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Transformation is in Our Hands A creative process for deepening our connection to nature

by Lisa Lipsett

Life’s solutions lie in the minute particulars, involving more and more individual people daring to create their own life and art, daring to listen to the voice within their deepest, original nature, and deeper still, the voice within the Earth. –Nachmanovitch, 1990

could care about nature through creative engagement. Back then I had a limited understanding of creativity that was more art-product focused than process centered, and I didn’t appreciate the power of a creative practice to transform our relationship to ourselves, each other and the world. I took a leave from teaching to develop fresh ways to work


that utilized expressive art-making to create connection. Each day I wrote in my journal and then painted with no plan. Over time I developed ways to help soften my thinking, planning mind while painting so I could trust my hands instead. This allowed me to let go of what I was taught to think and do in order to make a pretty picture, and instead I followed what felt natural. Paint gave colour and form to felt experience, allow- ing me to see an inner state while feeling it more fully. As I painted from the inside out, I slowly came back to life.

HEN I TAUGHT ELEMENTARY school envi- ronmental education in the mid 1990’s I didn’t realize what could be learned and how much we

One day I followed the impulse to paint the way tulips

feel instead of the way they look. I simply set that intention, sat quietly, closed my eyes and using my hands, painted whatever came. As I painted, I felt a resonant connection to the flowers. When I looked at the painting I was enchanted by the magic that something normally unseen was revealed. With both inside-out and outside-in aspects, the practice of what I call Creative Nature Connection (CNC) is a nature- centered approach to artful connection to ourselves, each other and the world. It is a great way to enrich nature jour- naling in five main ways.


We invite both right and left brains into the creative process by using both hands to create.We also paint without brushes and feel our fingers directly on the page.


We close our eyes part of the time.When we create with our eyes open we can be seduced by the idea of something in particular. With eyes closed we flow with the process, feel the sensations associated with nature-connected creat- ing and open to a fresh way of relating. If we can’t see what we’re doing then judgments soften and expectations fall away. Other senses kick in and we pay more attention. Over time, whether our eyes are open or closed becomes less important as we trust that our hands know how to create.


Photographs: Lisa Lipsett

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