Monday, March 24, 2008

Connecting through nature

I had a wonderful weekend. Interestingly, however, I was all over the map emotionally, a regular roller coaster ride experiencing everything from being on top of the world to feeling smothered by doubt and fear. So how is that I can call it a wonderful weekend and feel so optimistic this morning? Because I spent so much time in nature, soaking up the beauty of the world around me and reveling in its glory.

Nature for me is a direct connection to the divine. It definitely helps that it was a beautiful weekend--70's and sunny--and that we had so much rain this winter. Everything is still so green, so full of life--I just opened the blinds and looked out over the valley beneath my apartment and it took my breath away. However I can find the divine in a gray and rainy day as well. What's important is that I make sure I get outside, go for a walk, pay attention to the landscape and how the seasons shift it, see what is blossoming and what is waning, smell the fragrances of the flowers, notice the quality of the air.

On Saturday, we went up to Mount Diablo for the first time. Now that I've seen its beauty, I can't believe I've never taken the time to experience it before. You can see most of the Bay Area from its peak, and its foothills are spectacular. Seeing it in all its green splendor this weekend brought to mind my mental image of what Ireland must look like. On Sunday, I took a walk through local neighborhoods and had a similar experience of the beauty around me. Walking along residential streets is a much more up-close-and-personal view, but all of the blossoming trees and flowering gardens still played their part in helping me feel connected.

Being in nature makes me come alive, increases my sensitivity to my own sense of vibrancy, of vitality. When I touch the earth I can feel its energy, feel it connecting to my own energy and providing its strength to support me. I have this fantasy of becoming a gardener, of putting my hands in the soil and taking care of plants and helping them grow. My brown thumb suggests that might not be wise, but I yearn for that direct connection with the earth. That might be why I enjoy camping so much--even when I'm sleeping on rocks and roots I wake up with a surprising amount of energy quite likely because I've been soaking it up from the ground. I have this childlike desire to go rolling down the side of a hill, and maybe I will.

What makes you come alive? What steps can you take this week to embrace that vitality, regardless of what is happening in the world around you, regardless of how you are feeling? Join with me in a quest for the divine, a quest for connection. Take some time this week to walk with your feet touching the earth. Bend down and smell a flower as it blooms, touch the grass as it reaches for the light. Notice the beauty around you whether it's gray or sunny, whether there's still snow on the ground or the world is blossoming around you. Feel the energy of the earth and let it strengthen you, let it feed you, let it ground you. Namaste.

Photo: "Sun over Pine Ridge in Mount Diablo State Park," originally uploaded by Miguel Vieira

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rob said...

The benefits of hill rolling are many and diverse, yet underappreciated. However, I don't think it is an activity recommended for the recently concussed. May I suggest Sit'n'Spin as an alternative dizziness-inducing activity? It is low-impact, and strikingly similar to several yoga positions.

Mount Diablo sounds great. I am adding it to my list of sites I need to hit in my time here.

Jenn Sheridan said...

*lol* I'll have to keep Sit'n'Spin in mind and perhaps just lie on some freshly cut grass as an alternative.

And you definitely need to check out Mount Diablo, more quickly than I did anyway! Let us know if you'd like some company -- we'd love to go back!