Powered by City Nature: Fueling an Urban Outdoor Habit (Brittany Gowan, author and coach)

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Humans Outside brittany gowan

If you’ve ever spent time living in a major city, you know finding nature takes a lot more intentionality than if you spend all of your time in a rural environment. You might even think about experiencing nature in a city as happening in spite of the concrete jungle, not because of it.

But what if you flipped that on its head? What if you learned ways to appreciate nature because of the city it’s in?

That’s something today’s guest, Brittany Gowan, has become good at as part of her work coaching organizations and executives. With an industrial and organizational psychology master’s degree, she works with her clients to lean on nature in and out of the city, a concept also shares in her new book “Turn to the Sun.”

In this episode of Humans Outside Brittany talks about:

  • Finding nature wherever you are
  • The gifts of an outdoor habit in an urban environment
  • How noticing nature can raise awareness for other things

Listen now!

Some of the good stuff:

[2:17] Brittany Gowan’s favorite outdoor space

[4:02] How Brittany became someone who likes to go outside

[4:57] How do people react to the idea of nearby nature?

[6:02] Ways to find natures in the city

[8:23] Why birds are cool for this

[10:59] How to build awareness for nature in a city

[13:06] How to create space for nature

[15:03] The art of nature visualization

[22:53] Do houseplants move you towards nature?

[28:00] The top thing Brittany has learned through her outdoor practice

[34:01] Brittany’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

The following is an edited transcript of this episode of Humans Outside.

Amy Bushatz: You know that feeling you get when you spend even a little time outside? No matter how challenging it is to get out there, spending time in nature is always worth it. I’m your host, Amy Bushatz, and this is another episode of Humans Outside. Join me as we hear from fascinating outdoor minded guests and use the Humans Outside 365 challenge of spending time outside every day no matter what to push us outside daily. I’ve been a journalist for two decades and I love asking questions, but I also love going outside. So why not combine the two? Ready to hear from experts and outdoor lovers who make heading into nature just a part of who they are while we work to do the same? Let’s go.

You might not think of the middle of New York City as a prime place to discover the power of heading into nature. When I think of the city, I think of its sidewalks and towering high rises. Sure, we know from the daily outdoor habit that we talk about here that you can always find nature no matter where you are, but I tend to think about that hunt as happening in spite of the city or inspired by an escape out of the city, not because of the city. But that’s not how today’s guest, Brittany Gowan, found all of her outdoor inspiration that became a major part of her professional coaching for organizations and companies after she earned her industrial and organizational psychology master’s degree.

Instead, she rekindled her appreciation for the energy and serenity brought by nature by being within the city, not outside it. And that’s why Brittany can bring us a parade of ideas for connecting to, building appreciation for, and using nature even in places where it might not seem abundantly obvious. She shares some of those in her new book, Turn to the Sun, and she’s going to share them with us today.

Brittany, welcome to Humans Outside.

Brittany Gowan: Hi, Amy. Thank you so much. I’m glad to be here with you today.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, well, I’m really excited to talk to you. You are in, not in New York City today. You told me you’re in upstate New York, and I am in Alaska, of course, but we love to start these episodes imagining ourselves with our guests in their favorite outdoor space. So if we were going to hang out somewhere outside that you just love, where would we be with you today?

Brittany Gowan: I would say that we would meet in a community garden in New York City. And there’s one that I particularly love that has a small little pond and also a bunch of plots that people decorate with their different vegetables and flowers. And it’s fun to walk around. So that’s where I go to have calm and fun. And also that’s where I’d bring you today.

Amy Bushatz: Awesome. Now, do you garden in this community garden?

Brittany Gowan: I don’t, the line to get in is pretty long. So I just like to enjoy and go visit. I have a lot of friends that I’ve made and I like to go see what they’re growing each year. But over the years I’ve had like a. small window box garden outside one of my windows, and I grew a few things. We also have the pigeons that like to stop by, which cause a little trouble.

So, I’ve tried to do a little gardening, but I like to see other people who are doing it on a larger scale.

Amy Bushatz: is one of the things I love about public gardens because I am not a I’m not a gardener either, but I appreciate other people who are. And so I love that these spaces can be, can check boxes for everybody that someone who really feels a lot of value by growing things, and who’s really into that can have that space for that. And then somebody like me who just wants to be around people and growing things can have that space for me too. It’s just, it’s a wonderful intersection.

