Oikos (Greek) – habitat, environment, home.


We don’t often consider how intertwined we are with nature because we have grown up to believe that we are separate from it. The reality is that we are an integral to the fabric of our ecology and our ecology is integral to the fabric of us, we are inseparable. We are in a relationship with our natural environment whether we choose to see it or not, and it is worth asking, is this relationship reciprocal?


What changes in our behaviour when we take the time to notice that we are surrounded and supported by our natural environment? How do we feel when we do not acknowledge its living existence? It seems that we feel a little less alive ourselves because of our neglected connection. The good news is that once we begin to notice and acknowledge, care for and tend to the environment around us, the more we feel a deep satisfying sense of belonging.  


The irony of our times is that if we were not so busy trying our best to survive then we would see that we have been jeopardizing our survival. If we look at the social and material gains that we have made as a species there is no denying that we are doing better than any other time in known history. But we don’t feel like this is true for two important reasons.


One is that our media shares the bad news and the other is that our brains negativity bias makes sure that we are always aware of the bad stuff. And so, even though we are doing amazing things we are stressing ourselves out so much that we are exhausting our physical and mental capacities. Yes, there are many people suffering and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to ensure that we continue to champion human rights and lift everyone out of poverty. But is the world really going to end in an apocalypse?


Only if we continue to catastrophise and stimulate our amygdala’s response to the point of crazed overwhelm. By slowing down our pace of life and reconnecting with our biophilic relationship we gain so much more than a moment of tranquillity. When we slow our pace down to match that of the natural environment we gain a sense of belonging that cannot be satisfied by any other substitute. It is this sense of satisfaction and connection that stimulates us to live a more simple life.


When we immerse ourselves in nature and experience our biophilic relationship we discover that it is easier to let go of thoughts and behaviours that do not serve us or our environment. Once we begin to understand that we are not separate from nature it becomes easier, almost automatic, to simplify our lives in a way that does not harmfully impact the natural environment. From this simplicity also comes a deep satisfaction and from this comes an urge to continue simplifying and by doing so creating more space and time in our lives. With this new space and time comes the urge to fill it in ways that are contributing to the healing of the natural environment and as an intrinsic consequence we are healing ourselves.


Restoring a relationship with nature is a way of life and although it may seem distant from the life you currently live, I can tell you that it becomes easier and easier. All you need to do is start with one thing, perhaps find a potted indoor plant that you can observe and nurture throughout the changing seasons. You will find that this one simple act will begin to restore your relationship with the natural environment, and yourself.


Expanding on this relationship, allow yourself to get up close and personal, observing the character and personality of all the plants around you, in your backyard and neighbourhood. Talk with your plants, sing to your plants, become friends with your plants. Let go of the idea that you are anthropomorphising the plants, perhaps the plants are biomorphising you! You will soon come to learn the language of plants, ultimately discovering this is your own innate language too.



“Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth… To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. We are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.” - David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous




When was the last time you immersed yourself in nature?

Plan a nature adventure into your schedule this week. It might be a trip to the local botanic gardens, a bush walk or a trip to the coast. Give yourself at least one hour of full immersion, no phone, no music, no talking. Just you in silence listening to the wisdom of the natural world around you.

What did you experience?

If you would like to delve deeper, reconnect with the natural world around you and within you, then join me at BIOPHILIA on Patreon. For $21 a month you will receive weekly articles and journal prompts to rediscover your place in the biophilic world. I will be sharing my experience as a herbalist and anthropologist and human being on the quest of re-wilding the body-mind. 

Join the Biophilic Movement to explore the living, reciprocal, animate earth!

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