I've shared lots of stories of my trial and error method of talking to nature spirits and have finally broken it down into my five simple steps to communicate with nature. For a decade I meditated, read books, listened to podcasts, journaled, and stood frozen staring at any number of animals or birds that crossed my path thinking….WHAT ARE YOU SAYING TO ME?!
I’m guessing it does because I get plenty of messages from readers saying that they are doing the same thing but nothing is happening. I get it. I was there – for a long time. But you don’t have to be!
Once I learned to communicate with nature, the world around me was suddenly so much more alive. I wish someone had just given me some simple instructions when I started to help me along this path, so in this post I’m going to share the simple steps (still) I practice to interact with the natural world.
Once you understand how it works, I have three free meditations for you to download to help you practice these skills until it becomes natural for you to communicate with nature.
Here are the five simple steps I use to communicate with nature:
1. Slow Down
This was a message that took me a long time to hear and integrate into my daily life. In fact, it was some pine trees in my neighborhood that taught me this trick. Nature vibrates at a different frequency than we do. If you’re walking through a forest at the same speed that you walk through the grocery store, you’re not going to be able to absorb much. You won’t feel subtle changes in the atmosphere or hear a bird chirp at you to get your attention.
Start going for a walk outside, alone, every day (or as often as possible). It’s very difficult to be with someone else and take in the subtlety in your surroundings. You’ll be tempted to make conversation with your walking partner. Put your phone on silent or Do Not Disturb so you don’t get interrupted by a call or text.
Walk as slowly and deliberately as possible. If it normally takes you 15 minutes to walk around your block, make it 30 minutes. Stop, look at anything that catches your attention and listen intently. Depending on your neighborhood, this might be easier to do in a park or on a trail where there are fewer distractions.
If this is difficult for you, spend about 10 minutes meditating before walking. Ideally, you need to shift your brain from the place where it is very alert and awake to more of a calm and relaxed state. If you meditate regularly, this is probably pretty simple for you to do. If not, try Binaural Beats to relax first.
2. Tune Into and Trust Your Senses
We have at least five senses that we use to relate to the world around us. Much of our human communication (at least in person) relies on body language. Trees and plants and rivers and mountains don’t have the ability to communicate with you in this way so we have to learn to sense their communication in ways that may not feel as natural to us. They’re speaking a foreign language that we have to learn.
We all have the ability to do this, but some of our senses are more developed than others. For instance, you may easily “hear” messages in your head. It probably sounds like your own voice so you likely dismiss it as random chatter or you simply having a conversation with yourself. But it may be a message from your spirit guides or it might be a tree saying HEY YOU!
You may sense communication from others – a warmness in your heart, a flutter in your stomach or pressure in your head. You may receive visual messages or see auras. You can even sense messages through smell – I do! Even if you think these things have never happened to you before, they probably have and you just haven’t noticed. This is precisely why slowing down is so important. We can so easily dismiss the incredibly gentle ways that the world is interacting and communicating with us.
Once you tune into your senses, you’ll need to decide to trust them. Because of the subtleness of nature’s communication, it is very easy to decide that you didn’t get the message you thought you did. Don’t discount your intuition or initial reaction. When you first start practicing, write down the things you perceive and don’t try to figure them out or judge them in any way. Over time, you’ll learn to trust the feedback when you notice patterns.
I typically hear messages in my right ear. They have a different quality than me just having a conversation with myself in my head. But it took me awhile to figure that out. Now, when I hear something in my right ear, I immediately pay attention because I know it is a direct communication.
3. Ask Permission
Just like you would ask a friend first if you can stop by and visit and then knocking before going in, you should check to see if the tree or plant or rock wants to communicate with you before just chatting away with them. Some don’t have any interest in talking with you or helping you. That’s okay, just move on. But do respect their boundaries.