Brittany Gowan: I agree. And you know, the people who are able to grow those things, especially let’s say in city life, they also like to celebrate it with other people. So I know that some of my friends get excited when I stop by because they have a big zucchini growing and they want to share it with someone. So, so it is sweet. And it’s nice to have those kinds of connections in a place that it’s unexpected.

Amy Bushatz: Absolutely. Okay, so how did you become someone who likes to go outside and wander around community gardens?

Brittany Gowan: It started when I was a little kid. My parents love nature, being outdoors. They were big gardeners in our backyard. We also have had a. place on a lake for a very long time. And it was always a, where we went to on the weekends and they were always looking for my brother and I to be involved with the natural world.

And I think it just innately through them and through our own experiences, it became something that I really connected with. And, you know, then I moved to New York City and it’s, you know, the concrete jungle. But over the first year of being there, I realized that my connection with nature was still present. And then I had to find it in little pockets. But it started from my parents and, you know, we still go out and notice things together. And it’s. definitely like a family dialogue.

Amy Bushatz: So when you talk to people about finding and appreciating nature in city spaces, what do they say? what’s their reaction? Do they feel like that’s possible, impossible, a big stretch? What do they say?

Brittany Gowan: I think there’s a mix as some people who I’ve talked to, let’s say friends who say, Oh yeah, like I connect with certain nature in the city. And they’re like, Oh yeah, that makes sense. I mean, everyone walks by the little parks or the community gardens, like we talked to you or about, you know, Central Park, like everyone has these things, but in a city like this, there’s so much.

Else going on as well. That’s sometimes that’s not the priority or something that people use on a daily basis. and so I think sometimes people are surprised. oh, yeah, that’s true. I should go to Bryant Park. I should go to this community garden and other people who are already on board.

They’re like, yeah, I love going there. So, I think it’s, it’s both a yes, this is me too. Or, oh, maybe this is something that I could

Amy Bushatz: Do you notice when you’re out in the city, you know, you mentioned the community gardens, we’ve talked about that, obviously, you mentioned park spaces. Do you find that you notice nature in different ways, and in ways that take less of the destination, if you will, like that is just around you, no matter where you are, perhaps because of your practice of doing so?

Brittany Gowan: Yeah, definitely. I think that we’ll say in big city life, like entrances to like skyscrapers, lots of times they put little flowers around them if there’s like a bigger area. Or if you go down into this area of the village, which is where I live, there’s a lot of window boxes or the community likes to just put plants and flowers around the trees on the sidewalks.

And I think that when you get in the habit of looking for nature, it becomes more available to you. And definitely in some of the more green spaces is, it’s easier to connect with nature, but if you’re In Midtown, let’s say where the buildings are big and there’s less greenery. Maybe you’ll notice the little flowers more when you start to have that habit.

And that’s how I began. When I first moved to New York, I lived in Midtown and I worked in the Chrysler building and there was not a lot of nature around, but when you start to seek it out, you start to notice the little pockets. And that’s kind of one of my bigger things of saying, notice the little details, and once you start to notice those little details, then the broader landscape, I think, opens up to you in different ways as well.

Amy Bushatz: Well, you mentioned pigeons earlier, right? I think that birds are such a good example of this because they are always around in some form, pretty much wherever you go. I mean, you may not be looking at some exotic or majestic, you know, like these things that we put labels on, right? But, I mean, There’s the pigeons, you know, and there’s the crows, or like these sort of starlings, these like more, I don’t know, group or city kind of birds that are eating crumbs or whatever, right?

And that’s nature too, you know, and if you stop to think about how this bird is surviving in this cityscape or for me here, you know, I’ve got nature all around me, right? But it astounds me that even in the depths of winter here are these little tiny birds that somehow haven’t frozen solid and I can look around and see maybe just, I mean, at some point the snow just gets kind of ugly, right? Like it’s blown and it’s dirty and like, blah, and everything’s gray and you’re just like, why is it still January, you know? But here’s these birds and it just blows my mind every time. And so I feel like when I look for those little things, I see bigger things, like bigger movements, bigger collections.

