Awe in Nature

There is infinite awe to be experienced in nature and the wide open spaces of the outdoors.

Helen Lewis, Picots Farm

Season 2 of the Outdoors is my Therapy Podcast

The Outdoors is my Therapy podcast is back for Season 2 and in each episode you’ll get to meet one of my friends who’ll share what inspires them about the outdoors. Each episode is just a few minutes long, like a little snack of information and inspiration that feeds your mind and your heart and reconnects you with the therapeutic benefits of the outdoor world.

This is the transcript from the latest episode with my friend Helen Lewis from Picots Farm on the Southern Downs in southern Queensland.

Awe in Nature with Helen Lewis

Kathryn: How many times have you experienced a sense of awe in nature? You know that feeling of immense respect combined with curiosity and wonder when you’ve noticed something in nature. Perhaps it’s something that you’ve seen or you’ve heard, or you’ve touched, or you’ve smelt, or perhaps you’ve tasted it. And how often have you kept that feeling close to your heart as you’ve gone about the rest of your day or cherished the memory of it in the years afterwards? Experiencing awe in nature can connect you to the greater world around you. Some people speak of awe as a spiritual experience that helps them to transcend challenges in life and raise their sense of wellbeing. There are many factors that contribute to that experience of awe, and each of us will find different things awe-inspiring: sunrises and sunsets, bird song, the desert sands, the touch of the breeze, waves in the ocean, microscopic creatures, gigantic animals, ancient trees, birth, death, dew drops and more. The close association between mental health and that experience of awe has been documented in many scientific studies and incredibly, when you experience awe, changes take place in your brain and your behaviours change too. You feel calmer and you feel more connected to the good stuff in life. When it comes to awe, Julia Baird, an Australian bestselling author wrote a book called Phosphorescence with the subtitle On Awe Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark. In her book, Julia writes of awe “…[that] it seems increasingly vital that we deliberately seek such experiences whenever we can. The good news is that they are very often all around us in every corner of nature.” And by the way, Julia has a TEDx talk on the same topic, which I’ll link in the show notes. In today’s episode, you’ll hear from my friend Helen Lewis, as she speaks about awe as well. Helen lives on a farm near Warwick in southern Queensland where her lifestyle is intimately connected with the outdoors. You’ll hear Helen share her sense of awe and her wonder about the natural world around her, the changes that she sees day to day and season to season, and the special spaces and the experiences that inspire her. Meet my friend Helen.
Helen, what inspires you about nature?

Helen: Well, being on the farm, I think I’m in awe of nature. I think it’s just quite incredible how it functions and the growth. I definitely think, coming out of the drought and the enormous response we got so quickly, was very telling, of yes, our management, but also just how, um, how quickly nature wants to regrow and rejuvenate itself, I guess, and, and um, responds to the right conditions. I guess one of the things I love is in summer when we’ve got dewy mornings and going out really early and just seeing all the spiders webs and just the intricacy. And we were actually had a spider build a, um, web on our veranda and between the posts and put so much effort into it. And then we had a huge amounts of wind and rain and just gone in an instant and then sure enough, next day, she’s back at it, doing it again. And look just the amount of time and effort that they put into those spider webs and just seeing the spiders webs with dew, you know that things are functioning if we’ve got so many spiders webs and took a photo of there’s just like hundreds of them within an acre, you know, like just everywhere on all the grass and everything. And it’s just magic.

Kathryn: Do you have a favorite place or space in nature?

Helen: Yes, I do. Down on the um, on Greymare Creek on our place, um, there’s all these old river gums and the green grass, and old logs. And, even when it’s dry, it’s just this lovely place with a lovely, feeling. And then when it’s got water in it it’s even obviously more majestic, but, yeah, I love, I love going down there and, just having a look and just seeing these old trees, and the bark on the trees and the patterns of the bark and, uh, and just the location of the trees. They’re very grand in the landscape. It’s a beautiful spot.

Kathryn: Thanks for tuning in to the Outdoors is my Therapy podcast. We hope you feel inspired to connect with the outdoors no matter how big or small your adventures might be. If you’re looking for more inspiration or you’d like to connect with others in the Outdoors is my Therapy community, check the show notes for all the links.

