“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
We have officially stepped down that magnificent corridor of summer with its majesty of rose bushes, luscious green leaves, and fragrant lilies. There’s no disputing it…Nature is SINGING! The question is: are you listening?
As a Soul Coach, I lead a program in Toronto that uses the four elements of nature (Air, Water, Fire, and Earth) to explore the four aspects of self (Intellect, Emotion, Spirit, & Body), and I’ve seen over and over again how partnering with nature can be so powerful in one’s life journey. You see, this planet and everything connected to it (including humans!) has an energy, flow, and cycle to it, and the more deeply we can connect to this natural rhythm from which we originated, the more alive, centered, and powerful we will be.
However, in our modern culture and especially in urban centers, we seem to be getting alarmingly detached from nature. Case and point: The other day when I got up I was wondering what the temperature was outside, so I grabbed my iPhone to look it up on a weather site. Ok… understand that I have a door in my kitchen leading out to an outdoor balcony…yet my first instinct was to go online to see what it was like outside? My Prairie farmer ancestors must have been rolling in their graves!
Unfortunately, this type of dependence on the artificial conveniences of our cyber-age world depicts a much bigger soul problem as concrete jungles rapidly take the place of the rainforests in our world. I truly believe that as we lose nature in our society, we lose that great wilderness inside of ourselves as well. And as our connection with nature becomes eroded, so does the fertile soil of our soul. Translation: couch potato with sealed windows = bad news for soul.
My Dad has always been one of those people who just so naturally and simply communes with nature. He’ll easily spend the day — from morning until sundown — outside. He has never felt the need to go to church or have a structured belief system…nature is his church, the cycles of nature his belief system. In nature he seems at ease and energized all at the same time. When I was little, it was a regular occurrence for my Dad to wake my little sister and I out of sound sleep to carry us out to look at a particularly starry sky or to drive out to the country to watch an approaching lightning storm (he loves the storms!) Unfortunately at that age, I was far more enthusiastic about repeats of “Three’s Company” or practicing my guitar in the basement than camping trips and my Dad’s invites to come help him out in the field.
However, something must have stuck because as an adult nature has become one of the purest forms of soul connection for me. I’m constantly amazed by what a kick-ass spiritual teacher Nature is! Nature doesn’t judge, it doesn’t rush, it doesn’t have a “to do” list – it’s just always in powerful flow. Nature doesn’t hold grudges or obsess about the future — it is right here, right now. That’s right…Nature is a damn good role model for those of us trying to live more fully in the present. The trick though is to try to meet up with Nature a little more often and listen to Nature a little more intently in order to glean its sage advice.
In that spirit, I would like to give you 10 easy ways that you could deepen your connection with Nature today. In doing so, may you be reminded of what an intrinsic part of Nature and its powerful unending rhythms you really are.
10 EASY WAYS TO LET NATURE INSPIRE YOU:
1. Fling your windows and doors WIDE open today and really breathe in that fresh air and let that sunlight pour in… Just be sure not to let the burglars pour in.
2. Observe an animal for 5 minutes – whether it be a squirrel, a dog, or a bird in the tree – tuning into their energy and imagining what it feels like to be in their body. Avoid close observation of porcupines and skunks.
3. Walk barefoot in the mud. Let the earth’s healing energy enter your body through the bare soles of your feet.
4. Take your work day OUTSIDE. Grab the laptop and head to a park or take your office meeting to the rooftop.
5. Grab, borrow or rent a drum. You don’t know how to play? Well, just take a deep breath and start beating the thing and see what happens. (Warning: just be careful loading said drum into vehicles…this is coming from a gal who recently shattered a rental car window with a djembe)
6. Bring nature into your home or work environment – anything from a bouquet of wildflowers on your desk to burning white sage in your living room to having an ocean scene as your screen-saver. Just make sure to keep it fresh and changing!
7. Meditate by water whether it be an ocean, duck pond, river, or Mr. Turtle pool. Use the opportunity to tune into the flowing property of water beside and inside of you (60% of our own body is made up of water!)
8. If you can’t get out in nature, then visualize yourself out in nature. Research has shown that even just visualizing being in nature can produce some of the same positive biochemical and feel-good results as literally spending time in nature. So, create your own beautiful nature sanctuary in your mind and take little visits to it throughout the day.
9. Take an action to help protect nature, this planet, and it’s more vulnerable inhabitants. Volunteer for a wetlands conservation group, start a recycling initiative in your workplace, protest factory farming, contribute financially to an effective environmental campaign…any little step you can to help heal this aching planet.
10. Hug a tree! Yes, sounds cheesy, but have you actually ever tried it? It’s one of the best hugs you’ll ever give/get.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
– Henry David Thoreau
Kimberly Carroll is a Soul Coach, television host/producer, and activist whose popular 6-Week body/mind/spirit bootcamps have been transforming lives from the inside out. With a cheeky and down-to-earth approach, Kimberly is an entertaining and loving guide for people delving into the world of personal growth, spirituality, and conscious living. She’s been featured in the Globe and Mail, as a regular on Newstalk 1010’s “The Buddha Lounge”, as a columnist for ANNA Magazine, and is one of the authors of the award-winning anthology “Soul Whispers”. She coaches individually and her brand new group life renewal program begins in the fall: www.soulcoaching.org