Q&A: Connecting With Nature & Ourselves Through Plants with @ihavethisthingwithurbanjungles
Brittany Gowan (@ihavethisthingwithurbanjungles) is a nature girl in an urban world living in New York City. Brittany is also the founder of Pause with Plants, a meditative solution to elevate wellness and environmental action through audio journeys, coaching, workshops, and more. Read on for her take on the importance of connecting with nature and her methods for doing just that!
Many thanks to our interviewer, Elise!
I started @ihavethisthingwithurbanjungles in 2016 out of my love for connecting to plants and nature, especially in urban settings. I really enjoy sharing my houseplants and favorite nature spots in New York City with the plant people on Instagram! And it’s so nice to get a DM from someone who hasn’t been to the city before but enjoys seeing the variety of nature here via my IG stories.
I also love to celebrate the plant community and share people’s #PausewithPlants Moments on both @ihavethisthingwithurbanjungles and @PausewithPlants.
Thanks for asking! Pause with Plants grew from my appreciation for the natural world and my desire to provide a resource for others to connect to nature and elevate their personal well-being while encouraging environmental action. I believe that what we feel close to, we will want to protect.
Pause with Plants combines my background in coaching, psychology and mindfulness practices. It began as an imaginative nature-centered meditation podcast featuring 5-minute audio journeys. Subscribers to the Pause with Plants podcast continue to be transported into the natural world to mindfully experience the wonders of plants and the value of connecting with nature anytime, anywhere.
Pause with Plants has grown into an engaged online community and company, which provides custom Pause with Plants workshops and events for companies, organizations and communities, and creates nature-centered experiences for brands to engage their customers with the natural world.
If we connect to plants, we connect to the broadest scope of nature, the wellspring of nutrition for all living things. I believe plants are a gateway to better caring for ourselves, as well as our planet, because they can teach us the value of mindful awareness, resilience and connections.
When we Pause with Plants in our own settings, we have the opportunity to feel linked to nature everywhere. Some of my plants originate from Uruguay, a place I have yet to visit, but through these plants, I feel less distance between NYC and other parts of the world. Through caring for houseplants, I also learn to care about how plants survive in the wild. Having an increased perspective on the world and our interconnectivity is one of the beautiful benefits of caring for and being connected to plants.
Including plants and nature into my life in NYC is really important and motivates me to encourage others to start small and begin to incorporate natural elements into their spaces. First, I’d say consider what kind of living thing commitment works best for you. If you can take care of one or two plants, then stick to that number and enjoy the benefits of helping those plants grow well and thrive. Alternatively, if having a lush jungle speaks to you and brings increased calm into the rush of your city life, then fortunately we have many plant shops and farmers markets that offer great options to completely "green" any living spaces.
While I’m fortunate to have larger windows, I’d say my biggest plant problem is space and natural light. Living in New York City, with buildings all around, we only get so much sunlight in our apartments. During the summer I cram as many plants as I can onto my windowsill (LOL) so they can soak up the afternoon sun. My current apartment faces west, which is decent, but I'm hoping my next apartment will have southwest facing windows. Fingers crossed!
YAY! My disco ball! ☺ I've always been fascinated by and love to capture how light reflects and creates shapes. Having a disco ball twirling around always makes me happy. Years ago, I was shopping for party supplies and saw a bunch of discos balls near the cash register. Immediately, I knew I needed to get one for my apartment. I find the combination of light and plants, very inspiring. During magic hour, the late afternoon sun that lights up my apartment creates a party that I've coined "disco plants." It's never dull!
Thanks to Brittany for sharing her story and her methods with us! See her work on social media: