Last weekend, I attended the second session of the Be the Change Environmental Leadership Program. We met at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, and it was a perfect environment to think about affecting change to benefit the environment.
One of the speakers was Drew Harwell, who is a naturalist, farmer and garden educator at Common Ground who took us through an exercise to get a Sense of Place.
What I got from this was the idea of paying attention with all the senses–hearing, smell, touch/feel, taste and the most used, sight–to an environment. In this case, we were in a protected wilderness area, which is close enough to roads that we could hear some cars nearby, but also chickens, insects and the wind blowing across the grass and through the leaves of trees. I live in the city, and I realized that I had not really just sat and listened for a long time.
Drew called this the Sit Spot, and encouraged us to find our sit spot, where we could go regularly to open the senses and observe. Observe at different times of day, of the year, to experience the changes over time, the natural movement with the seasons. He said that urban sit spots work, too, and mentioned eco-city leader Richard Register‘s urban sit spot, at a cafe where he could observe what’s going on in the communty.
So how does this relate to Everyday Sustainable? I think that a big part of living every day with an intention to make sustainable choices is about paying attention. And this includes understanding the environment (with a small “e”) around us. What is the Place in which I spend my time? What is going on there, and what can I learn by observing?
And taking time to be quiet and listen at a “sit spot” is like having a meditation practice. And that is definitely beneficial for personal wellness.
So, where’s your sit spot? What’s your sense of place?