"Mommy, do you know what I created?" asks J.
"No, but I love how colorful it is."
"It is my emotions from today. This one is when you made me mad."
These are things that your kids say that stop you in your tracks. I was relieved he knew how to express his feelings. I also learned how important it is to be able to express your senses.
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." Alfred Einstein.
Several months ago, I guided the kids through a natural alphabet project with their class. I was inspired by the book by Theresa Sweeney, Ph.D. called Eco-Art Therapy.
Okay, I know what you might be thinking. Why is this even important?
Does it have any value? Is it just another woo-woo idea to help us feel better?
"The more high-tech education becomes, the more nature our children need." Richard Louv, The Hybrid Mind
Richard Louv cites a U.S military study about how some soldiers seem to be able to use their latent senses to detect roadside bombs and other hazards.
I don't need a military study to tell me that people do not have an awareness of their personal safety anymore.
We live just outside of the east gate to Yellowstone National Park, but we haven't always lived here. We moved here a couple of years ago, so I never realized how disconnected many people are from their surroundings.
Beginning in May each year, the stories start of tourists being injured or killed after being too close to a wild animal. The problem is a lack of connection to their personal sense of safety. You can see them approach animals to get a selfie or just the right shot.
This one lesson of nature connection could help protect tourists in national parks, students on college campuses, and soldiers on the battlefield by allowing them to tap into their sensory awareness without a mental story that would influence their decisions.
Children that learn to connect and identify their senses will have a natural advantage in many different endeavors. They will strengthen vision, hearing, spatial awareness, smell, and even a more elusive set of mental senses that often become a source of stress or depression when misunderstood.
For my children, they began by creating something that connects them to their senses. The lesson has a long-lasting effect as they now are aware of their felt senses and emotions and will question and reflect as you can see evidenced by my son's drawing.
The object of the lesson was to draw, paint, or create something that represents the felt senses because if you understand the difference between what you are feeling and what is a mental sense or story, you can avoid unnecessary suffering.
You will also be more able to adapt to the rapidly changing world in which we live. Would you like to see more sensory based nature lessons? Check out the Art of Paying Attention.