This goes for entering a natural area as well. After you get out of your car or walk out your front door, but before beginning your nature walk, pause. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and ground your energy. And then simply say in your mind that you’d like to communicate with the spirits of the place on your walk today and ask if you have their permission. And then WAIT. Unless getting an immediate exuberant response, it will likely be very quiet. This is when you tune into your senses. Give it at least a minute – a full sixty seconds sometimes feels like an eternity so don’t rush.
What will permission feel like? It could be a warm feeling in your heart, a breeze that kicks up, a sudden memory that pops into your mind, or it could be as direct as a voice in your head saying “Sure! Come on in!”
I should mention that some nature spirits will test you to see what your intentions are before fully trusting you. You may not realize that’s what is happening so pay attention to opportunities to help when out in nature. We humans have the benefit of arms and legs that allow us to do easy, but important things like picking up trash!
When I first started going on daily walks to communicate with nature I was getting a message that I needed to pick up trash while I was out walking. But I would regularly forget to bring a trash bag with me. Sometimes I would try to reason with the voice in my head saying – Ah! I
forgot a bag! I’m so sorry – I promise to come back later and pick up garbage. And every time I would do that, a bag would appear on my path.
So for months I picked up trash on my walks. Scampering down embankments to pick up a beer can or untangling a piece of plastic from tree branches. Over time, my efforts were rewarded. I began finding feathers on nearly every walk, typically right next to an especially difficult piece of garbage to reach.
Then, one evening when I was traveling for work in a big city, I was walking back to my hotel after dark and heard a street tree say .psst .come over here! I stopped in my tracks and thought…did I really hear that? So I walked over to the tree and immediately saw what it needed. There was an empty bottle of booze leaning against the trunk of the tree. I laughed out loud as I picked it up and threw it away. Apparently my reputation with the trees had preceded me on this trip!
4. Ask Questions
Now that you’re in the right energetic vibration to communicate and have asked permission, you may begin asking questions. It’s probably easier to start with yes or no questions as the answers will be easier to perceive.
You can certainly ask personal questions that you’d like answers to but if you’ve decided to work with one particular tree or plant, you might want to start with asking questions about itself, just as you would to get to know a new friend. If it’s a tree I’m talking to, I will usually put my hands on the trunk or sit on the ground and lean against the tree as it’s sometimes easier to communicate that way.
Every tree or plant has a different energy and the more you talk with them, the more comfortable you will get with their different communication styles. When I was in Olympic National Park in Washington state, I learned that the Sword Ferns have a sense of humor. They made jokes and laughed – both with me and at me. I had never experienced that before but there were so many of them and each one that I stopped and interacted with had something funny to say. It must be their communication style!
Also, keep in mind that the larger and older something is (like a mountain or a rock), the quieter the communication is. I would recommend starting with trees and plants first so you don’t get frustrated. Most of them are so happy that someone is talking to them that they are eager to chat.
Just remember to tune into your senses to hear them. And you may not understand what they are telling you all at once. Sometimes it takes me weeks or months to put together a specific message they want me to hear. This is moving at the speed of nature.
5. Say Thank You
This probably goes without saying, but always say thank you and offer gratitude to the natural world for communicating and sharing their wisdom with you. You can also ask the tree or plant spirits if there is something you could offer to show your thanks. It could be some cornmeal or tobacco or a piece of fruit or it could be picking up trash! Try your best to honor their requests.
Now that you know how to communicate with nature, the most important thing to do is practice. Every time you step outside, you can take a few minutes to connect and say hello. The more often you interact, the easier it will be to hear and trust the messages you receive. I have learned so many valuable lessons in my human life by talking with the incredibly wise non- humans we share the earth with.
In conclusion, here are my are five simple steps to communicate with nature that you can repeat over and over as you practice:
1. Slow down
2. Tune into and trust your senses
3. Ask for permission
4. Ask questions
5. Say thank you
I’ve created three free meditations to help you practice these skills: a walking meditation to help you slow down and tune into your surroundings, a series of writing or drawing prompts to connect you with your senses and trust your intuition, and a guided meditation to connect with the energy of a tree of your choosing!