Of Sound Mindfulness: Rediscovering My Relationship with Nature

Brian M Schopfel
4 min readJun 21, 2022

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Fode Sissoko, November 2021

Nature changed my life. It was about four years ago that I truly became intrigued by its obvious effects; its ability to defuse an argument, calm my racing mind, offer inspiration & clarity, gift the ability to have a good night’s sleep, lessen my physical aches & inflammation.

But how? Why?

Author Florence Williams gracefully opened the door for me to begin answering those questions with her book The Nature Fix. To say that this book is the reason I’m writing this would be an exaggeration, but not by much. Her book introduced me to the work of Kalevi Korpela and his ‘power forests’ where small, intentional signs placed every so often encouraging people to pause, take a deep breath, and actively appreciate their surroundings; Yoshi Miyazaki & Qing Li who have spearheaded the practice and analysis of Forest Bathing in Japan; Richard Taylor who discovered that Jackson Pollock paintings contain the same fractal ratio as the natural world thus why they are so awe inspiring and calming to observe. As my questions of how & why were slowly answered, new questions arose.

Why wasn’t everyone talking about this?

How could I be of service to this work?

This was the first time I had felt, what I considered to be, true passion for a topic since recovering from an intense, multi-year bout with burnout. How appropriate, right? The subject that helped me recover from burnout was the one to which I felt the most drawn to.

Jeff Parker, January 2022

It was one study by Mathew White, a British environmental psychologist, that really struck me. Upon surveying over 19,000 people he proved that spending between 120–300 minutes per week in nature reduces stress & anxiety and boosts mood & cognition.

No directive. No guide. Take a walk. Look at some trees. Put your feet in the grass. That’s all it takes.

However, the point that really got me is that the psychological & physiological benefits are involuntarily.

No apps. No classes. No trying. No doing. Just being.

Simply by being outside, one could improve their quality of life.

I had already proven that to myself. Only, until reading this, I didn’t have the resolve of a ‘why’ or ‘how’. This knowledge sent me on the non-linear journey (of which I’m still at the beginning) to create Floating.

El Larson, May 2022

We made the choice to incorporate sound because vibrations and energy create the world around us. It’s that simple.

Also, at least in Western culture, sound it is the second most dominant sense — sight is the first — and the involuntarily physiological and psychological benefits rival, and at times are synonymous with, those of nature; sound can’t be experienced ‘wrong’.

Lastly, it’s fun (!!) and absolutely imperative to support local arts communities.

Dustin Wong & Jeremiah Chiu, August 2021

It makes no difference if it’s the rustling of the leaves, crashing of waves, chirping of crickets, melody of birdsong or the gentle wash of a Yamaha CS 01 modular synthesizer, all sounds enhance the environment in which they are created.

In the short time since Floating launched in August 2021, we’ve seen our wonderful community grow from a just a few dozen to thousands of supporters, watched as over 5,000 hours have been shared, in harmony, outdoors, and helped distribute tens of thousands of dollars back to the artists and practitioners who grace us with their craft several times each week.

Whether or not you decide to join us for one of our events, our hope is that you spend some time with yourself and one another outside and reap the benefits that are ready, waiting, and endlessly available.

Lucky Dragons, October 2021

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Brian M Schopfel

Nature, sobriety, and startups. Keeping it simple. Co-Founder @ Floating.