Brittany Gowan: I agree with you. I write about in the book about this blue jay who I named Philippe who used to come to one of my window boxes. And he would come every morning but I would also see him out in the parks. He was a bigger bird and he’s still around by the way. but I don’t have the same apartment.

But he was a bigger blue jay and I could always tell his specific call. It was pretty aggressive. But I would see him in the park nearby or a community garden. I always knew him like, Oh my gosh, that’s Philippe. And it was always a, like a reminder of, okay, you know, Philippe is like thriving in the urban jungle.

Like I can find ways to, too. So I think there’s that, you know, resilience nature that we obviously can get from nature that helps us to persist as well. And whether it’s a plant, or it’s an animal, there’s so many reminders. And like we said, you just have to get in the mindset of being present to them.

Amy Bushatz: I call all of our bald eagles George or Georgina. But I do. I’ve named them all George. It seemed appropriate. I don’t know why. And, but, yeah, it’s easy. But, I do. I feel, I don’t know that it’s the same. Bald eagles, at least in my area, they soar over.

We can’t, I can’t get a super good look at these guys. in terms of, who are you? What is your, is George your name? But, it does, I feel like having the name, like, name it is, has this connection to it. And then every time I see a bald eagle, I get so excited. Hey George, what’s up? You know, and, I don’t know.

It just, it really does give me sort of a grounding, even if I’m in my car on, you know, driving down the road rushing to an appointment or something, a bald eagle soars over me and I’m like, George, what’s up?

Brittany Gowan: No, that’s, that’s totally true. I mean, my brother’s in the city too. And even if we’re not anywhere near the area where Philippe lives, as a, just a fun thing. If we hear a blue Jay, let’s say like, in Brooklyn, we’re like Philippe. And it’s just that notion of that connection to these cool things in nature while you’re, you know, whatever setting you’re in. So I totally agree.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Well, good. I’m not crazy. Excellent. Or

Brittany Gowan: No, you’re not. Or we both are,

Amy Bushatz: One of the two. Okay. So how do you build a practice of awareness for nature in a place where it may not be super obvious? Because you talked about like learning to notice these little things, but let’s break it down and get really specific if we can with a few steps.

Like how do people start to do that, get from point A to point B. What’s the, what are the steps in between there?

Brittany Gowan: Yeah, I think so, for my example, I started off by going out on my lunch break and going to a little park nearby and that became the routine. And I think that if we can create a sustainable routine and build these healthy habits that are able to be lasting, then that’s how we can include nature into our daily lives.

So. Even if you just have five minutes and you’re like, okay, I’m going to pause now and I’m going to look at a house plant, notice the details, notice the color green, or I’m going to look outside, notice the trees, follow the branches, or if you have a little more time like I did, going out into a park or some nature setting nearby for a brief little walk or just time in nature, but creating these sustainable practices, these, I like to say like intentional pauses, And including them in your day.

And that’s how I was able to start to include nature in my busy city life. And then on the weekends, I started to go down to the area that I live in. Now that’s more tree lined where nature is a little bit more present in the city. And, but creating that effort of saying, okay, Saturdays are for going on the tree line streets.

So creating a pattern and a structure for yourself, that’s both fun and also helpful. I think those are the two things that, you know, you want to make it last. You want to make something that is, you’re able to continue and that you want to continue. So, I’ve been a coach for many years and I was also a former athlete. And I really believe that starting on these small practices allow for a larger routine to, to exist. So just taking that momentary pause in whatever nature is around saying present. Taking, leaving your phone in your pocket or whatever, releasing distractions and just practicing being present. I think it’s a very rewarding act of mindfulness. So, that’s how I would say getting started. Very small, very sustainable.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, in your book, you talk about ways to create space for nature, and I’m wondering if you, when you say that, you mean this practice that you’re talking about, or if there are other ways that you create space.

Brittany Gowan: Yeah, I definitely think like what we just talked about of saying, like creating literal, like physical space in your day to connect with nature. Or if you’re dealing with a challenging situation, creating space like mental space from that or something that even you have to decide and letting nature in. So saying, okay, I have to figure out this certain thing or I have to tackle this thing at work or deal with this challenging conversation later, but creating this space between those moments.

