Nature means something different to everyone. Take a moment and think about what nature means to you.
To me, nature is the time I spend reconnecting to the Earth around me. I walk into a wooded area and sit on a long forgotten bridge, covered in moss. I sit and listen to the birds chirping, the doe breaking twigs near me, and I think about nature as a whole. Some days it takes a while to let go of the commotion life has to offer but after time with something greater than myself such as the forest, I feel a greater sense of purpose.
A connection to the physical world as a collective brings a sense of wholeness. We, as humans, seem to have lost this in the age of technology and corporate ideologies leaving us to feel fragmented and without resolution.
Taking time with nature does not need to be a deep stroll in the woods or an extensive camping trip; it can be a walk through your neighborhood without your headphones in. Take time to gaze at the trees, watch how they move in the wind and all of the smaller microcosms that have made a home on the bark.
In order to reconnect we should take this time to embrace the world around us and not use it to our advantage but value it in our lives.
I started my day with an alarm that I found was set far too late. I had only 15 minutes to get ready and a lot to do. Rushing around I multitasked to no end until I popped in the car to sit in traffic for the next hour. My ETA kept saying 8:59, which kept me on edge for nearly the entire ride until I arrived at 8:56 and had a second to breathe.
Armed with my long pants, sweatshirt, and bug spray, I was ready to conquer the walk in the woods. It was only when I sat on my familiar wet and mossy bridge that I realized nature is not something to be conquered. Listening in I could hear all of the crickets and other insects chirping in harmony, the small birds squawking at one another, all the while I am just sitting in silence taking it all in.
The meditation was relatively easy for me to fall into today, I think I needed it. I sat still and focused on my breathing and the noises around me, which made me calm.
Hopefully, I will be able to carry this on throughout my day to keep my heart full and my mind centered.
This weekend my life got busier if that is even possible. I typically babysit one day every other weekend but now I am adding a weekday and a weekend day every week. I love these kids so I don’t mind but it has definitely added to my stress level, as I will be out from 8am until 10pm every Tuesday. This is what occupied my mind in the woods.
I walked down to my bridge and watched some mud daubers fly around the water. I sat upright and tried to focus on my breathing. My first thoughts were about this new addition to my schedule and the fact that I would actually be a full 7 days per week for the next month. I then tried to rationalize that in my mind but never came to a conclusion on how my mental stability would be- I guess I’ll find out.
My next process was to just close my eyes and picture the thoughts coming into my head and allow them to pass. This traditional way of meditation works for me most of the time and definitely grounded me more than I was previously. I started getting tired and realized that I shouldn’t allow myself to fall asleep on a bridge in the woods so I got up to start up the treacherous hill that gave me poison ivy for the first time last week. Spitefully and carefully I dug my boots into the dried ground and climbed up with my spider web stick when I finally reached the top I heard the whistle and made my way to the meeting spot. That was my time in the woods.
Today was not my favorite day in the woods. I felt anxious, constantly on edge, and quite powerless to everything happening around me. This experience has been almost exactly how my week has been going. A lot has been going on in my life to cause these emotions to show through but today in the woods summed it all up quite perfectly.
Today I learned how to deal with three separate situations and even though I couldn’t change the situation, I could change how I react to them.
Forgetting my bug spray and being ill-prepared for the day caused several red, itchy welts to pop up on my legs. There was nothing that I could really do here except to remove myself from the situation that I was in that was causing negative emotions.
Angering one small daddy long leg causes the family to show up and even shows in other areas. A singular problem in my life always stems into a larger one and even shows up in other places in my life, these little spiders were the embodiment of that fact.
The one thing I can say I handled well was the yellow jacket flapping its wings and buzzing in my face. Sometimes the best thing to do is just sit silently and let things happen around you if you do not have enough wisdom or information to contribute. I knew that if I caused a fuss it would only make the problem worse so I chose to remain silent and let the event happen.
I have a long day ahead of me and this experience will be coming to an end soon but having these entries to look back on will help me in my journeys ahead.
Today I will have two crazy 5-year-olds at my ankles and in the future, I will have many more problems come up in my life but today will help me move on from those problems more constructively.
This last week has been especially rough but somehow I have mustered up the courage to take life head on. Learning how to become a real adult overnight really changes your prospective on life overall, no more going out to eat just because or going thrift shopping with that extra bit of cash you found in the car. Figuring out that you have to pay all of your bills with no help slaps the privilege right out of you.
My time in the woods today is normally filled with life’s worries and anxieties but I tried to rid myself of them for the 20 or so minutes that I was allotted. At first the buzzing was hard to ignore but I breathed and thought that they are just trying to live like I am. When I first got to my spot, there was not any sun and it really looked moody and sad just how I was feeling but I looked to the familiar fallen tree and it has sprouted some new shelf mushrooms that hadn’t been there before. I thought about this for a while and started to ponder the life cycle. The tree used to be a living organism with its own purpose, just as I have my own. Now it is dead and fallen and turning into something new. I am using this time and hardship to try to turn my own life into something new and purposeful. I have not yet died and I am not literally taken over by shelf mushrooms but I did feel myself transforming while I sat on my moss covered bridge.
I came back to center myself from the endless analogies that I was trying to place myself in and put my head on my knee with my eyes closed. I counted my breaths… In through the nose and out through the mouth slowly and comfortably with a lot of meaning behind them. I felt present and that’s all I needed, I remained there for the next 10 minutes or so until my leg started falling asleep and I needed to move. That was when I heard the perfectly timed whistle and got up from my spot. I only have one more designated time in the woods of Enright Ridge and but I will bring this practice into my own life when I am no longer here.