It’s Earth Day – A perfect time to reconsider and renew your relationship with the natural world. Think about your connection to nature – how often do you spend time outdoors? Not commuting or running errands, but with the deliberate intent to be with nature.
Even though studies show that even 30 minutes outdoors can boost vitality levels and curb depression, most adults are spending less time outside. And only 6% of our children, aged 9-13, are playing outdoors in a typical week.
We all need to be part of the natural world because we are part of the natural world. Our growing estrangement from nature is unhealthy for body and mind; the gulf between us fraying our bond.
Regular, direct contact with the natural world can soothe, heal and uplift us. This Earth Day, let these great words and visuals inspire you to allow nature to do its work on you.
LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER. Albert Einstein
By now, Thomas Zimmer’s internet photo sensation, “Heaven’s Trail,” has received over 2 million hits and been the subject of some astronomical myth-making. Truth is on one very cold night, Zimmer’s patience was rewarded with a spectacular shot of the Milky Way.
What a gift for us all. While few of us may go to the lengths Zimmer did to get this stellar photo or ever experience such visual splendor, everyone can walk outside their door, look up at the skies and be reminded that we are part of something bigger and grander than us.
COME FORTH INTO THE LIGHT OF THINGS, LET NATURE BE YOUR TEACHER. William Wordsworth
Every time I pay close attention to the natural world, I learn something new. I’m not talking about learning botany or bird-watching (although those are nice hobbies). I’m talking about myself. I can take a low-energy spirit and transform it by taking a mindful walk in the woods or in a park. I realize (once again) that with a few deep breaths (especially when I catch a whiff of a wet woodland or wild flowers, I can revive my spirits in an instant. There’s magic there – even if it’s just the sound a song bird chirping on a tree branch in your backyard or on an urban windowsill.
EARTH LAUGHS IN FLOWERS. Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most people appreciate the beauty of flowers. They come in exquisite varieties and in an amazing diversity of colors. My favorites are sunflowers. I once had the great pleasure of coming upon a vast field of the beauties one glorious August day in Tuscany that just happened to be my birthday. (Leos love grand moments like this) Whatever the flower that speaks to you – the regal rose, the humble daisy or the rare orchid – seek out their beauty . Place a little bunch on your desk or on the kitchen table. They’ll reward you over and over.
In his book, A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle evokes the deeper meaning of flowers, “Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless.”
THE BUTTERFLY COUNTS NOT MONTHS BUT MOMENTS, AND HAS TIME ENOUGH. Rabindranath Tagore
Nature has much to teach us – patience, tenacity and cooperation to name a few virtues. There is an order and balance in the natural world. Most modern life is out of synch with the natural rhythms of nature. As the pace of our lives quicken, we become disconnected with the natural harmonies of life – the more we, and nature, suffer.
ONE TOUCH OF NATURE MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD KIN. William Shakespeare
Ever notice how friendly most people are when you meet on a hiking trail? There’s something very personal about meeting fellow human travelers in a natural, uncrowded setting that melts away the anonymity of modern life. My hunch is that the more we surround ourselves in natural life and beauty the more we bring out the best in ourselves and our human family.
OUR TASK MUST BE TO FREE OURSELVES BY WIDENING OUR CIRCLE OF COMPASSION TO EMBRACE ALL LIVING CREATURES AND THE WHOLE OF NATURE AND ITS BEAUTY. Albert Einstein
Humans have learned to love their pets. This is a good thing. The beloved creatures that bring so much joy to human life deserve our care. For centuries most animals have been our beasts of burden and sustenance. Factory farming has reduced the lives of many animals to misery and brutal deaths. Many wild animals are still treated inhumanely and hunted to near extinction. In the 21st century, our relationship to all of earth’s creatures is in jeopardy unless we can as Einstein said, “widen our circles of compassion.”
LET US LEARN TO APPRECIATE THERE WILL BE TIMES WHEN THE TREES WILL BE BARE, AND LOOK FORWARD TO THE TIME WHEN WE MAY PICK THE FRUIT. Anton Chekov
Living in California, I’ve come to realize how much I miss the seasons. Despite grey skies, snow, sleet and rain, growing up on the East Coast of the United States helped shape my character. Seasons change how you live in the world – they tune you. The ancients lived in harmony with the seasons and there is much to be learned from those lost rhythms. Summer slowed life and people stopped to enjoy the bounty of the earth. Autumn quickened the pace in a bittersweet preparation for winter’s darker, shorter days. Metaphors abound; what appears barren is never lost, and hope, even joy, returns with the sighting of the first crocus popping through the thawing ground.
OF ALL THE ISSUES WE ARE CONCERNED WITH AT PRESENT, THE MOST BASIC ISSUE, IN MY ESTIMATION, IS THAT OF HUMAN-EARTH RELATIONS. Wendell Berry
Nature will heal us but as with any other healthy relationship, there must be reciprocity. The U.N.’s latest report on climate change is alarming and clear. It lays out where we are and what must be done – but the window for intervention is closing.
The guidelines for our new relationship are similar to any other – we must pay close attention to mutual needs, listen more deeply and give much more than we take.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, subscribe, share, like and tweet this article. It’s appreciated.
Louise Altman, Partner, Intentional Communication Consultants
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