experiences. As guides, we trust that these representations are there, and so we observe and invite our clients to investigate
what we see as possibilities. This can be as simple as looking at a stone or a tree and asking your client how it’s similar to his or her issues. Or,  it can be something much more dramatic, such as questioning how your client's desire to give up when faced with a challenging part of a hike is similar to how they want to give up on reaching their goals. Regardless, looking to nature in these ways stops the mind in its tracks, creating profound awareness and heartfelt understanding. 
There is an interesting field of inquiry that has hit the mainstream called Biomimicry. Biomimicry essentially means looking to nature for inspired solutions to problems: how does nature solve or overcome a similar challenge.  There a tons of wonderful examples of Biomimicry. Something so common as Velcro, for example. Velcro was inspired by the way burrs stick to your shoelaces and clothes when you walk through a field. While Biomimicry is more literal than a metaphorical representation, it is a example of what I’m trying to convey in this post.  
When you look outside, you see rivers finding their way to the ocean, trees spiraling towards the sun, animals following their instinct to live in balance with their environment: all things seem to be living out some purpose that is driven by something deep, cellular, and mysterious. We are no different in this sense - thus we are not alone on this journey! In fact, Nature can be one of our greatest teachers and guides. Someone or something has reached a similar point in life that you strive to meet. Someone or something has overcome a similar challenge that you’re facing right now. The more I get into this work, the more it seems that Nature is actively participating, as if in some mysterious way it wants my clients to succeed in living out their purpose. 
Are you willing to ask?  Are you willing to look and listen to what Nature reveals?  Look and be amazed!
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