And then having nature provide a pause to let you kind of regain your calm. So, I think that it’s, when I talk about creating space, it’s mental, and it’s physical, and it’s also allowing nature to fill up the in between in order for you to better deal with things in your daily life, or challenges and opportunities.

Amy Bushatz: You mentioned just a few moments ago, a couple minutes ago, other ways to connect with nature, like looking at trees or, you know, positing to appreciate a house plan, I think you said. So I’m wondering if you can maybe talk a little bit more about, how to connect with nature that’s not going outside with it. Because, you know, one of the things we talk about here is exactly what you’re saying right building this habit of go actually physically going outside in nature and I think that is in my experience that is a very rewarding way to connect with nature and probably the most rewarding way is like to physically be in it, but it’s not the only way.

So I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit about how to connect with nature that’s not, that doesn’t involve, you know, in my case, this is, you know, we’re talking on, we’re talking on a very cold day here. It is below zero and just blowing wind outside. This is not my favorite weather. Okay. So how can I connect with nature in my house that’s not the bajillion layers to go outside and the horror that’s happening in my, outside my window right now.

Brittany Gowan: Yeah, exactly. So in the book, I talk, I write a variety of meditations that allow the reader to go to different places through, meditative thought process. And it allows you to build out a scene of what you can see, feel using all of your senses. And this style of Guided imagery. I teach this in my coaching practices and it’s very much the idea that no matter where you are or what is happening, you can re retrieve your calm or be involved in a different setting through your imagination and through intentionally, your having your mind visualize you being in a setting.

So.I think that you can do this when you wake up in the morning, when you’re busy during the day, and even taking two minutes just to say, okay, so it’s cold where you are, you want to be, let’s say, at a beach, so you think to yourself,

Amy Bushatz: Ha, ha, ha,

Brittany Gowan: So for you, it’s okay, what if you were going to a beach, what does the sand feel like on your feet? What is the wind feel like on your face? What color is the ocean water? What is, you know, seagrass to your left or right? And maybe if you don’t know all of these answers, and maybe you’re not returning to a scene that’s familiar to you, but you’re imagining a scene that you’d like to be in, then thinking to yourself, what would you like to see in this scene?

What is to your left and right? What is the nature that is around you? And this is a practice that I’ve done for many years. It really started for me being an athlete and using guided imagery for performance and, for those kinds of aspects. But you can use it for your health and happiness as well.

And I think that when you’re imagining a scene, you, your brain starts to believe that this it’s there. And that’s the, that’s the wonderful thing about our brains that it’s, it’s very powerful, but it also is influenced. So when you’re telling yourself we’re at a beach, we’re feeling warm, we’re feeling happy, it’s sending those signals that say, this is what we’re feeling right now. And then you begin to feel that way, similar to how you think about a person that you care about, or a pet, if you start to think about those elements and how you feel differently.

And we can do that with nature too, so I can definitely say, you know, in winter too, for me, I’m a winter person, but in New York, it can get a little much after a while, and I will always return to this certain beach in Latin America, which is one of my favorite places, and I’ll just be like, I’m just walking on this expansive beach, I am in the warmth, so, so yeah, I think we can do this in a variety of settings, and no matter what’s going on, we can always, bring something else into our day.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, two things. I love that the like the habit that you build by actually going outside can create experiences or put you in experiences that you can then go back to using this guided thought or like this purposeful thought later. And I think the other thing is that, It could be easy to write off this sort of go to your happy place, or this meditation as being a little frou frou, but if you think about, and it’s purposeful, right, if you think about the opposite of that, of this, where, I don’t know, have you ever woken up from a dream and been in a bad mood about a person because you had a dream about them? Has this ever happened to you, Brittany?

Brittany Gowan: I mean, I guess I, I wish people would not arrive in my dreams. So, yeah.

Amy Bushatz: Okay, so this morning, I woke up annoyed at my husband because in my dream, he was a little rude to me and wouldn’t give me any privacy. Okay? This is not reality. It’s something that happened, it’s fiction, it happened in my brain while I was sleeping. And it is not fair for me to be annoyed at this person because of something he did. Did in my dream. Right? That’s crazy. But that happens. Okay.

