East Inspire London News Mindfulness

Inspire: Jo Goldsmid, Earth Whisperer & London Nature Guide

Charlie 1 810x541 - Inspire: Jo Goldsmid, Earth Whisperer & London Nature Guide
Written by James Langton

I offer experiential workshops to help rediscover our connectedness with nature and our place within it. Immersing ourselves in our wild surroundingswe will explore our relationship to nature with the aim of developing a renewed vitality and sense of belonging in the more-than-human world. We will work individually, in pairs and as a whole group, with a focus on using our senses and inhabiting the environment mindfully.  By gently contacting our childhood wonder and delight in our natural surroundings, we may discover that this whole planet is in fact, our home…

What do you do?

I’m the founder of Earthwhisperer – a project that helps people connect more deeply to nature through workshops and retreats in London’s green spaces and beyond. 

What is your greatest challenge at the moment?

Marketing my workshops, so thank you Less Stress London for the helping hand!

What is your greatest joy?

Going for a silent stroll in the woods with a good friend. Our chatter peters out as nature’s voices, smells and textures claim us. The nourishment of human companionship while immersed in the wider community of life – now, that’s what I call a good time!

How can nature affect our mood?

This is a burgeoning area of research. Studies tell us that spending time in natural environments can reduce stress and anxiety, make us happier, calmer and even more generous and trusting.  And my experience bears this out. As, I imagine, yours does. Often, at the end of workshops, participants have an aliveness in their eyes that wasn’t there before. They have slowed down and softened. They have woken up to the world around them and this process is beautiful to witness. 

What would you say to someone who is a bit scared of nature?

I’d say, start small. Choose one thing – a spider, mud, whatever makes you pull a face or step backwards. Now, give it all your attention. When we let nature in through our senses in the present moment, we can’t help but get interested in it.  

By focussing on the tickly sensation of a snail gliding across the palm of your hand, you’ll soon forget you ever thought they were disgusting creatures! And you might naturally start to wonder about it’s life: what’s it doing? how did it get here? 

If it helps, you can imagine you are David Attenborough – he approaches everything in nature with complete curiosity, and curiosity is the greatest antidote to fear.

Say hello! Yes, I know this may sound a bit weird but greeting the natural world helps us to see creatures and plants less as objects for us to use as we please and more as non-human ‘beings’ that have their own value. And ‘hello’ could just be the start of a whole new conversation…

Finally, if you have a young child, take them to the park and just follow what they do. Let them teach you how to belong in nature.

A week never goes by without… 

me greeting the other-than-human beings that I share my life with: my houseplants, the plane tree outside my window, the wrens nesting in my garden…

All Seasons are equal but my favourite is…

Argh, this is a hard one! Ok, winter is my current favourite – when millions of birds have arrived here from the Arctic and northern Europe. 

This winter I was blessed to be able to take a road trip to see the starling murmurations in Brighton and the southwest. Starlings gather at dusk in their thousands to swoop and swirl in unison across the sky – it’s the most stunning spectacle I have ever seen. 

We don’t often get to see this natural wonder in London anymore -apparently, starlings were once so common in the capital that the sheer weight of them perched on the arm of Big Ben stopped the clock in its tracks! – but it’s still worth keeping your eyes peeled in the city for a few hundred or so doing their dance on a chilly winter’s night.  

What’s your Favourite part of London and why?

It has to be Bushy Park in south-west London. I grew up here – alongside the grassland bumpy with century-old ant hills, ancient oaks and the herds of red and fallow deer that rut and roam.  My daily walks home from the school bus through the Park were where I felt my most peaceful as a child. 

Up and Coming Awake in Nature Workshops in East London
20th May 18
10th June
15th September