Let’s welcome another new voice to the blog! Robin and I have known each other since junior high school. She continues to amaze me with her joy and ability to reinvent herself. She is the perfect soul to encourage you to get outside more to reconnect with yourself. – Pamela
I believe most of us remember having the realization from a very young age that there is something very different about the out of doors compared to the in. We feel it—the mystery and magic which fuels the imagination. We feel the breeze on our skin but can’t see it. Anything can happen, and there are forces at work which we cannot readily identify. We’ve grown up in a society that wants to explain all things and place them neatly into definable boxes. The Spirit of Nature plays along and then throws us curve balls to keep us on our toes. She takes what we think we know about her and turns it on its head at the last minute. From the beginning of memory, humans find this both exhilarating and terrifying; a recipe for romance isn’t it?
“Nature never did betray the heart that loved her” – William Wordsworth
While our ancestors certainly lived in higher attunement with the elements than we do now, it isn’t lost to us today. In modern times, from within a mass produced and corporate food supply, there has grown a beautiful movement of reconnecting with all things green, animal husbandry, and sustainability. When we get close enough to Nature by working with hope and expectation in the Earth, we are once again able to feel the spirit of her. If you’ve ever attempted to start a vegetable garden with no prior experience, you will find yourself bargaining with the Earth, the sky, the plants, the rocks and seriously anyone who’ll listen! Suddenly, creation is a team effort. We’re now communing with the insects, birds, and squirrels– even if it’s in frustration. Reconnection to our fellow living beings enriches our lives.
Reconnect to the earth to reconnect with yourself
Throughout my life, a simple walk in the woods provided me with so much perspective. Dedicated time away from the mundane obligations of home, work, and the expectations of others allows me space to just be. Trees and animals don’t judge me based on my fashion sense (Thank goodness!) or my abilities. There aren’t even any expectations placed on my behavior. The plants and animals around me only react to my presence as I project it. My thoughts and emotions are my own, free to exist, and as fleeting as I allow. Everything I see and hear becomes food for thought; a point of contemplation. The animals scurrying around me pique my curiosity about folk stories, myths, symbolism, and the science of what they’re doing. What can I learn from their behaviors? How can I apply that reasoning to my own life? Some of those trees have existed for hundreds of years. What change have they seen around them?
Find your first steps to self-love
On the trail, I feel so small inside the choreography that buzzes around me, accepting my presence but not needing it to continue. At the same time, I can feel my part in the dance. I’m just as significant as they are. I have just as much value in this time and place. I can feel that despite, and even because of, the infinite workings and miracles of life I am here now. I am connected to all of this and therefore, as one, we ARE the Universe. This process and these experiences were humbling and inspiring and through them, I was able to find my first steps toward self-love. Those moments in the trees are where I am whole, I am enough, and I’m never truly alone. Eventually, I began bringing that feeling out of the woods and into the rest of my life.
One might think that if they don’t have access to a patch of woods or wilderness, they can’t access this experience, but this isn’t true. Even in the most urban areas you can find wildness. There are lots of animals that have shown their extraordinary skills of adaptation to thrive in city environments. Plants can be grown in containers on patios and inside houses. Typically, there are parks, single trees, or a patch of grass somewhere nearby. Dandelions can grow rebelliously between cracks in the pavement. Nature cannot be shut out and she cannot be fully conquered. Nature can be found in the starkest of places.
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” –Hal Borland
Science has proven the benefits of exercise, faith, hobbies, and meditative contemplation on our health. It doesn’t have the numbers or language to measure what Nature does for our souls or our consciousness. We need connection to a bigger picture and each other now perhaps more than ever. It’s said that the flap of a butterfly wing is felt around the world. Witnessing the flap of a butterfly wing changes us when we allow it a moment in our hearts and minds. Change within us changes the world one soul at a time. Who knew a walk in the trees could be such an act of radical activism? Remembering who we are within existence on this planet is a catalyst to revolution—A movement to lead us back to our humanity and child-like wonder that makes life taste so sweet.