There’s a lot of talk these days about how disconnected we are… from ourselves, one another and most definitely from the natural world.
In case you haven’t heard, most urban dwellers-most humans for that matter-are suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder. This syndrome is not limited to children and affects “health, spiritual well-being, and many other areas, including [people’s] ability to feel ultimately alive.”
You don’t have to ask your doctor if a “nature pill” will work for you. There’s no pill and the pharmaceutical industry would be happy if you didn’t bother to ask.
The remedy? Take yourself into the wild.
A modern variation of John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you, rather ask what you can do for your country” is now: “Don’t ask what Nature can do for you, it’s time to ask what you can do for Nature.” It’s no secret the Earth is in need of champions to engage in her restoration.
Fundamentally, it’s time to turn this equation of “what’s nature gonna give me today” around by giving back our gratitude to the source of our very existence. A simple expression of appreciation is all that nature wants from us. If you practice this on a regular basis, you will be amazed by her response. Genuine appreciation will inspire more acts of kindness toward everything non-human. Think about all of this in terms of your relationships, if all you ever do is take, take, take, it won’t be long before you have no relationships at all.
If you’re ready to discover the benefits of connecting with nature, here are a few things you can do…
Honor each breath you take-slowly and deeply into your belly.
You’ll immediately notice a calming of your emotions and you will experience a hint of appreciation for the air you’re breathing. If you do this often, you may be inspired to show up at the next clean energy gathering to advocate for a greening of our “public” utilities to move beyond dirty fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy generation that do not pollute the air we breathe.
Take time to observe your immediate surroundings.
How many living things do you notice? If you’re in a city or occupy a modern building, is there anything that’s actually alive and growing? Take a moment to simply thank that plant for providing you with the life-giving oxygen that you’re now more aware of with each breath you take. This may seem like a strange practice, however, the benefit is an immediate experience of gratitude, a human emotion in short supply these days. This simple act of giving back appreciation to the living world will spill over to other interactions you have on a daily basis and before you know it, you’ll reduce your stress and improve your general attitude. You know how it goes, “When you’re smiling…”.
Walk barefoot in nature as often as you can.
Let’s face it, most of us are depleted, and exhausted energetically due to the fast pace of modern living. The first benefit to walking barefoot is the fact that you’ll become more aware of what exactly you’re stepping on. This will have the added benefit of raising your sensitivity to your surroundings and an additional benefit to slow you down. Who wants to speed up besides Usain Bolt, who’s already the fastest human alive.
Most everyone I know would dearly love to slow down and savor the moment. According to more than 1,000 years of esoteric wisdom from the East, our energetic meridians are nourished with fresh, natural energy (Qi or Chi) that we receive through the “bubbling spring” in the soles of our feet. You can’t receive that energy if you block it with rubber soles on your shoes.
These may seem like super simple “take time to smell the roses” recommendations, and they are.
That’s exactly the point. Instead of creating a lengthy check list (as if you needed any more things to do) of 10 things you can do to connect with nature and why, just focus on these three and all kinds of ideas will naturally arise. Your inner knowing will be activated and you’ll be expanding upon your own list. Before you know it, you’ll be telling your friends how these practices have systemically changed your experience of everyday existence. Green Divas and Green Dudes will be sprouting up everywhere.
Written by Bud Wilson for The Green Divas.
Image: Lauren Waye