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These days, my mind has been circling a big question — what will I research for my final project of my master’s degree? This is basically the thesis of my program. I’ll spend months delving into whatever question I decide on. The problem is, when it comes to coaching and leadership, I’m curious about too many things.
This morning, again, I woke up thinking, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” Instead of opening my laptop, I stepped outside.
It was that moment of early morning transition, when the moon is going down and the sun is coming up. The sky was perfectly clear. The lake had a thin film of ice, the kind that crunches when you walk on it. I got out my cross-country skis and was thrilled to see how fast they slid across the surface.
Of course, out there on the lake, it came to me.
All my career, I’ve been fascinated by how nature can offer us a way of working with complexity. When I first left the corporate world and began working with my own coach, I would see her in person in Toronto and then head right up to the cottage to work on the questions she’d given me. I was amazed at how the answers would come to me when I was hiking, swimming, cycling, or stargazing.
“How is this happening?” I would ask. “Why do I have so much clarity all of a sudden?”
This is what I want to research. These are complex times, and leaders are expected to make countless, critical decisions on any given day.
- Why do experiences in nature create clarity and accelerate decision making?
- How can we lean into the patterns and cycles of the natural world to unblock our creative thinking?
- What are some practical ways that leaders can draw inspiration from nature to help them navigate complexity?
If you have any personal experiences with this, I’d love to hear from you! I am keenly aware of how much wisdom there is in my community, and I will read every message with curiosity and gratitude.
To me, this represents a coming-together of my passions. My first degree was in psychology and science. These have always represented a split for me — is it science or spirituality? I hope this research question is a way to bring the two closer together, like the sun and the moon, crossing paths in the morning sky.
7 Suggestions for How to Spiritually Connect With Nature
The first step in spiritually connecting your body with nature is realizing you are nature—not separate from but an integral part of it all.”
Forest Relaxation Film
Studies have shown that interacting with real or virtual nature can help prevent mood disturbances observed in response to urban exposure, reduce physiological arousal, and improve cognition. If you’re stuck inside, enjoy this beautiful 4K film of a forest.