The New Year brings two January programs to Sheldrake Nature Center. They both focus on connecting with nature by helping you develop mindfulness tools.
Starting on on January 5, a free evening program called “All We Can Save Circle” is like a zoom book club, but even better. The program is based on the literary work, All We Can Save, an anthology of essays and poems from 60 scientists, activists, policy-makers, and artists, who make a strong case for why we should all care about the environment.
Each session will be led by Katy Romita, a certified Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor and a Mindful Schools Mindfulness Foundations graduate, bringing nearly two decades of experience in a variety of meditation practices. Katy has also earned certificates from Cornell’s Civic Ecology Lab and is a former Co-President on the Board of Directors of Sheldrake.
In addition to her work with Sheldrake, Romita is the founder of One Small Stone, an online community with drop-in meditation sessions as well as workshops for environmentalists. Romita started One Small Stone because, like others, she felt anxiety over climate change.
“At the same time,” she explains, ” I felt like the problem is hugely overwhelming. One Small Stone is intended to be a response to this paralysis, bringing mindfulness (awareness, intention and compassion), plus some curated resources and education, to the problem of climate change so that people can plug into meaningful solutions, wherever they are starting.
Another January program at Sheldrake, called “Mindfulness in Nature,” is a series of weekly nature walks through the Sheldrake forest, starting January 12. Larchmont parent Cindy Olsen, a certified Kripalu Outdoor Mindful Guide, leads the walks. Olsen also is an experienced Sheldrake environmental educator and founder of Cindy By Nature, LLC.
Each week she shares mindfulness tools– techniques to help us open our awareness to the present moment. Says Olsen, “Nature-based mindfulness tools have the added power of leaning into the wisdom and support that the natural world holds.”
One of Olsen’s favorite mindfulness tools is a simple sensory scan. Spending a few moments noticing what each sense is taking in can anchor a person into the present moment. You can try this now, by giving each sense your full attention for even a few seconds. Let the eyes rest and notice the sounds around you. Then transition to each of the other senses; smell, taste, touch and eventually sight, one at a time.”
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.