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How to slow down in nature

Photos by Jacob Collings & Laura
Words by Laura Tilley

Laura Tilley is a Tasmanian based meditation teacher, lover of music, honest conversation and adventures.

The Half Between's Laura Tilley gives five easy ways to be more intentional during your next outing in nature.

With our fast-paced-tech-filled lives we currently live, sometimes we forget to slow down, especially when it comes to being out in nature. As Maria Popova quotes “we inhabit the world more fully by mindfully vacating its mayhem".

We often need a moment to slow down in nature, instead of being focused on getting the perfect Instagram shot, running down the mountain to make it back in time for lunch, or listening to something other than the outside noises.

All of these are completely fine, but we want to guide you through taking a moment to pause in nature when you can. As after all, this is what it was created for.

Nature is busy growing and working all around us - when was the last time you took a moment to recognise that? When we explore and take the time to slow down in nature, we start to experience the natural world and all of its elements. 

1. Leave your phone on airplane mode

Technology is important for safety, so we don’t want to leave it in the car. But we encourage you to try this. Turn on airplane mode before your hike so that when you get to the top of the mountain in reception you don’t hear all your notifications go off, and put it away in your pack. Instead of listening to music or a podcast, texting or checking Instagram, this is a great way to anchor yourself in nature. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but if you lean into it, we promise it’s worth it on the other side. 

2. Walk in silence 

Walk in silence This is great to try if you are with a group of people. Consider taking 30-45 minutes of your hike to walk in silence. Make the decision as a group and then when the time is up (you might find yourself going for longer!) it’s great to chat about what you observed during that time, or just leaving it a secret. When we have these moments in silence, often we come out feeling a deep sense of clarity and gratitude for the moment. 

3. Notice & feel

Consider this walk a meditation, pay attention to how your feet feel on the earth, your hands brushing through the trees, how the light catches the river next to you. Be mindful of where you step, and be attentive and present to the noises around you. 

“To be alone is to hear silence. Listening to silence.  Now that's a worthwhile pastime.” ― Sylvain Tesson  'Consolations of The Forest'

4. Leave photos as memories

When we share photos of our trip, especially if it’s backcountry or remote -- we may be unintentionally encouraging more footprints in remote places, in spots that need our protection. Imagine coming home and describing to your friends the trip you had, but you had no photos to show them. You would have to be more present in the trip, engaging in every moment, not missing anything and then having a captive audience to share your story with. If you are taking photos, maybe consider not tagging where you are as an ode to keep nature wild. 

5. Look up

Instead of looking at your feet, try this next time you are out walking. Stop & look up and you will experience the most incredible patterns in the trees, an expansive sky, birds flying overhead. There is something special about the canopy of the forest. 

'How to slow down in nature'  is part one of a four-part series from Laura Tilley of the Half-Between. 

Head to our IGTV @zorali to watch guided meditations by Laura.