Heart of Nature: Coaching & experiences inspired by Nature
Alice Ashwell PhD runs Heart of Nature, a coaching practice in Muizenberg, Cape Town that supports people to find direction, create solutions, respond more effectively to stress, and connect with Nature.
The coaching approach
- encourages clients to develop solutions rather than focus on problems;
- uses bio-feedback technology that helps clients to appreciate how poorly-managed stress affects the body, and how effective stress management benefits both body and mind;
- teaches simple techniques and practices that can create a sense of ease, and help clients to respond more effectively to stressful situations, and improve communication and performance;
- integrates experiences in Nature, which enhance well-being and provide access to a deeper wisdom.
Three special coaching offerings include
- Solution Walks in Nature – individual coaching sessions in Nature;
- Calming Exam Anxiety – a series of five workshops for groups of 3-4 students; and
- Dementia Blessings – individual coaching sessions, or a series of four workshops, for the loved ones and carers of people living with dementia.
These offerings reflect three important influences in my life, namely a deep and abiding love of Nature; being an educator at heart; and having walked the dementia journey with my mother Elizabeth for the last fifteen years of her life.
Individual & small group processes
Individual coaching sessions are offered at my office in Marina da Gama (Cape Town), in gardens and natural areas, and by telephone or Skype.
I also design and facilitate a range of individual and small group processes in Nature, including Nature connection experiences, and gentle team building processes.
Workshop facilitation is something I particularly enjoy. In addition to offering Calming Exam Anxiety and Dementia Blessings workshops, I can custom-design workshops to suit your particular needs. Whether you want to address a challenge, get inspired, generate ideas, or plan a way forward, a workshop is a safe space in which to receive and conjure with the wisdom and experience of the group.
My love of Nature, and my personal and career journeys have led me to create the coaching practice, Heart of Nature. In this practice I integrate three approaches:
- facilitated nature experiences
- the techniques and technologies of HeartMath®
- Solution-Focused Brief Coaching conversations.
Nature has always felt like home to me, a place where I can play, retreat, restore, rejoice. During my PhD studies (2006-2010), I investigated how teenagers in Cape Town felt about Nature. The study confirmed for me that a resonance with the natural world is part of our experience of being human. I know that Nature heals – so nature experiences form one strand of my work.
My career history includes working as a biochemist, a biology teacher, and an environmental educator. Science fascinates me, and I am intrigued by research conducted by the HeartMath Institute that explains how our emotional states are reflected in variations in heart rate. Regular use of HeartMath’s self-management techniques and bio-feedback technology has benefited me enormously. I am a qualified HeartMath Coach, and love to share these simple but powerful practices. This constitutes the second strand of my coaching practice.
I felt drawn to Solution-focused Brief Coaching because of its power to shift issue-focused thinking into solution-focused thinking. I love engaging in solution-focused conversations, and seeing the rapid shifts in perception and mood that occur when people realise that positive change is within their reach. Positive, hopeful, solution-focused conversations constitute the third strand of my work.
For more details about these three approaches, please see http://heartofnature.co.za.
I have a Doctorate in Environmental Education, am a licensed HeartMath Coach, and have completed 80 hours of ICF-accredited Solution Focused Brief Coaching training. I am committed to ongoing personal and professional development in coaching, facilitation, and wellness.
What clients are saying …
I am so thankful for the time we spent together yesterday, your wisdom and kindness have been an inspiration to me and I have learned so much through our sessions. Thanks again for being so generous with your time and expertise. It has meant a great deal to me.
Thank you for the most special and beautiful morning yesterday! It was wonderful to be able to share the beauty of the day in such a gorgeous place with you and my team. I was astounded with the insights, the compassion, the wisdom, the honesty, the acknowledgement, acceptance, gentleness and kindness which everyone shared and showed towards one another. … And all of this was made possible by your gentle holding presence, your quiet wisdom, the activities you guided us through, your lightness of being and sense of humour, and your own deep connection with nature which is inspirational and aspirational.
Thank you for a wonderful burying and re-emerging experience in Nature. We both enjoyed every moment of it. We hope that you will be able to awaken in many more people the lively awareness of nature in all its forms and the wonderful pleasure to be found when surrendering oneself to the peace and process of the natural rhythms which envelop us when we let go.
Sally & Bill
I have a positive attitude towards life. I feel that I am a better person now. I feel good and positive about myself.
Tina (Grade 12)
I am more confident now. I have hope for the exams. I am no longer scared to the point where I become anxious. When I was in a situation where I could not remember what I had studied and I was very anxious, I started breathing and I calmed down. I could remember my work again. My attitude towards everything has changed. I am confident and feel like I can tackle anything.
Somila (Grade 12)
Thank you, THANK you, THANK YOU. You have changed my life. You have opened my eyes to what my heart and soul are telling me, not just what my brain and others are telling me.
Annie (Grade 9)
Just want to say a big thank you for the life changing experience you took [my daughter] on. I am so proud of how she has embraced the whole process and committed to it. … The way she handled her exams just amazed me.
Thank you very much for your guidance. [My daughter] managed to cope with her first set of exams, and surprised herself by growing stronger as a result. What originally was terrifying for her actually has turned out to be rather interesting, and not as intense as she had expected. It has made a big difference!