Contact Helen Lewis at Picots Farm

The power of feeling small: how awe and wonder sustain us | Julia Baird | TEDxSydney

Phosphorescence: On Awe Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark by Julia Baird

Contact Kathryn via her website

Grab your free Guide to a Perfect Nature Escape Day when you subscribe to the Grounded Inspiration newsletter (limited time)

Join the Outdoors is my Therapy Facebook Group

“Your Personal Day of Retreat: A guide to planning self-care and stress management that really works” e-book 

You can listen to the “Awe in Nature” episode here:

Listen to Helen Lewis talk about decision-making tools in the Speak Out Loud: Stories of Strength podcast:

Why You Need To Have An Adventure Goal

an attitude of adventure is life changing“Adventure” is a word that repels many people, yet it’s the process of working towards an adventure goal that fills me with excitement and energy for the future. Adventure isn’t always fun and games. It can be pretty hard work too, with frequent floods of sweat, tears and frustration. So what’s the attraction? Why does anyone need to have an adventure goal? And why would you go through that turmoil when it’s so much easier to sit back and watch everyone else do it?

YOU: Why do I need to have an adventure goal?
ME: Let me count the ways!

Adventure is fun!

Well, maybe not your everyday kind of fun where you spend the whole time laughing, relaxing, and at ease with the world. That’s what we call Type 1 Fun. Adventure often falls into the category of Type 2 Fun where it sure as heck didn’t seem fun at the time, but afterwards you recount it with a big grin on your face and the level of pain seems to diminish in comparison to the whole experience. In other words, the investment you made was worth it! Sometimes adventures turn out to be Type 3 Fun – not fun at the time and still not fun afterwards. However there are plenty of other rewards for an adventurous life besides having fun (like telling the story afterwards and laughing at yourself) ….. or not.

Adventure goals are motivating!

If you ever need a boost to get out of a rut, setting an adventure goal for yourself could be just the thing to kick-start your motivation. Make sure you choose your own adventure though – it’s got to be something YOU would like to do, and not too easy or too challenging either.

Adventure goals are stimulating!

Adventures are the perfect workout! They get your mind and body working together as a team. As your body goes through the motions of a physical challenge, your mind is right there alongside working hard to learn, problem-solve, adapt and connect with the outside world.

Adventure goals are inspiring!

When you work towards a goal that’s got just the right amount of challenge in it for you, you set off an internal loop that keeps you inspired, not just about your goal, but about other things in life too!

Adventure goals are satisfying!

When have you achieved something you though you might not be able to do? Something that seemed hard enough that you had to practise, or that you had to work at for a while before reaching your goal? The feeling of satisfaction (and even elation) that goes hand in hand with adventure-seeking is a natural high that’ll have you coming back for more. Find a purpose in your adventure, and you’ll be set for life.

Adventure goals stretch you to be your best self!

Dip your toes into the waters beyond your comfort zone, grow new skills and become your best self! You deserve it. The world deserves it from you too.

Adventure goals grow your skills!

With any new activity comes a process of learning, and adventures are no different. Choose your own adventure and develop physical skills such as co-ordination, balance and endurance; mental skills such as persistence and focus; inner skills like regulating your emotions, behaviours and energy levels; and even social skills, travel skills and money management skills! The sky’s the limit!

Adventure goals make you feel good (often after you feel a bit bad for a while, but mostly they make you feel good!)

Working on an adventure goal using a well-planned method adds significantly to your mental health and sense of wellbeing. You’ll learn heaps about yourself, what your truly capable of, and what makes you tick. You might detour on your way to your goal, or even change your goal altogether, and that’s all absolutely fine! It’s the insights you gain to your inner life, and the choices you make in your best interest that matter more than anything else!

Have I missed any important reasons to have an adventure goal? Let me know by sending me a message, and while you’re at it, tell me:
What adventure goal are you working towards next?

Daisy Spoke

Discovering mountain biking as life’s ultimate parallel universe in her middle age, Kathryn Walton shares information and reflections in ‘Daisy Spoke’ that inform, inspire and empower women to a healthy and active lifestyle.