So, but like the power of that to influence my mood. Okay. If you think about that compared to the power of something positive, which would be in visualizing myself on a beach, I like to where I like to visualize is a, path through a, mountain pass. It’s called Resurrection Pass. And I did this long run there as a part of this ultramarathon race. And there was this section that runs along a, mountain creek. And, it then goes through sort of a meadow. And it’s all lined with these just astonishing wildflowers. Okay, like tall and you could run along it and just put your hands out and like page, you know, through or feel through these flowers as you go down this path.

Oh gosh, it is just, it was one of these moments where you’re somewhere and you’re like, is this real? Am I actually here? Um, and I tried at that time, I tried to video it so I could take this video of like moving through this and it just, It did not do it justice at all, you know. So I go back there now in my mind to make myself feel calm or to, you know, keep myself from spinning and being stressed.

I think people I talk to sometimes dismiss the power of doing that, but we can all say, you know, I’ve had a stressful dream and that has power over me when this is just the opposite of that and using nature. I don’t know, is that crazy?

Brittany Gowan: No, I just think that in general,it is, it is exposure to certain things too. I mean, you know, if you, I think if you’ve had certain experiences, say you did athletics or you were a performer, they’re certain, or you’re, you’re in business and you present a lot, there are a lot of professions or like activities, pastimes where visualizing your success, or visualizing what you need to do is like a huge part of it. And I think that then when you see the benefits and not everything turns out well, but when you have the mindset that you know how to do a certain thing or how your mind is creating these images that support the results that you want, you see, you see the value.

Um, so I do think that like anything, it’s something I think if, if you’re, if you’re not exposed to it, you have questions about things, or if maybe you haven’t had the right experience related to it. But I think that everyone, like you said, can, you can see that, things can impact us negatively and positively. Dreams, definitely do. And, you know, our minds tend to go towards the negative. It’s easier. So, like, we can see that, we are heavily influenced by things that aren’t as good. That’s, you know, if you have a bad dream, that’s an example. But we have enough examples in our own lives of the positive that make a big impact, too.

So I think it’s just something that, from what I can say, I’ve worked with a variety of people, a variety of different backgrounds. And some people who are new to a style of guided imagery. Of course, there’s a hesitation, but the people who have been the most hesitant, have surprisingly been the most into it and the most, I think they’ve gotten the most out of it. So I’ve seen that change and,it’s pretty powerful.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah, you know, one, kind of going back to ways to connect to nature that aren’t necessarily outside in it. We had a guest here a couple of years ago, a researcher out of, out of Washington state who talked about research that said soft, like soft awareness or looking at trees or you know, just gazing at a houseplant, that all of these things have similar benefits to being outside, like measurable benefits compared to being outside, that all of these things help improve your life. I’m wondering, do you personally keep houseplants? Do you encourage other people to do that?

Brittany Gowan: Yup, I’ve had house plants, for many years in, in varying, amounts in the city. And I think that, I think that when you bring nature inside, it keeps you connected to the broader natural world. And to your point about, you know, a gaze on the greenery and I believe that, you know, in my interpretation, that is it creating a mental pause.

It’s allowing your mind to come back to the present. Either, maybe you have had a Worries or rumination or whatever is going on, but like those nature connections. There’s a lot of science around the fact that being in nature and I can consider with houseplants as well, that people have lower levels of rumination because it allows you to be more present. So having that gaze whether you’re intentionally saying wow, that is like an electric color green or really dark like forest green, but if you’re just gazing past it, I’ve definitely done this. And it’s that pause and I think that it has great value, especially for people who are maybe in cities or in settings where they’re not able to just get out into nature. Any level of greenery, in my opinion, also connects you to a level of compassion, which is something that, I think obviously helps our mental, emotional, physical state.

Amy Bushatz: So I have this little houseplant. I’m not going to pretend to know what it is. I mean, and it is small. The pot for it, I think, is maybe like four inches. Okay, it is a small little guy. I call it my emotional support plant. And I call it that because I, when faced with the decision of literally going left into the ice cream store or right into the plant spot shop, okay. Because they have the same entryway. I, decided to go right into the plant, take a right and go into the plant store, rather than buy a metric ton of ice cream for the bad day I was having. Okay? This was the decision point, this day is the worst day I’ve had in a really long time. Something really stressful happened at my job that I was just like, that’s it! You know? And I hung a right and went to the plant shop and I bought this plant and I spent way more money on this pot. Oh, I bought the plant, by the way, because I liked the pot. Okay, because it’s like really pretty and there’s some colors on it I like.

