a fine set of whiskers



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Serendipitous next step
September 18 2016

With “unspectacular preparation” the mind can remain more open to possibility. It also allows space for others to be involved in the shaping of an idea- yes, I could have said co-create- but as you get to know me you’ll find that in a “grumpy old woman” sort of way I avoid buzz words to a fault, even though they can make a blog much shorter!

It’s just 2 weeks since “a fine set of whiskers “was quietly launched into the world- 2 weeks which happen to be part of Blood Cancer Awareness month - a busy time for the CEO of a blood cancer charity.

At the events I’ve attended over the last week; a dragon boat race, a day with the Calendar Girls, a parliamentary reception and the start of our London to Paris bike ride, I’ve been surprised at the level of interest in “a fine set of whiskers”. I’ve also been surprised by the visceral connection to nature that many of my London-centric friends and colleagues also have, that we've not previously shared. It's hardly surprising that the need for nature feels stronger when it's that much harder to find. But sometimes it does just find us- the fox pictured above was asleep in my garden!

At the reception at Speaker’s House, hosted by Alastair Campbell, I had a brief but lovely conversation with Trekstock, a wonderful charity dedicated to ensuring that no young adult has to face cancer alone. We talked about how a connection with nature can be a very important therapy for cancer patients as well as for other people struggling with depression and anxiety.

I hadn’t really thought about how the experiences that I’ve had working with people affected by cancer over the last 17 years might be brought together with my desire to help others find well-being through connection with nature. It feels good that I might find a new way to help the people who have mattered so much to me, a natural serendipitous next step.

Lots of people have been asking about my “concept” – I’ve been asked if it’s a website about cats?!! I’m still learning about how connection to nature creates well-being in many different ways, this bit of the concept is the intuitively easy bit for me. But I’ve been struggling with how the importance of conservation and the protection of the environment sit within an idea that is not really about campaigning – and this has been brought sharply into focus in a week when the “State of Nature 2016” report was released.

Einstein, who in my book is quite a clever chap, says:

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift “

The beautiful thing about “unspectacular preparation” is that I’ve done that marvellous thing of going with my gut. This allows the intuitive mind to have space before the rational mind starts kicking in and making sense of it. My conversations this week have now triggered the rational mind and I love the fact that much-valued friends and colleagues are helping to shape and hone my thinking.

Einstein and I have something in common, we are both Myers Brigg’s INTP - I think the similarities end there! The insatiable need for research, along with the rational mind have kicked in and I googled “connection with nature”.

Wikipedia helpfully says that:

    “Nature connectedness is the extent to which individuals include nature as part of their identity and there are three components that make up nature connectedness:

    • The cognitive component is the core of nature connectedness and refers to how integrated we feel with nature.
    • The affective component is an individual's sense of care for nature.
    • The behavioural component is an individual’s commitment to protect the natural environment.

    These three components make up nature connectedness and are required for a healthy relationship with nature. If an individual feels connected to nature they may be more inclined to care about nature, and protect the environment. “

In time (when I have some!) I’ll be developing the website to share carefully chosen places, people and products that can help us to experience well-being from nature. But from time to time I’ll feel comfortable also adding comment on issues affecting our natural environment starting with the september 18 “paws for thought”. I am happy that the true connection with nature needed to generate a feeling of well-being also, almost by definition, generates a feeling of caring and commitment to the protection of our environment.

...the adventure continues.

Thank you.

Cathy