How a snail made me happy

by Anna

The day after our latest nature connection community challenge I woke up feeling rough. We’d had a great week saying ‘hello’ to Autumn with a lovely group of people from two different continents. We’d shared photos of conkers and turning leaves, moody skies and sunshine, spiders and slugs.

Folks had shared the things that delighted them, the nature they noticed, the weather conditions in their part of the world, and the messages they received from simply tuning in to the natural world. It had been great. As ever, I’d benefited from the experience as well: enjoying connecting with the everyday nature on my doorstep.

But 24 hours later I was staring out the window debating whether I’d make it outside that day or not.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues, as does my perimenopause*, and sometimes the combination of those two big life-changing events, along with all the regular events of life, mean I struggle to feel good. And part of that struggle is knowing how best to care for myself.

So I went back to basics

I listened to a nature-themed meditation that helped to soothe my nervous system and give my brain some respite from thinking.

Then I went out for a walk with the sole purpose of looking for snails.

That might seem like a strangely specific task but it was what I needed to absorb me, to motivate me, and to give me an opportunity to experience joy.

(We’re called Joyful Nature for good reason!)

I went looking for snails that had climbed up onto the plants that line the lane where Bunny and I had walked only a few days before. That day, there had been a light misting rain and the snails were taking advantage of the moisture to move around. We rushed from one side of the lane to the other, excitedly pointing out each new find.

There were big ones, tiny ones, stripy ones, and golden yellow ones. There was pleasure in seeing the snails and also in sharing the experience.

My snail solo walk was a much slower-paced affair. I took my time observing the shells of each snail I found. I was extra delighted when one of them emerged from its shell – perhaps to look at me as closely as I was peering at it?

By the time I got home, I was feeling much more grounded, happy, and relieved – like the release valve had been opened up on the stress and tension I’d been holding onto; I felt I could exhale again.

I’m sharing this to offer a real-life example of how such a simple practice as connecting to nature (noticing, relating to, giving attention to) can help us navigate our lives.

We can go to nature as our touchstone. And that ‘nature’ can be found right on our doorsteps: perhaps a snail, a cloud, or a daisy growing through a crack in the pavement.

Being able to share our nature moments can also help by bringing us into community.  We’d love to have you come join ours. Just click this link to visit our Facebook page – we look forward to welcoming you there.

*Does my mention of perimenopause feel like too much information? Or is it simply an expression of my natural self – an acknowledgment that I am not separate from nature; I am part of it.

Please share the joy!
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