Okay, so I end, yeah, so I end up with this little plant on my, my emotional support plant, which has now made it through almost an entire year. Okay, and I do quite a lot of deep creative work because I’m a writer. And so, I don’t know how many other writers or people who do work like this are listening to this, but there’s a lot of, staring out the window and contemplating things that may or may not be related to write, what you’re trying to write, right?

You’re like, hmm, the sky, or just like not thinking about anything or thinking about things that you wish you weren’t thinking about because you’re trying to think about the thing in front of you, right? There’s just like a lot of mind wandering that happens. But when, now, when I do that, sometimes instead of staring into nothing or, you know, getting distracted by Instagram, I look at my emotional support plant. And what you’re saying, if I’m hearing you correctly, is that it actually is an emotional support plant. I was just calling it that because it was not an emotional support ice cream, but that’s like literally what it’s doing for me.

Brittany Gowan: Yeah, I totally agree. When I was writing this book, I had a Monstera in my apartment still do. And it’s I’d moved it, but at that time it was near where I was writing and I would just like stare off into it. And it was just, it was also for me just a mental break and saying, okay, I don’t have the word to fill this sentence. I’m just going to stare off at the plant for a minute. Like collect myself and come back and it became like this helpful friend tool to get through what I needed to do so very similar to you. I believe in this. So anyone out there who even throughout the day. I mean, it’s why like in offices, people bring plants in next to their computers. I mean, this is going on for so long because there is a notion to that you know, being with nature is calming. We know this innately. So having these little pockets,are helpful. So, I’m glad you have a plant too. I believe in this.

Thank you. And I still like the pot a lot, by the way. Is it, what color is

Amy Bushatz: Okay, it’s it’s pink and purple and blue and it’s sort of painted like a little bit of a sunrise or when I think when I bought it, it reminded me of the Northern Lights. It’s the Aurora. Um, and so yeah, so it’s just really pretty and now it has my emotional support plant in it. So there you go. I know some people name plants, but I just call it that.

Brittany Gowan: That’s fine. Yes.

Yeah. And it seems to be thriving, even though every now and then I come into my office and it will have there’ll be dirt next to it on my desk, like somebody dumped it over and now it’s a little unsettled in there. And I cannot figure out how this happening because my children swear that they did not dump over my plant. So I’m about to up some sort of like security camera on the plant Yeah. Like the plants moving at

Amy Bushatz: Yeah to bust who keeps dumping over my emotional support because I, this is not sustainable. So,

Brittany Gowan: Right.

Amy Bushatz: You know, you can, that could, we could talk a lot about what like other things that means, but there you go. One of the things I love about my daily nature habit of spending 20 minutes outside every day, no matter what, is that it’s helped me learn to create and keep other habits. And of course there. is like a wide variety, like a huge variety of things that I have learned by doing this that have nothing to do with specifically with being outside, right?

Like just other benefits in my life, like how, you know, keeping a schedule, like all these things. Okay. So I’m wondering what some other benefits of learning awareness, and awareness practice for noticing outside, beyond just noticing outside, what that practice has done for you or what you see that in your clients, like what are their benefits to building this have you seen?

Brittany Gowan: I think the biggest and it’s broad, but it’s personal growth, personal development. It’s, you know, let’s say if you’re, it’s going to be springtime and you watch, you know, every day or every couple of days as the leaves come out on the trees or you’re watching the daffodils, the tulips come up and you see this, this nature of, of this year round event. And they come about, they they go away and they come back. And I think that when you are, you’re focusing on, certain elements of nature and seeing how they change, you can also see how you change as well. I think that’s something for me that I’ve, I’ve always tried to cue into and seeing the different seasons.

I mean, being in the Northeast, I mean, it’s, we, we do have the seasons, which I love, and I think that the seasons always allow for a time to reflect of what you’re doing, what you want to be doing, or what’s yet to come. And I work with clients a bunch about how winter, it is like a holding pattern. And sometimes we need to be in more of the building aspect while maybe we’re not flourishing or maybe we’re not showing what we’ve done yet, but there, but we’re in the process and that spring will come.

