A little Blog about my work and why this book is importent.
I am at a stage in my life where my love of Storytelling, Nature, Bushcraft and Ecotherapy are converging and are becoming a way of being. I am finding out that it is one of the benefits of getting older with an open mind. I do have a lot of real life experience and some qualifications. I have worked as a therapist for many years and have often used stories and the outdoors therapuetically. I have come to realise through client feedback, that I am able to offer something quite unique. It would seem that I have been ‘ahead of the curve’ for some time, I have been aware for a long time of ‘Nature Deprivation’ and its effects on our Mental Health, (child or adult) for many years. I want to share this learning as much as possible. Since the onset of Covid and the consequences for our mental health from Lockdown, people and organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of Vitamin N (Nature). However a word of caution, although a walk in nature is a very good thing to do, it is much deeper than that. The loss of nature in most of us, is profound and we are simply unaware of it. I spend up to six weeks each summer working and living in the woods. When in the woods for extended periods, in the daytime I am mainly with children teaching Bushcraft skills etc. In the evenings I camp alone every night in the woods. In addition I have also solo camped in various forms many times, I have worked in woodlands part-time and full-time in various ways, over my whole life time. I have planted trees, tended to trees and cut down trees. I am a casual forager, most of my food in the woods,is bought in a shop. All of this has given me quite a unique insight, into trees and woodlands, into myself, my mental welfare and into the interconnectedness of everything. The trees and creatures of the wood have an aweful lot to teach us about interconnectedness and about our lack of ‘wild’ connection with ourselves. The animals are not bothered that I have Dyslexia and problems with written Grammer is one such example.
I am finding with increased frequency that I am being commissioned to run workshops and to facilitate discussions, in relation to the combination of, Storytelling, time in Nature and the connection’s with positive Mental Health. The book shown in this article, ‘Storytelling For Nature Connection’, is a timely purchase for me, to further consolidate my experiences, learnings and findings, relating to the stories that we tell ourselves, the stories that we tell about ourselves, and about the world ‘out there’ and how this affects our Mental Health and our general health. And how this in turn, affects our relationships with the Environment and with the Communities in which we live. As the saying goes ‘everythings connected’. My extended times out in nature have taught me and continue to teach me, about the interconnectedness between everything and everyone. I am still on a learning curve, there are many things that I could do better. As we say in the Bushcraft community, ‘everyday is a learning day’.
Some of the ways that I have worked with these themes over many years include, speaking to Environmentalists about the power of story, not just the stories that we tell ourselves, but also the power of how a simple story can convey ones message. I have put together and delivered several outdoor programmes for children, teenages and adults, all based around Story, Nature, Bushcraft and coming together. I work part-time, with a community of ‘Home Educators’, in a woodland and have done for two years. I have facilitated a workshop/discussion (online) for storytellers in Wales, relating to how to connect story, people and nature. I have perfomed and told stories outdoors, for enviromentaly minded families at festivals. I am currently working for Norfolk Libraries with some colleagues, with an Applied Storytelling Nature based project, for a wide range of groups.
I currently help to run woodland camps for children and adults in Surrey part-time. In the future I am looking to run some bespoke days out in a local wood in Essex, combining, Story, Nature, Bushcraft and Ecotherapy.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that you feel inspired to get outdoors more often. Shane