Feeling a connection to nature brings me tremendous calm. I am fortunate to live in Montana where feeling this connection is commonplace. However, each month I travel to large cities to give speeches or meet with clients, where the world of concrete corridors makes experiencing nature more difficult. I remind myself of the importance of focusing on nature by remembering a story.
John, a friend of mine, is an elder in the Blackfeet Indian Tribe and often uses the traditional method of story telling so that I can better understand some of his insights. One time he was talking about the importance of our focus—about training ourselves to see our connection to nature at all times.
He told the story about how a Native American friend of his who had also grown up on the reservation was on a business trip in New York City. His friend was walking with a colleague in the crowded, noisy streets of New York City when he heard a noise. “Do you hear that?” he asked. “What?” responded his colleague. “Listen…. there it is again, and again….” The person with him strained to listen and hear what he was hearing but could only hear the din of traffic, taxi horns, trains and voices. John’s friend then walked over to a planter and reached underneath it and pulled out a cricket who had been chirping.
“That’s amazing,” commented his colleague, “You must have incredible hearing abilities to detect that chirping amidst all this street noise.” “No, I don’t,” said John. “I am just used to listening to nature.” “Then how did you do that?” his colleague asked. “Simple,” he said, “watch this.” He then proceeded to pull out a handful of coins from his pocket and threw them up in the air. When the coins landed, everybody in the vicinity of that busy street turned their heads to the familiar sound. We easily hear what we have listened to most.
Many people are so imprisoned in their own thoughts that the powerful energy of nature does not exist for them. If you say, “What a beautiful sunset,” they might agree with you on a surface level, but because they are not used to looking deeply they may miss the holiness in that moment. The same is true when we look into ourselves and other people. We perceive the things we have trained ourselves to notice.
Nature has the power to take us deep within ourselves by connecting to something bigger than ourselves. Something so beautiful it cannot be named. When we touch the energy of the natural world we have the opportunity to go beyond the limits of our notions and perceptions. We connect with the understanding that there is more here.
Today the Spirit of Nature is everywhere you go. You too can choose to hear that small voice amidst the noisy din of your busy noisy day. All day long you are surrounded by opportunities to experience the powerful, transforming benefits of your calm connection to the natural world. Listen…to birds. Smell… a flower. See… the sky. Allow yourself to experience the healing of nature wherever you are.
STRATEGIES: Touch and See Nature in Everything
1. At this moment, allow yourself to experience the Power of Nature that surrounds you. Look at a plant in the corner of the room. Notice light coming in from the window.
2. Look deeply at the wood grains of your desk. Smell the wood of a pencil. Touch the wood and experience the essence of the tree that it came from. Understand that when you touch this wood you are touching the Essence of The Eternal. You are touching the natural world.
3. Pause amidst the busyness of your day and take natural breaks by feeling your connection to nature.
4. Intentionally slow down your pace of walking or driving so that you can give yourself the luxurious gift of nature that surrounds you.
5. Listen for the small voices of nature amidst the din of noise. Seek and notice the subtleties.
6. Accept, without trying to name or understand how you are part of this deep powerful mystery.
“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”
(Photo - http://grabcad.com/library/wicked-cricket-sheet-metal-puzzle-insect-3d-model-metalcraftdesign-1)