Anna Sansom is a meditation teacher who loves and is inspired by the natural world. Her nature-themed meditations draw on the lessons, insights, and healing that nature has created for us.
She is the founder and co-director of Joyful Nature, which helps people to connect with the natural world no matter where they live, their age, gender, physical ability, or anything else.
What is the teaching that is most important to you?
I am very fortunate to be part of a “Journey Around the Year” circle facilitated by Louise Page, an integrative therapist and teacher of nature-based spirituality. We celebrate and give thanks to the Earth’s cycles and Earth Wisdom, being present to our own relationships with the natural world and our individual inner natures. I’ve ‘journeyed around the year’ with this circle several times and there is always something new to learn from nature as I go through the seasons of my life.
What helps you practice self-compassion?
I’ve been through a lot in recent years including bereavement, surgery, change of jobs, and, now, perimenopause. It sounds really clichéd but I’ve had to learn to accept that I’m not perfect and that I can only control so much in my life. I try to remember to extend the same compassion to myself as I do to others, reminding myself that we are all ‘doing the best we can with the resources we have available at this time’.
What are you most insecure about and what helped?
I used to be very insecure about my smile. I have wonky teeth and used to only ever half-smile, with my lips together so no one could see my teeth. As I’ve got older (I’m 47 now) I grew tired of hiding my smile – tired of hiding my joy. Now I beam broadly, embracing my ‘flaws’ as part of my unique character and body. I would rather feel and express my joy with wonky teeth than try to cover up my happiness.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced? How did you overcome it?
Nine years ago, I lost my best friend to cancer. Immediately after her death, I went into overdrive: working too hard, expending all my creating energy, not wanting to waste a single moment of my life. But, in amongst all the ‘doing’, I didn’t give myself the time and space I needed to grieve and, after about 10 months of frenzied activity, I burned out. I was physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. Spending time in and with nature helped me to grieve and, slowly, to recover my energy and get back to work. I still feel the loss of my friend but nature soothes me and reminds me that impermanence, death, and new growth are all part of life.
What have you let go of that made your life a little easier?
Dieting. I was a serial dieter from the age of 13 until I was in my early 30s. When my mum turned 60 and was still on a diet, I made the decision to stop dieting and to learn more about what my body truly needed to be nourished and healthy, rather than following the advice and rules that other people had made up. I now enjoy food, without guilt, and I enjoy my body, just as it is.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I’ve been able to indulge in it lots during lockdown: no bra and elasticated waistbands!
Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you want as your dinner guest?
I have always loved music and I’ve been a huge fan of the Indigo Girls for over 30 years. I would love to have them as my dinner guests: to hear about their travels and tours, how they write their lyrics and harmonies, and then, at the end of the meal, to ask them to play my favorite song, “Closer to Fine” (which is all about knowing you’re going to be fine, even if you don’t have all the answers).