Have you hugged a tree recently?
Or connected with nature lately?

Join our Volunteer program at our amazing drug-free and alcohol-free, non-smoking, vegetarian sanctuary. All are welcome. Every Saturday of a scheduled retreat (please refer to retreat dates).

Volunteers participate for an average 4-hour period. Participate from 8.30am to 12.30pm - for those not attending morning session and breakfast, includes complimentary buffet vegetarian lunch on the day. OR from 9am to 1pm - for those attending morning meditation/yoga session, and complementary Nirvana breakfast.

Please register before attending. (07) 5531 0511 (Southport Office) or

What is Touch the Earth Program?

Nature is autonomous. She lives, moves and grows without us being involved.
Almost everything that happens on our planet can happen without us being involved.
The trees will continue growing.
Animals and plants will continue breathing.
The grass in your garden, the shrubs in your neighbourhood, the mountains, the ocean, the food we eat: everything is and comes from nature.
And this is what ultimately connects us with our core.
Run some earth through your fingers.
Mix some leaves and twigs in the soil.
Think about what went into that branch, that leaf, the soil.
The leaf came off a tree, that needed soil, water to grow.
The wind blows through her connecting branches and her face touched the sun every day.
The tree needs the sun and the wind,
and everything that connects our entire planetary system to live.
It's as if you are touching a whole system, feeling it, observing it, understanding it, loving your relationship with nature.

The interest in, and access to nature is a very modern phenomenon, as our leisure time and technology increase.

It has been proven that there are numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits from being in nature. It calms your nervous system, reduces stress, and boosts your immune system.

Being in nature is a wonderful place to connect to your present moment experience in an expansive mindful way. The beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of nature provide many opportunities to practice mindfulness. It is a real gift to appreciate these in a mindful peaceful way.

You find yourself going beyond a focus on economics and the ethos of capitalism, individualism, and the profit motive, and adjusting your social preferences for ever-increasing material wealth to something more like improved welfare and wellbeing. Proactive relationships, conversation, and experience with the natural world are truly transforming and healing.

Increased sensory contact with diverse natural environments leads to new modes of behaviour that seem much more important than new moral principles. Here are some ways to mindfully enhance your mental wellness by focusing on the present in a multisensory way…

Connect to your
present moment...

Celebrate your connection with the natural world with time in the garden.

There is always so much below the ground as there is above it. Walk through the garden, and pick and gently rub the fragrant leaves of some aromatics between your fingers and enjoy the fragrances. Rosemary, lavender, thyme, parsley, pineapple sage, several varieties of mint, coriander, Lilly Pillys, and even weeds such as Camphor Laurels can be appreciated for their aromatics. The leaves decorate the forest ground. Something in the earth’s scents commands the air.

What hovers right above you? What floats over your head right now? Take the time to notice the life in the forest canopy, the butterflies dancing, the vines intricately laced up among the branches and cobwebs, the way the sunlight trickles through the leaves, the birds… and the trees watching you.

Be silent. Sit still, close your eyes and listen to the chorus of living wood singing, bird calls, cicadas, the wind’s gossip, and forest talk which runs far afield. Don’t try to identify anything, just enjoy the changes in pitch, volume, and tones. Trees even further away join in. They listen to you. They hear you.

Enjoy the love that is emitted by the tactile sensations of touching the different textures of native leaves that vary in their leatheriness, roughness, velvetiness, moisture, and so on. The air rains messages. Obviously stinging plants are excluded here for good reason.

Turn off. Instead of noticing weeds that need to be pulled out, garden beds that need to be planted, and evidence of erosion and damage, take a step back and appreciate the beauty of nature without a critical eye.

Take some photos that you can sketch later on in the evening.

Can you envision a world that has survived ecological and social catastrophes
to become a place where no one goes hungry or homeless,
streams flow through former streets, gardens are everywhere,
and the culture has the strength and fortitude
to resist invasion without turning to violence?

Where might our vision take us?
What would it feel like to live in a world that celebrates diversity,
where art, joy, love and compassion take precedence over war and weapons?
How would we grow our food, produce what we need,
educate the young and care for the old?
What would it look like to live in harmony with nature?
How would it feel to dedicate your life to a worthy mission?
How can you inspire others by living your vision?
What are the best ways to form alliances with partners
in pursuit of a mission you share?

In this transformative time,
what is the colour of change?

Let our sanctuary
become yours.


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