So I think that I use some of these references with clients and I think it’s been helpful for them over the years of seeing the progression of the seasons or just the progression of plants and nature around you, no matter what time, and staying focused on the connection of that you can always grow from where you are and that change or loss. or challenges doesn’t mean that there’s an end of the road, but you’re probably going to have to pivot and take a different path , to how to grow better or grow in a way that you want to.

So that’s just one example, but I think it’s one of the biggest.

Amy Bushatz: I’m like semi embarrassed to say that it took me, I don’t know, 2000 days of this habit to wake up one day and be like, Oh, people have seasons too. I don’t know. It just, it took me a long time to get there. But that concept really has helped me quite a lot, like that it’s okay for things to end and things to begin. And not just okay, but a natural and appropriate and expected and something that perhaps, because it’s going to happen anyway, you should not fight anymore, Amy.

Brittany Gowan: Right, Yeah. I mean, that’s, I think too, with nature, like we were just saying, like the seasons arrive, whether anyone or nature is ready. You know, I mean, it’s the progression of time and nature shows that it is that the time is ceaseless. It’s going to keep going and we can either embrace it, we can try to slow it down. But the more we, like anything, the more you try to pull at something, the less likely it’s going to work well for you or it’s going to be something enjoyable or something healthy for you. So, so yeah, seeing the seasons and knowing that going with the flow, but also with a plan. I mean, I think that’s the nature that’s how, what we can see in nature. I mean, it’s nature evolves, but nature also has a plan. I think the more we take that approach,the more happy we’ll be in the process.

Amy Bushatz: And also, like, understanding that there’s things to be excited about in every season. The season does not have to be your favorite for you to find something good, good in it to like anticipation and look forward to. And for me, spending outside has taught me to find things to look forward to in every season. Do I like summer more? Heck yes, I definitely do. Am I excited about ski season coming when the winter starts to roll around? Absolutely.Even though I know that winter brings a lot of other challenges with it, but it also has benefits. And having this practice of being outside has taught me that.

I think that seasons of life are similar to that, right? You can go into a season where you, maybe you have a kid who’s, you know, going into a challenging school year and you know that this is going to be very difficult and take a lot of your time. You know, something like that. But you can also understand that when you face these things, you create better personal connections or, you know, or whatever, right?

There’s benefits to every season regardless of how difficult or pleasurable the season itself, on its face may be.

Brittany Gowan: Right. Exactly. And I think too, like when you have that mindset of embracing it, you’ll, no matter what happens, you will grow and change. And I think that is the point that we should all be growing and changing and embracing that and normally things that are, are harder. you bloom in different ways after and, and at the beginning of it, you never think this is, something I’m going to be excited about, but even in, I can say for me personally, things that have been very challenging, they have at the end of the time been the most rewarding, so.

Amy Bushatz: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, Brittany, I really appreciate your time with us today. We close out our episodes, hearing about a guest’s favorite outdoor moment, something that you experienced and you just really want to go back to and wouldn’t mind taking us with you. Describe it for us and, yeah, gift that to us.

Brittany Gowan: Sounds good. There is a nature preserve slash beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. And,it’s a space where you can really only visit most of it at low tide. So you have to plan it out. And when you get there, there are just a ton of animals from the seabirds to the little fish and the hermit crabs. And everyone’s very busy and doing their own thing. And I think that it’s a beach where the, there are, you can find a lot of alone time cause it’s a small space. And whenever I need a moment just to chill out or reconnect to a truly like wild setting, I always imagine getting there at low tide, seeing the scene, looking at the water. And, I’m sure everyone has similar experiences, with those special nature places, but that’s definitely mine.

Amy Bushatz: Well, Brittany, thank you so much for sharing that with us and for joining us on Humans Outside today. We sure appreciate your time.

Brittany Gowan: Thank you. Amy, I’m really glad to be here.

That’s a wrap on this episode of Humans Outside, but hey, I need your help. Enjoy the show? Leave a five star rating or review wherever you get your podcasts. It makes me feel good, but it also helps others find the show too, which is cool, right? Now go get outside. Until next time, we’ll see you out there.

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