I am a passionate photographer, constantly looking for opportunities to capture my life and my environment. Now with my iPhone in my pocket, I always have a camera available where-ever I am.

I am also passionate about mindfulness and spending time in Nature, so it seemed natural to create a 30 day photo project to encourage mindfulness in our natural environment.

I have had this idea ever since I heard of two amazing projects.

In 2018, I read about a project that was piloted in the Shetland Islands in Scotland. Doctors were asked to prescribe time in nature as a treatment for illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammatory disease as well as mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety.

It was known as the  “Nature Prescription Project”. The prescription included a pamphlet set up by month outlining possible seasonally appropriate activities in Shetland. The results of the pilot program were overwhelmingly positive.

There is now a UK based organisation known as Dose of Nature  that provides information and advice as well as links to evidence and research about the benefits of spending time in nature.

Earlier, in about 2014, I read about an Australian woman, Hailey Bartholomew who in response to ongoing symptoms of depression and anxiety undertook a Photographic Gratitude Project which became known as 365 Grateful. She later gave a TED talk on her experience and how her year of taking photos of things for which she was grateful, improved her family relationships, her mood and self-esteem.

Add to that the impact of COVID and our need to move our lives and our work online. In 2020, I wrote an article for College of Complementary Medicine website exploring the use of photography in the online digital art therapy world. It was great to revisit it again.

So I was called to create the 30 days of Soulful Lens in Nature Project which combines the elements of mindfulness, photography, nature and, as a by-product, gratitude.

calendar of nature based photography prompts

So what is the Soulful Lens in Nature Project?

“Soulful Lens in Nature” invites you to slow down and immerse yourself in the soft embrace of nature. This 30-day photography journey is an invitation to pay attention, using photography to capture the beauty of nature. By so doing, we connect our hearts and minds, nurturing a deeper connection with ourselves and the natural world.

Each day on the calendar, there is a simple prompt which can be your guide, or you can choose whatever calls your energy. But the main idea is to seek out details that often go unnoticed. Become fully present in the here and now. Slow down, breathe, acknowledge and appreciate. Notice the rustling leaves, the dance of sunlight on water, the intricate patterns of a flower’s petals. Revel in nature’s exquisite beauty.

Then I ask you to take a photo and share using the hashtag #soulful_lens_nature. As you do so, you will be contributing to a virtual gallery of mindfulness and wonder. As others embark on the same journey, a community of mindfully-connected souls gathers, united by the shared intention of reconnecting with nature and our own inner wisdom.

“Soulful Lens in Nature” is an opportunity to silence the chatter of the mind, to listen to the whispers of the heart, and to capture the essence of nature’s tranquil embrace.

Through this mindful practice, you’ll not only refine your observation skills but also cultivate a profound sense of gratitude and interconnectedness, reminding us all that every moment spent in nature is a gift worth treasuring.

This process can be really simple, pick up your camera or your phone, look at the prompt for the day, take a walk in your garden, a park or anywhere in nature. Slow down, look, take the photo and upload with the hashtag #soulful_lens_nature. I’d love you to tag @transpersonal_soul_space or @heartfull_creative_therapy too

But if you want to become more mindful about the process

  • Spend a few minutes connecting with your breath before you start.
  • Commit to only looking at your phone to take a photo, stay present to nature.
  • Let go of any plans or preconceptions about what or where you might “find” your photo
  • Walk in nature, mindfully, slowly, allowing your eyes to settle on details and seek in unexpected places.
  • Suspend judgement when you see a possible image, just click.
  • Enjoy the moment of connecting with yourself.
  • Take time to journal
    • How was the experience?
    • What emerges for you in the photo?
    • What else do you notice?
    • What feelings does the image evoke?
    • What, if anything surprised you about the experience or the photo?
  • When you upload the image, hashtag (#soulful_lens_nature), tag (@transpersonal_soul_space and/or @heartfull_creative_therapy) and share something about the photo.

This is my gift for Mental Health month in October. I am going to take photos and I hope you will too.

 

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