Insight in Nature

September 28, 2019
Authors John Harvey, at left, and Doug Bill discussed their books in response to questions posed by SEEDS Executive Director, Sandy Long at the Milford Readers and Writers Festival on September 22, 2019 at Grey Towers National Historic Site.
Tuning in to nature’s beauty.

Nature came through in a spectacular display of golden sunlight, hovering hummingbirds and flowering finery for the insightful and inspiring program, “Seeing the Forest Through the Trees: Finding Deeper Meaning in Nature,” held on September 22 at Grey Towers National Historic Site in Milford, PA.


The free panel discussion and field excursion with local authors John Harvey and Doug Bill was part of the Milford Readers & Writers Festival. Co-sponsored by Pike/Wayne Conservation Partnership (PWCP) and the US Forest Service at Grey Towers, with support from the Grey Towers Heritage Association, the program was moderated by Sandy Long, Executive Director of SEEDS, which is a member of the PWCP.


The authors engaged in a compelling discussion of their books, writing process and more in response to questions such as, “What role does practicing attentive appreciation play in our interface with the natural world? And how does this relate to self-understanding?


Following a question and answer session, Doug and John led a field excursion where attendees ranging from children to seniors participated in a sensory-based meditative experience and a Wander Walk, accompanied by the occasional hummingbird and abundant insect life seeking sustenance from wild grapes draped among the stone trellises.


John Harvey, author of The Stillness of the Living Forest: A Year of Listening and Learning, is a naturalist and consulting psychologist whose years of experience helped him to appreciate the healing potential of a nature connection. He completed a year-long commitment to sit an hour each week in the same spot in the woods. As he settled into his routine of visiting his “sit spot” and fully engaging his senses, rich and illuminating experiences began to unfold.


Doug Bill’s work is focused on bringing a profound, spiritual truth into a hectic world. During the early 1970s, he traveled to India and Nepal, where deeply moving experiences in overcrowded villages, along with later advanced studies in psychology and spirituality, awakened him to the oneness of all life. Those experiences planted the seeds for his book, Living the Namaste Principle, which outlines his quest to awaken, access, and embody the awareness of the divinity within.