Connecting With Nature

– Posted in: Garden Musings

Connecting with nature is something that most gardeners do naturally – at least while working in our gardens.

But how many of us take the time – on a daily basis- to have an interlude with nature in the world outside of our backyards?

I know that I can be as guilty as the next person of rushing through my day. Not stopping to notice the tree on the street ~ with its peeling bark or exposed root system tightly curling around the bottom of its trunk.

2013-10-04-Carmel-Pacific-Ocean-re-sized-600x480 - with quote

What if you paused once a day to marvel at nature?

To breathe it into your soul?

To stand quietly and say ‘thank you’?

Do you think it would make a difference in how you feel?

You betcha. Since moving to the city 3 years ago, I ‘ve become more aware than ever of how cut off from nature we are.

As well as from other human beings.  But that’s for another time.

I observe people every day when I take my walk –  talking on or fidgeting with their cell phones – even while riding bicycles and jogging.

Hey – you may be thinking – THEY ARE IN NATURE. Isn’t that enough? Nope.

It’s better than not spending time outside at all. And the benefits accrued from exercise are significant.

But when I use the phrase connecting with nature, this translates into slowing down, observing, exploring, listening, being silent, touching, hearing, breathing deeply, smelling, and feeling grateful for its beauty and mystery.

If you take the time to connect with nature even 5 minutes a day, it can make a profound difference in your life.


Today is my birthday – my 60th – gulp (don’t tell anyone).

As I’ve gotten older, I’m less sure about many things that I thought to be truths several years ago.

But one thing that I unequivocally know is that nature needs to be etched into your soul in order to live a life of meaning – one filled with joy, creativity and dare I even say – rapture.

As several of you know, I’m not only a gardening professional. I’m also an Ordained Interfaith Minister and work with individuals on ‘digging deep‘ and getting to the essence of who they are through my Soul Tending practice.

One of the first questions I ask a client is if she spends time in nature.  And if so, how ~

Even when in great pain or confronting major obstacles, when she talks about nature, her tone of voice changes and her face softens


I have a Morning Routine  where I do some spiritual reading, writing, and meditate in order to help infuse myself with a sense of well being.

To be honest, there are just some days when no matter how many positive affirmations I do, they don’t do the trick.

I still feel a stirring of anxiety below the surface.

My solution? I open the door, walk  onto my rooftop garden, stand still, and just ‘be’ with nature.

Even when I’m outside for only a few moments, I continue my day in a state of gratefulness and peace.

That is the glorious power of nature.


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Share how and when you feel most connected with nature.

Fran Sorin

Fran is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, which Andrew Weil, M.D., recommends as "a profound and inspiring book."  

A graduate of the University of Chicago with Honors in Psychology, she is also a gardening and creativity expert, coach, inspirational speaker, CBS radio news gardening correspondent, and Huffington Post Contributor.

Learn more about Fran and get free resources that will help you improve your life at

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Fran Sorin
29 comments… add one

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Karen November 1, 2013, 7:04 am

Happy Birthday!

Diane November 1, 2013, 7:38 am

Well said Fran.

I began connecting with nature while growing up in the country. I spent most of my adolescence on the back of a horse, riding alone for hours. I think I intuitively knew then that nature was my soul. This beginning served me well while I lived for 16 years in an urban area. In 2000 I returned to my rural roots, and now live near the foothills of the Blue Ridge. Every day I am connected to nature again and again.

Please visit my blog and see my daily views and read short essays.

Happy November.

Shenandoah Kepler November 1, 2013, 9:00 am

Yes, yes, yes to you and your advice. I find that meditating in the garden is one of the most rejuvenating actions or inactions we can do. Not weeding, not dividing, not deadheading. Just inhaling and concentrating on being at one with life, the Great Unknown, the universe. Thanks for reminding us in such a well written way!

Charles Hawes November 1, 2013, 9:14 am

Please, lets not make communing with nature a moral issue that you feel guilty if you are not doing it. There’s a very big idealisation of nature going on here. What about hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis? All nature. Flooding, drought, earthquakes. All nature. We are nature, in all our most generous and our most horrible.

Donna November 1, 2013, 9:24 am

I so agree with your wise words, Fran. I have many of the same thoughts and wonder why everybody does not. Happy Birthday.

Adam Woodruff November 1, 2013, 9:36 am

Great post, Fran! Happy Birthday to you.

Jeffrey Willius November 1, 2013, 11:32 am

Fran – great post! You’ve nailed such a simple truth about life: we belong in Nature; we belong TO Nature. Spending even a day not fully present with her depletes us every bit as much as failing to eat, drink or breathe. I love the work you’re doing to help in what I call the Reclaiming Wonder movement!!

Carol O'Casey November 1, 2013, 11:55 am

If we all took your questions–
“What if you paused once a day to marvel at nature?
To breathe it into your soul?
To stand quietly and say ‘thank you’?”

to heart and acted on them, we would open the gift of peace everyday. Happy 60th birthday! Have a blessed day.

