This year I’ve been teaching a class at Ananda’s Living Wisdom High School entitled, “Sharing Nature Leadership Training.” The Sharing Nature with Children book series was written by Ananda Village member Joseph (Bharat) Cornell and is used in virtually every part of the world. Joseph wrote the Sharing Nature activities to give inspiring nature experiences and to bring participants (both young and old) to a place of stillness within themselves. For as Henry David Thoreau said, “one cannot perceive beauty but with a serene mind.”
The most challenging and ultimately most rewarding part of working with these students is learning how to work with their energy and enthusiasm, or lack thereof. No matter how well prepared I am going into a class, I almost always have to tweak or sometimes even completely let go of my personal goals and work with their level of energy at the moment.
To help in this process I use a technique developed by Joseph Cornell called Flow Learning.™ Flow Learning is a technique of working with energy to calm the mind so learning can take place much more effectively and peace be felt much more deeply. It has four stages:
1. Awaken Enthusiasm,
3. Experience Directly
4. Share Inspiration.
Let me demonstrate the process of Flow Learning in pictures…
1. Flow Learning first starts with a lively activity to awaken their energy and enthusiasm by having fun. In this activity, “Animals! Animals!” the girls act out a Dragon Fly.
2. Next you take that newly awakened energy and bring it to a calm focus. In this activity, “Duplication,” students are given 15 seconds to memorize natural objects before they are covered up. They then go and search for those objects.
3. Now that their energy is focused and their mind is calm, it is easier for them to experience nature deeply. Here Mark is practicing “Still Hunting” in a tree!
4. Finally the students gather to share their experiences. Sharing helps to extract meaning more immediately from an experience.
So far the boys and girls have had a wonderful time working with and teaching Sharing Nature activities. They’ve taught to mostly all of the younger students at Living Wisdom School and the girls recently got back from their trip to Hawaii where they taught a class of 7th graders. In May we will be Traveling to Ashland, Portland and Seattle to do a series of workshops and next year we will be taking Sharing Nature into the schools in Nevada County. Maybe you’d like us to lead your family or group in Sharing Nature activities? You’ll be sure to have a joyful time!