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Start SINGing: Nurturing Community and Connection in Nature

By Payton Hoegh, CSN Program Director

Group of people gathered outdoors
SING gathering in Ventura, CA, May 2023

One of the absolute best parts of my work with The Center for Spirituality in Nature is that I get to connect with folks from all over, spiritual seekers of every sort to talk about how powerful and meaningful it is to engage in mindful practice in the natural world.


While I love these conversations and I’m constantly energized and inspired by them, two disheartening themes seem to come up again and again -- alarm and anxiety over the environmental crises we’re facing and the increasing sense of loneliness and isolation that so many in our communities are experiencing.


My heart drops every time these subjects are raised but, I’m also encouraged that the work we are doing at the Center responds to each of these challenges in really creative ways. I see that so clearly when I work with our Spirituality in Nature Groups (SINGs).


Group of hikers in the woods.

All across the United States, we’ve connected with communities that are engaging regular, mindful practice in and with the natural world. We’ve constructed our SING network as a community of communities drawing all of these groups together, linking leaders to one another and helping a growing circle of spiritual

seekers and guides recognize that they’re not alone in being moved, inspired, and nourished by reflection, contemplation, and spiritual practice in nature.


Having led my own SING for several years, I’ve seen how these communities can offer a space of refuge and comfort. How they help us to step out of the rhythms of our day-to-day that might keep us separated and isolated and draw us into warm companionship and the awe, surprise, and peace that seems so much more accessible under an open sky.


Our SING gatherings nurture this deep sense of connection to place, this love for our local environment, and of course as we experience this rich, mindful time together, we’re drawn into this broad community not only with each other but with the whole world.

Group bowing their heads on a beach.

In a conversation with one of our SING leaders, she explained all of this far better than I ever could. She said that SING gatherings, “offer an eloquent reminder that we are all part of the amazing web of life and that we have a reciprocal responsibility to our Earth and to each other.”


As we respond to the climate crisis and the heartbreaking reality of loneliness and isolation, Spirituality in Nature Groups offer this unique and impactful opportunity to reconnect with place, with people, with the web of life on this planet, and with a sense of purpose to lift each other up in mutual thriving. I think that’s why our SING network has grown this past year to include nearly 30 communities in 17 states!


If you’re interested in joining this incredible community of communities and starting a Spirituality in Nature Group of your own, our virtual SING Leaders' Training is scheduled for November 4th.


I hope our paths cross soon, until then peace and all good to you,


Payton


 

Interested in learning more about starting your own SING?

Sign up for more guidance and information on available curriculum.

Sign up for SING Leadership Training Nov. 4, 2023

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