Carole November 1, 2013, 5:06 pm

My 60s have been the best decade yet. Enjoy!

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:37 pm

Thanks Carole – so far, so good.

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:38 pm

Well said Carol – thank you –

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:40 pm

Jeffrey =
LOVE your phrase ‘Reclaiming Wonder Movement’. Thanks for your thoughts. Fran

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:40 pm

Thanks Adam. Enjoy your continued travels ~

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:42 pm

It’s always nice to have others share our ‘wise words’ (LOL). Thanks for your birthday wishes Donna. Fran

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:43 pm

How true! Yes, nature can be devestating – no doubt. But my thoughts about ‘communing with nature’ are not meant to be moral- strictly spiritual. Fran

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:45 pm

Shenandoah – Well said. ‘Being one with life’ is a powerful phrase. Am glad my words resonated with you. Fran

Fran Sorin November 1, 2013, 11:45 pm

Thanks Karen!

Fran Sorin November 2, 2013, 8:38 am

I didn’t want to respond to your note until I spent time on your blog ~ First of all, your design is simple, compelling and beautiful.
When my kids were young, we took them to Monticello 3 or 4 times as well as visiting U.of Va. at least once.
What can I say?? Your photos bring back a lot of memories ~

I love your mission and how you’re living. Thanks for connecting ~ Fran

Joanna November 2, 2013, 10:12 am

The Pacific Northwest is such an incredible place to view nature in all its seasons and to give thanks to our Lord, our creator for loving us SO MUCH that He “paints” a different canvas, each and every day in hopes that we will notice Him. It takes my breath away!

Happy Birthday Fran and best wishes for many more to come your way!

Candy Suter November 2, 2013, 11:12 pm

Your words ring so true with me. I am at my best and at peace when in my garden. I don’t want music, TV or other distractions. Sometimes when I am working on a project I like to just sit and listen to what is happening around me. I close my eyes and hear the wind in the trees, the peeping of the hummingbirds drinking nectar from my aloes. Even the rain tapping on my gazebo in the rain. It all gives me a sense of calm.

David Stevens November 4, 2013, 6:00 pm

Nice work Fran and a huge Happy Birthday to You. Nature is wonderful1

Be good to yourself

Cathy Taughinbaugh November 4, 2013, 11:41 pm

Happy BIrthday, Fran! Life only gets better. I love nature and it helps me put things into perspective. The ocean or the mountains are my favorite and I often feel that my concerns are in a distant place and I am at peace. On another note, I just LOVE your header. It is really beautiful. I’ve been meaning to tell you.

Janet November 5, 2013, 6:37 pm

Fran, I love the fact that you say “thank you” to our Creator for all He has provided for our joy. Being 60 something is wonderful..we have so much to share and are at a perfect time to give back. My grand parents gave me my love for nature and through it how to experience and hear from God.

May you continue to find peace and joy every day of your life.
Happy Birthday,


Fran Sorin November 6, 2013, 9:01 am

Janet –
What a lovely note.
How lucky you are that your grandparents gave you such a priceless gift. That you’ve learned to experience and hear God in nature is one of the miracles of life, isn’t it??

Turning 60 was a piece of cake. Perhaps I dealt with a lot of the issues – for this stage of life – in my later 50s. I am taking more ownership of being a Baby Boomer – and am loving it.

I appreciate your thoughts and birthday wishes. Warmly, Fran

Fran Sorin November 6, 2013, 9:03 am

Thanks dear David.
As someone who has proceeded by a few months in to a new decade, we certainly have some things in common. i appreciate your birthday wishes. Fran

Fran Sorin November 6, 2013, 9:05 am

Dear Cathy-
thanks so much for your birthday wishes and comments on the header. A very talented gardener and illustrator, Steve Asbell, created it for us.

I know that you love exercising and can actual visualize you walking/hiking in nature. xxoo-Fran

Fran Sorin November 6, 2013, 9:08 am

Dear Candy-

Your words brought tears to my eyes ~ how beautiful that you sit in silence and listen to nature. It is pure magic, isn’t it? And as you so aptly described, when you are quiet, then the sounds of nature come through vividly…and can fill you with a sense of calm and peace to you. Thanks for your comment. Warmly, Fran

Fran Sorin November 6, 2013, 9:10 am

Dear Joanna-

I love your phrase about our creator ‘that he paints a different canvas each and every day in hopes that we will notice him.

I’ve always told friends and clients that if you can’t find God, spend time in nature!

Thanks for your birthday wishes and comments Joanna. Warmly, Fran

Elle November 7, 2013, 3:22 pm

Happy belated B’day Fran. I love my morning walks, me, rising sun, birds singing morning praises and sometimes the wind rustling in the trees. It’s always filled my soul to the brim. There’ve been times when simply watching the rain on the window is enough to breathe a deep breath and say thank you.

And I thank you for this Fran.

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