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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Peripheral or Wide Angle Vision...

is an important part of Nature Awareness it helps us to raise our levels of awareness by allowing us to experience beyond tunnel vision which is what most of us use most of the time, tunnel vision is like having horse blinkers on. So how do you get someone into peripheral vision? Start by getting everyone to stand in a space where, when they have their arms stretched out (as in picture below), they are not knocking into the person next to them, now begin by asking everyone to look straight ahead and throughout the whole of the exercise ask them to keep looking straight ahead, at this stage individuals are in tunnel vision, which is represented by the small dotted lines in the picture below.

With their arms stretched directly out in front of them, ask them to slowly move their arms further and further apart while still looking straight ahead, get them to watch their hands as they move them further apart and to keep doing this until their hands disappear from view. If their hands go out of view, ask them to bring them back into view and getting them to wiggle their fingers this helps them to see their hands at the extreme end of their peripheral, throughout they must continue to look straight ahead. Once they are able to see their hands and fingers while looking ahead, they are effectively in peripheral vision.

Some will ask you ‘do I have to do this exercise every time I want to get out of tunnel vision and into peripheral vision?’ The answer is NO, to help them get in and out of tunnel/peripheral particularly when they are blindfolded I usually get them to imagine that they are switching on a light (or you can choose something else), when they have done this several times it will become second nature to them provided they practice at it.

Some may want to know how to get out of peripheral vision, I say to them, simply turn the light off, might I suggest tough that by practising peripheral vision individuals levels of awareness will increase and you may find that they prefer this over tunnel vision, as tunnel vision is exactly what it suggests, ‘your vision is limited’. It is worth noting that for the facilitator this also comes with practise and in order to explain effectively how it works to your group, you might find it useful to practise it several times yourself before asking your group to engage with it.

The picture below best illustrates both tunnel and peripheral vision. For example you may find that your attention is drawn to the fox in the middle of the picture, this represents tunnel vision. However, if you enter into peripheral vision you will now see the two Native Americans on horseback moving through the trees. I have found that when people truly get into peripheral vision they experience the games and nature in way that they never have before, there is much more to see and experience.

Woodland Encounter by Bev Doolittle

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