I’m almost complete with my month of observing my interaction and connection to nature. A few things have come about since the beginning of my experiment.
Myself and two women have collaboratively created a virtual women’s circle program called Seasons of Shakti. This opportunity inspires my anthropological interest; play the roles of participant and observer of my life and influence a particular variable, keep careful notes about my actions and mental state, and then reflect on my experience. Through committing to one’s connection with the seasons and rhythms of nature, we seek to understand the impact that variable has on our well-being, and then put that information into practice.
One observation: the transition that takes place as during sunrise and sunset. The wind picks up, the temperature feels as though it adjusts quickly, and then evens out after the sun is down/or up. This is a rhythm. The continual movement between chaos and stillness, and back again.
After reflecting on the first few weeks of my experiment, several, more specific research question have emerged:
- How is one’s connection to Nature not conditioned by the actual weather forecast?
- How is one’s connection to nature not conditioned by our proximity to (what we define as) nature?
- What is your personal definition of nature?
- What is different when you feel connected?
Variables that influenced my three weeks thus far:
- I was first inspired to do this experiment while in sunny San Diego, California; an easy place to be outside often, particularly for the camper life-style, as our square footage is small. How would my experiment change with different weather? (I’m used to Wisconsin (my home state) and Ashland (my second home), winters.
- Movement: during this month from December 2nd to January 2nd, I have been to San Diego, L.A., Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Folsom, and Oakland. For all of the month except the last 10 days, I was on the road, living in our camper. Currently, James and I are housesitting in Oakland, with an entire one bedroom home to ourselves, that doesn’t move daily!
So, I’ve decided to continue the experiment for another month, from January 2nd to February 2nd. During almost the entire month of January I will be staying in Ashland. I want to see how interacting with a different external climate changes my experience.
Considering the question of connection with nature, no matter the circumstances, I was inclined to look up the definition of nature. According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of nature is
1) a : the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing : essence b : disposition, temperament. 2) a : a creative and controlling force in the universe b) : an inner force or the sum of such forces in an individual.
When I reconsider examining my connection to Nature, I see that it is not just the plants, trees and breeze of the outside world, Nature includes my essence, personal constitution and creative force. The most potent way I connect with this Internal climate is through presence. I’ve recently been finding presence through a personal affirmation: While I’m _______ I am calm and peaceful.
Fill in the blank… on my yoga mat, washing dishes, cuddling Stitch, sitting on the BART, walking down the street, breathing…I am calm and peaceful. I feel this affirmation doing it’s subtle work. My mind can take me all over the universe while doing any task, and quieting the chatter can feel like an endless job. This affirmation gives my mind something to do, and the energy of it provides what I’m seeking-peace and calm.
When I say this affirmation, I feel as though water is gently washing over me. I am present with my True Nature, peace, which rests at the core of the movement between chaos and stillness. I look forward to continuing to utilize this mantra as a tool for uncovering the peace within, no matter what is happening outside.
In gratitude, there are a few adventures I’ve highly enjoyed on this journey: going for a Christmas Eve bike ride to see Christmas lights; going to Ecstatic Dance on Christmas morning. Hearing this quote during a movie preview: There are two types of beings in the Universe, those who dance, and those who don’t.
When I dance, I am calm and peaceful.
Dance as the energy of the sun and stars dances. Dance as the trees who flow in the wind dance. Dance as your breath and eyes dance. Dance, dance, dance.
Learnings from this phase:
- Expressive movement is healing medicine.
- The simple act of pausing to feel the sun on your face, is profoundly soothing, and warming.
- We have the power to choose our experience.
- Words are prayer, breath is prayer, movement is prayer-speak, breathe and move as though you are celebrating and courting the Divine.
- Slowing down does wonders for creating and sustaining ease.
- Accept the uniqueness of each person’s essence and personal prayer.
- A morning walk refreshes the spirit.
Thank you for reflecting on your own journey with your nature, and the grander Nature. I hope we all continue to do so.