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Ep. 44 John Rensten: Foraging, Slowing Down, And Seeing The World In A New Way

Sometimes, in the practice of mindfulness, we have to approach things in an intentionally mindful way. We have to drink our tea reverently, as if the whole universe revolved around it. This can be hard work. Other activities, though, are just mindful in the way that they need to be done. Half the time we don’t even know that we’re being mindful. Instead, we’re just enjoying ourselves in an activity that gives us reason not to be thinking about work, about paying the bills, about our troubles and traumas, or our obligations and worries. This is why we have hobbies, interests, and pastimes, to give us a break from everything we need to be thinking about, in order that we can focus completely on something in this moment. For some it’s sport, for others it’s art and crafts. And then there’s foraging. No matter how much we try to escape it with our cities and concrete, our routines and social structures, we’re never far from nature. Most of us could probably look around right now and see some greenery – whether it’s the tree outside the window, the park across the road, the lawn in the back garden, or the undulating hills and dense forests of the countryside. And it’s a good job too, because as animals ourselves, nature is a part of who we are. It’s no wonder that “getting out into nature” is considered a therapeutic antidote to the stresses of modern life. While most of us get our food from the supermarkets, where we can find our potatoes and carrots all uniform in their shapes and sizes, nature is overflowing with tasty morsels to sustain us. They might be a bit nobbly and covered in dirt, but you don’t have to go far to find something edible that nature has to offer you. And that’s true whether you live in towns and cities or the countryside. From mushrooms to berries, leaves and tubers, there is a cornucopia of treats waiting to be discovered by anyone who is prepared to slow down and look. Choose wisely and you can find all sorts of things for soups, garnishes, roasts and salads. But choose poorly and that mushroom or carrot-looking thing can make you quite sick. So it pays to be mindful about what we pick from the forest, the hedgerow, or the park Foraging adds a new dimension to our daily lives, opening our eyes to a new layer of life that exists parallel to us. It’s right there in front of us, and to enjoy its riches we just need to slow down and look with open eyes and an open mind. John Rensten is an authority on foraging and has made a career out of it. He is the founder of Forage London and the author of Edible City: A Year of Wild Food. He joined me on my podcast to share how we can discover a whole buffet of tasty treats right on our doorstep. Useful Links: Forage London: www.foragelondon.co.uk Instagram: www.instagram.com/foragelondon Twitter: www.twitter.com/foragelondon Facebook: www.facebook.com/foragelondon Get the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edible-City-Year-Wild-Food/dp/0752266136/

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Exploring the human experience, Conversations On Living is about how to find peace, happiness and contentment for a successful and fulfilling life. “Filled with personal wisdoms and tokens of positive energy”.