By Mr Bee
Mr Bee: Let’s start with the title for your work “Nature Unplugged”. I have created a flip book called ‘Mindfulness Unplugged’, so we are fans of unplugging it seems! How did your story begin?
Sebastian: Great question, I had been teaching yoga for a while. My background before that was competitive body boarding/boogie boarding. I have always spent a lot time in the ocean and in nature because of my body boarding. My idea was to combine the practice of mindfulness with the outdoors. I started creating experiences where I would lead groups on small adventures here in Southern California. The experiences would typically combine a yoga session and then going out and having a surf or sometimes a hike. It would often include some form of meditation. I then came across this idea of ‘experiencing nature unplugged’. This was about getting off your device and going out and experiencing nature. Then I just shortened it to ‘Nature Unplugged’.
Mr Bee: I like it. There is a ton of data to show that we are using way too many gadgets. But recently I have been reading about the other side of the coin. Technology used responsibly can be a wonderful thing. After looking at Nature Unplugged, it seems that balance is a core value for you. How do you strike a balance in your life with devices?
Sebastian: I would say it is a constant practice for myself and my partner Sonya. We do live in a world where technology is ever present. Of course it is really useful and important in many ways. For us, I think it has been a practice of clarifying and discerning ‘what aspects of technology are really useful?’ and ‘which are not useful?’. I think that process starts with the ability to take a step back. One has to observe their energy and ask ‘what is really going on?’ Mindfulness is really the foundation for that process in my opinion.
Mr Bee: Without technology, this interview would not have been possible…
Sebastian: That’s true. Things like Skype or video chat have opened many doors. I have friends and family in different parts of the world. To be able to connect with people is a remarkable thing. At the same time, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or getting lost in these ‘Netflix vortexes’ can be addictive. I think it starts with mindfulness.
Mr Bee: On your blog you reference the differences between analogue and digital thinking. I can definitely connect to your three fold philosophy. That is mindfulness, movement and mindset. How do you implement this philosophy into your daily life?
Sebastian: So yes, I have this triangle of mindfulness, movement and mindset. I know from reading your work that establishing some sort of formal mindfulness practice is very helpful. This could take the form in a basic seated meditation or a yoga practice for example. In terms of movement, I think taking a step back and looking at evolution as a human. We are meant to be outside with nature, moving around, climbing. Finding things above and below us. Swimming. Running. This is our true nature. I am more kinesthetic by nature, so it’s very important for me to get some daily time where I am away from devices by moving around. Movement is a very broad topic but we love to teach and incorporate play in our day to day well-being retreats. Having an element of play in our day is very important, whether through sport or with games.
Mr Bee: I agree -play is the key to effective learning. One can get trapped in these Netflix aka ‘scrolling’ vortexes. I often find myself aimlessly scrolling though things. However, has the ability to bring the whole world together.
Join us for Part Two where Sebastian explores what allowed him to make a breakthrough with achieving a ‘growth mindset’.