Mindfulness + Nature Practice

Beauty is there if you look for it.

During my graduate studies, I became inspired by an artist from Australia named Hailey Bartholomew and her 365 grateful project. She has such a beautiful way of making a gratitude practice so much fun, creative, and playful! Hailey helped me in my self-care practice.

I fell in love with Hailey’s “Finding LOVE” heart-finding practice where she simply finds heart shapes on walks in nature. Hailey holds the belief while doing this that we are always finding what we are looking for. In other words, we look for what we end up finding! What a fulfilling belief. Hailey says, “when we look in the mirror, with the intention of seeing our beauty, this is what we will find: our beauty! If we look in the mirror to see the things we do not like, that is exactly what we will find. “I do not like this about my nose or my blemishes” for example. She says, “It seems to me that if we choose to look for something beautiful in our lives and the people around us, we will find it.”


There are simple and mindful ways to practice this new outlook/attitude each day. Slowing down and finding heart shapes in nature is not only uplifting for the heart; it is also grounding because you are becoming more aware of the environment around you! This uplifting yet grounding combo allows one to access a sense of balance and overall sense of wellbeing over time. The more experience I obtain as a therapist; I still come back to my roots. Nature and that less is more. We do not have to do so much to obtain a sense of well-being, as sometimes this can feel like a never-ending battle. Although it requires effort and work, we can start with a simple change in attitude. Sometimes, just planting the seed is all that is needed for the new attitude to naturally grow roots within us. An attitude that is much more friendly and helps foster, promote, and develop more love for oneself… more ease.

Mindfulness is simply an attitude. It takes practice to learn a new attitude, just like learning a new skill. And, with that learning requires us to make a conscious (mindful) decision in each moment to embark on that learning and often unlearning or letting go of an old way.

I notice in my work as a therapist, that the ´letting go´ part can often be supported in therapy with a lot of care and understanding. Some people may adopt new attitudes or outlooks in a time of high stress, adversity, or trauma as a form of survival, innate resiliency, or inner resource with the attitude: “it’s what I had to do to get by” oftentimes bringing us back to times in our childhood where we felt powerless. I have learned that one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves is to come back to ourselves; with the use of a simple practice like this one: to sustain a new attitude about ourselves for the long term, even after the height of trauma or stressor. This is truly empowering and where the depth of growth lies because trauma as well as stress, can offer us a deeper connection with self and new levels of resiliency and love.

This new way takes time, it’s a process, and going slow is okay and often resorts to a more rooted and sustainable connection and resiliency over time where healing naturally unfolds. It is because we start to feel safe again.

Just like the leaves in the fall season, they naturally fall from the tree. There is no need to pluck them out or shake the tree so they fall… they will fall naturally as you grow to love yourself more, you will simply no longer need those older attitudes or outlooks you once had that helped you as much as they could at that time. Just like an old friend, parent, substance, or other, we heal and evolve in healthier ways to outgrow our relationship with them. Oftentimes these attitudes or outlooks are modeled for us as children or engrained in us by how we were treated as a child.

Now, you: taking over and being the responsible one in all facets of your wellbeing; this is your forever superpower. 

There might be a need to be gentle with ourselves: to say those old outlooks or attitudes we once had were wrong or bad is like saying the leaves that fall from the tree in the fall season are wrong or bad. They are leaves that naturally fall away, nature does not think so much, nature naturally and fully breathes each expression of life effortlessly. 

Lessen your load, lessen your efforts. Allow things to unfold in time. Finding just one heart at a time; with each new heart, a new love for yourself is discovered and nurtured. 

Happy new discoveries of love,

Rachel Howard, LMFT, ATR-BC, RYT 


All images © Rachel Howard

Friendly reminder (disclaimer): The information in this entry is not therapy and cannot be a substitute for work with a licensed therapist. The information in the entry is only intended for educational purposes around the topic of mindfulness, a different perspective, or ideas for self-care/wellbeing and food for thought.