Shamanism (as we use this concept today) can be traced back to ancient wisdom. It is found in almost every culture and every region of the world. It brings forth the connection to nature, the elements, the four winds, and Spirit. It is a flexible, rich, and expanding, yet core perspective to life.
our children’s connection to nature is an invitation for us to renew our relationship with Mother Earth
One of the elements that characterize shamanism and meet the journey door opened with becoming a parent is the invitation to reconnect with nature. To remember nature, remember all those who share our lives on Earth. The connection with nature is an anchor in the shamanic vibe, a delicate attentiveness to its messages, information, and our reciprocal relationship with Earth. First, taking care of it, and then enjoying its presents, our food, and as our source of grounding.
As part of our soul’s journey and our parenting journey, children from a very early age invite us to re-connect to nature. Some calm down or fall asleep as babies only when we take them for a walk outside. Others need the fresh air, the green, to center, and eat properly, or sleep well. They enjoy eating the grass and Earth. They can look at ants for hours. Being outdoors is the most adventurous space—everything is alive and inviting.
Watching over them might be a relaxing invitation for us, but for them, it’s alive—they see and sense elements which we don’t. They talk with the animals, converse with the trees. They still remember that nature is safe and pure. They know that Mother Earth envelops all her children–humans, animals, trees, and stones. For them, it is more than leaving the four walls of their house, chatting with other moms on the playground. It is the connection to the essence of being that they, and we, are.
As part of our parenting journey, our children’s connection to nature is an invitation for us to renew our relationship with Mother Earth. Some of us had the privilege of experiencing nature firsthand as children, spending a lot of our time outdoors. For others, our children inviting us out is an opportunity to experience nature for the first time. Perhaps the circumstances in which we were raised did not include much time in nature, or we grew up in areas where nature was not safe or easily accessible. Unfortunately, many children still suffer from this lack, the lack of connection to the most nurturing source we have – Mother Earth.
What parental internalizations help our children maintain their innate connection to nature and all of its elements?
1. Reciprocal sharing of example
Our children watch and imitate us: their most profound learnings are based on the examples we provide. However, in some cases, such as their connection to Earth, they are the teachers. They know so much better than we do, their parents who had many years to forget. We are challenged to give an example of something they know much better than we do.
How can we do this? The same way they do with us—imitate them. Dig in the Earth, lie down in it. Explore every twig you find. Walk slowly and search. Dawdle by a puddle you would typically bypass. Maybe even splash in it (yes – with your shoes on).
Practice seeing the beauty in it all.
Will it be natural? Most likely, it will be more of an exploration. You might actually enjoy some things and choose to skip others on your next outing. Start by exploring …
Respect is easier to write about than to cultivate. Respect enters our awareness through three elements:
(a) Acceptance of what we know and what we don’t—being aware that our child may know more than we do, especially in relation to the possibility embedded in being in nature.
(b) Respect for our child or children—trusting that whatever they choose to do, and specifically positive behaviors such as enjoying and connecting to nature, are of real importance to them. If we take it a step further, these things are like breathing for some.
(c) Learn to respect Mother Earth herself. Learn to respect all creatures and all animals. Learn to respect the waters and the trees, the storm, rain, wind, and sunshine. The little ants and the weeds.
Once we experience the intention to respect the elements our children are deeply connected to and invite ourselves to see them with fresh eyes, new doors will open in our own soul’s journey.
Permission is requested through respect. When we respect, we ask for permission. When we respect our children, we check essential elements in our lives that are related to them. When we respect nature, we ask for its permission as well.
I know very few children that don’t pick up rocks and stones wherever they go. We adults, do that too. When was the last time you asked a stone if it wishes to come home with you? Do you ask the flowers you want to pick outdoors and bring into your home to decorate your dining table if they wish to be picked and come with you? Do you ask the tree you are about to spread your picnic blanket under if you are welcome to enjoy its shade?
How do you know their answer? You just do. You feel it in your gut. You know and sense when you are welcome and when you are not. If you hesitate to take a rock home, it means that maybe it would rather stay where it is.
Our children know this and often ask for permission in their hearts. But many of them are also confused, as we adults are, and need this piece of relationship with nature to be explicitly demonstrated to them. Sadly, our world and the way it operates, are focused a lot on exploiting nature (and more). In their schools, through the media, and sometimes through friends or family that walk their life differently than the way we choose to walk ours, they are exposed to disrespectful behaviors. The good side of this story is that this is changing. The understanding that nature is a treasure to preserved is becoming part of the broader social awareness.
Our children need to see us ask permission from a pebble: “Do you wish to come home with me?” They need us to guide them to ask permission from a twig they wish to collect when walking through the woods: “Did you ask the twig if it wishes to come home with you? What was its answer?” And if your child is not sure, then my perspective is that when in doubt there is no doubt. If there is doubt, the twig stays in the woods.
Gratitude is a vital key to increasing our energetic frequency.
Spending time in nature, if we experience it, and don’t just drive through it, letting it occupy our thoughts, evokes expansion and gratitude.
Express your gratitude to nature.
Express gratitude to the fresh vegetables the Earth grows with you in your garden or are grown by others and offered to you in the grocery store. See the beauty grown by nature to nourish us–greens, vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes.
Express gratitude to the beauty around you and to the expanded feeling you come back with after spending time outdoors. Voice your gratitude so that your child knows and can share the feeling with you.
Most likely, you will find that voicing your gratitude does not teach your child anything new—it will simply be a reinforcement of what he or she knows.
And of course, even if you are the best actress, your children feel your vibration. So don’t express gratitude if you don’t feel it.
Nature and all of its elements wish to communicate with us humans. Trees talk and love hugs, the grass whispers secrets. The flowers and butterflies dance and invite us to dance with them, as does the water in the river or sea, the mountains and the clouds, the birds and the four-legged animals.
Maybe you remember communicating with nature, and all of its hidden sweet creatures as a child, receiving assurance, feeling safe, and loved no matter what happened in your life. Or maybe you never had a chance to experience that magic.
It’s there. And it is magical and real. And if you are willing to explore, try. Try sitting by a tree and communicating with it. And if you find it beyond your place (for now…), walk with an awareness that it is real for many, many others, and almost all children. This will allow your own children to cultivate their ability to feel the incredible vibrations of nature and its creatures.
What memories do you have of nature and Earth from your childhood?