Naturalistic intelligence reflects how a deep sense of connection with nature can provide the right energy for improving a relationship. People commonly speak of “going to the mountaintop” to get a wider view of their challenges and decide on next steps. Nature inspires new perspectives in many ways, but perhaps most plainly by providing us with sensory metaphors for human challenges. The shape of a leaf or a rise in the wind, the sound of waves, or the moon emerging from the clouds offer powerful images that distill experience and awaken new possibilities, whatever the vision or the challenge, including the most troubling of relationship problems.

It’s also often said that people are more themselves in the natural world than anywhere else. Something about nature invites us to be more open, real, and relaxed with ourselves and with others. And the process of meeting physical challenges together has a way of creating bonds across diverse backgrounds, interests, and temperaments.

To access naturalistic intelligence in order to cross the trust divide visit a favorite place of serenity and natural beauty. One approach would be to:
1. Look for natural forces that bring forward a sense of inner strength, peace and power; for example, absorb the force of a mountain river or the surf -- or the delicate strength of a new green shoot emerging from winter’s decay. Adopt one of these natural forces as your totem.

2. As you walk along a beach or woodland path, look for evidence of what you need to let go of – remember “the lilies of the field,” evaluating the challenges ahead by virtue of the simplicity and “nakedness” of a sincere and selfless approach. Look for what you must let go of in falling leaves, the end of a season, the melting snow.

3. Identify next steps in your relationship with another according to the messages nature shares. How is truth told in the natural world? What represents “the good”? What do you find in nature that represents your current relationship, the relationship you want in the future? Such questions rely on a search for their answer in a certain natural synchronicity or in the metaphors. For example, you happen to notice the mist that builds on a leaf and suddenly falls as a single drop from the tip. Seeing this, you realize this symbolizes that the moment is right to proceed.

4. Use nature to help reveal and mirror what it is about the other person, yourself, and the situation that most needs appreciation. Appreciation and truth are natural forces that can help “nurture” or “grow” preferred qualities of relationship, such as openness and respect. What do you find to be the other person’s natural strengths that most need appreciation? And what is the unvarnished, natural truth about the situation that must be shared, including what you must also own?

5. Over time, imagine the relationship to be like water, flowing downhill according to a path of least resistance, meeting obstacles and gradually rising behind them and overcoming them. See conflict as a natural part of any relationship. After all, nature is full of “conflicts” – storms, landslides, earthquakes and volcanoes. Cultivate the inner power and persistence of water, relaxing into every obstacle that arises with confidence that at the right time and in the right way, each will be overcome.Links to the other intelligences exercises:

Verbal Linguistic
Logical Mathematical
Bodily Kinesthetic
Visual Spatial