Short Pieces by Kai Siedenburg
Seven Keys to Being More Mindful in Nature
Published in Elephant Journal, April 2019
Venturing out for a hike or nature experience? Do you have everything you need?
Water, snacks, sunscreen… check!
Presence, awareness, and mindfulness… check again!
Hey, did anyone bring mindfulness?
It’s spring, and many of us are getting out into nature more. We know these outings are not only fun and relaxing, but also some of the best medicine for frazzled minds, weary bodies, and depleted spirits. What most of us don’t know is that bringing more mindfulness into our nature time could dramatically enhance the experience and multiply the benefits.
Eight Ways to Connect with Nature in Daily Life
Published in Common Ground, April 2018 (see page 12)
Many of us love being in nature, and we know it’s profoundly good for our minds, bodies, and spirits. Yet most of us also lead very full lives in cities and almost entirely indoors, which makes it hard to get out to wild places as often as we’d like. So how can we get the direct contact with nature that is so essential for our well-being?
An Unexpected Love Story & Three Love Poems from the Earth
Published in Elephant Journal, February 2018.
If you love it enough, anything will talk with you.
—George Washington Carver
After years of looking, it finally happened—I found true love, and it was deeper, sweeter, and simpler than anything I had known before. I wasn’t on match.com, in a bar, or at a party. I found it when I wasn’t even looking, and in an unexpected way—by going out “alone” into nature.
Five Ways to Thank the Earth on Thanksgiving Day—and Any Day
Published in Elephant Journal, November 2015.
Picture this: you’re at the Thanksgiving dinner table.
One by one, your friends and family say what they’re grateful for—children, partners, good health… as well as the exquisite beauty of flowers, a special tree they love, and the deep peace they feel after a walk in the woods.
Hard to imagine? Expressing gratitude for the gifts of the Earth is not a common practice in our modern, high-tech culture, but it has been for most (if not all) other human cultures on this remarkable planet—and it could be again.
Wild Soul Story
A personal story about an experience of deep communion with a bay laurel tree, part of a series curated by author Mary Reynolds Thompson. My story speaks to the depth of love and intimacy we can experience in the natural world, and how that can help us meet our innate needs for connection.
Trees and People—Standing Together
Published in Common Ground, April 2015.
If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
—Rainer Maria Rilke
There’s something special about trees, and we know it.
Even on a planet graced with an astounding array of intelligent and creative life, trees are standouts. If there were people who could do what trees do, they would be honored as ecological heroes, gifted healers, and selfless public servants—perhaps even awarded a Nobel prize.
Ten Ways to Deepen Your Connection with Trees
1. Notice. Start noticing how trees and their gifts are part of your daily life, and take a few moments to appreciate them when you can. A little awareness can go a long way.
2. Just be. Find a tree you feel drawn to and simply enjoy being with it. Try sitting and leaning back into the tree, standing with the front of your body and palms resting on the trunk, or whatever helps you feel more present. (It’s a good practice to ask permission before and give thanks after you connect.) When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the tree, your breath, or physical sensations.
Twelve Ways to Connect with Nature Wherever You Are
Published in Common Ground, April 2014
“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”
Do you love being in nature, but find it hard to get out as often as you’d like? Join the club! These days, most of us lead very full lives in cities, spending much of our time indoors and in front of screens. Yet that doesn’t have to keep us from enjoying an intimate and nourishing connection with the natural world. You might be surprised to discover just how much nature is already part of your daily life. Simply bringing more awareness to its presence can enrich your life and enhance your health.
10 Keys to a Happier, Healthier Relationship… With the Earth!
Published in Elephant Journal, February 2014
Now that we’ve all survived this year’s Valentine’s Day and the hype about love and romance is behind us, perhaps we can find the time to pay some more attention to an even more primary relationship: our connection with the Earth. Each one of us is involved in an intimate relationship with this brilliant and gorgeous planet, but we’re also conditioned to ignore her and take her for granted. So, here are a few simple (and not-so-simple) tips for cultivating a more loving, mindful and respectful relationship with the Earth:
Published in Westwords, Winter 2014
I was never really that lost…
not the ‘holy shit, I’m never going to get out of here’ lost;
not the ‘someday they’ll find my bleached bones lying here in the woods’ lost;
…but lost enough.
Waiting for the Light
If you want to watch the sun rise from this low mountain ridge, you will be waiting for a long time.
You will be waiting while the sun’s rays follow their ancient path across the forested ridges that surround you…