Pretend you are out in the wetlands with Brea and I. You are delighting in what you see. Stop… Look at… Wow… Relax into wonder.
(First appearing in Meditate Like A Girl)
We’ve always done lots of hiking as a family here in beautiful West Michigan. Every time out we see something fascinating. I love that nature gives us moments to pause. Moments to celebrate.
Shattered, I often took long walks to piece myself back together. The most healing place for me was the wetlands by our house. Amazingly, a Great Blue Heron started visiting the wetlands. We had never seen it there before.
Most days I walked at the wetlands I would find the heron fishing. I would watch it and sometimes it would watch back. I felt loved. I felt connected. I knew despite all that happened, God cared for me. He sent a reminder of that love in the form of a Great Blue Heron.
What most of us want in our lives is peace. We don’t want drama, stress, and hurry. So how can we get more peace in our busy lives?
First, realize that peace is not found outside, it is found inside. I was on a quiet nature walk the other day, enjoying the yellow leaves and the sound of the stream over the rocks. When this 6 year old boy and his father come barreling into my quiet. Talking, chattering, hyena laughing. Immediately I tensed up. How rude of them to break my peace.
Then I listened to the story. What is really happening – a father and son are enjoying the day in the woods. My story – they are rude, obnoxious, and now I have lost all sense of peace. So I am the one that is actually breaking my peace. When I let my expectation and story go, I could enjoy the energy of them. And see in wonder as the boy sees in wonder. My peace is regained.
Stop fighting what is happening around you and find ways to enjoy it.
It’s harder to feel peace amidst clutter.
The world is loud with trains, TV, ipods, traffic, loud co-workers, electronic devices. We need more quiet to calm our rattled brains. Take 5 minutes first thing in the morning to be silent. Just sit and breathe. When you are alone in the car, turn off the radio and immerse yourself in quiet. Don’t put the TV on for background noise if you aren’t watching it. Spend extra time in the bathroom if that is the only place you can get quiet. Make use of ear plugs.
A lot of our rushing and striving is because we don’t think we are enough or do enough. And often we are harder on ourselves than other people are. Peace alludes us when we are never satisfied with what we have done. Peace hides from the tiger of, “You need to do more”. Let yourself be imperfect and human. Let yourself be vulnerable and ask for help. We are all in this together. And none of us has it all together. Feel how peaceful it is to remove the mask.
What are ways you bring more peace into your life?
Getting into a more peaceful state doesn’t have to take hours. You can get out of the lizard brain of "not enough" which dissolves real thinking, in under 45 seconds.
Here is a relaxing audio taken at the wetlands near where I live. Transport yourself to a place of green, birds, and flowers. The sweet smell of grass & blooms surround you. A light breeze plays with your hair. You touch soft cattails and pussywillows.
A great blue heron hides in the bushes by the pond while ducklings swim by.
Today is the Spring Equinox. Or Autumn equinox for the southern hemisphere. The day when the light and the dark are equal. It’s the start of a new season. It’s also the Persian New Year.
I love that nature gives us moments to pause. Moments to celebrate.
It’s a wonderful day to watch the sunrise or sunset.
Or to think about a garden (here in Michigan we can’t plant most things yet).
We always go on a nice, long walk to greet spring.
We eat eggs, asparagus, spring greens, cheese and other spring foods.
I like to eat lunch outside when the weather cooperates.
Remember your connection to nature today. Bring a more natural rhythm to your day. What can you do to celebrate the Equinox?
Monday is the sentencing and I know if will be difficult as we read about how we have been impacted. So, today I am planning ways to support myself. I am going to go to bed early the night before. Take the day off work/clients. Put a long walk in nature into my schedule. And ask for prayers from people.
As you look at next week, where do you see spots that may be difficult for you? How can you make them easier?
If your week looks like smooth sailing, then concentrate on self-care. You are going to need your strength sometime in the future, so spend this week exercising, eating well, writing in your journal, taking breaks and connecting with the ones you love.
Do what you can to support yourself in the future.
Free time and downtime are an important part of well-being. But, many times people get antsy when they aren’t being productive or use an entertainment vehicle like the internet or TV to zone out. Maybe you have forgotten what you even like to do since there is "never any free time."
This back to school time is a great time to uncover things you love to do. I took a free astronomy class at our local nature center last night. I got the Recreation Sign Up booklet in the mail with classes like Zumba, crocheting, genealogy, and beading. Why should the kids get all the fun classes?
Our library has groups like book club, art journaling and writing.
Why don’t you make a list of things you might be interested in learning more about or doing?
Pick one and do something with it for 15 minutes this week, whether it’s looking up local groups/classes, scheduling time to do an activity or learning more about it from the internet.
What would it feel like to use your free time to light you up?
As we go into the next season, what do you want from the next few months?
I love to plan seasonally instead of quarterly since it is more in tuned to nature. And I can remember to include seasonal things to do.
Some of the things I want to do this autumn:
What are some of the things you want to do this upcoming season?
More and more of us are spending almost all their time indoors. And our kids are not getting out into nature as much as we did as kids. I remember spending most of my summer outside. This lack of nature is not good for us since connecting with nature is so nurturing. Nature reduces stress and makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. It wakes up your senses.
Here are some ways to step out of nature deprivation:
When can you fit a little nature into your life and your family’s life this week?