As I am getting ready to post this, I am sitting by an open window on the first cool morning of the fall. My skin was just touched by a slightly chilling breeze. I notice it with a smile. Will I recall it tonight when I review my day?
Every moment of our lives we are beings of nature living in relationship to nature
. We can celebrate ourselves by celebrating nature. We can come to know ourselves, the natural part of ourselves, by coming to know nature.
Too many of us overlook nature, take her for granted, fail to wonder at her beauty, her complexity, her intensity, her tenderness, her changeability. If we pay attention to nature everyday for a week, just by recalling at the end of the day what we perceived of the natural world, our lives will be so much more joyful.
As children we delight in nature and have rich interactions with trees, the breeze, snowflakes, dandelions, mud, puddles, kittens, soaring birds, cloud shapes, so much. When we let ourselves, our adult selves, play with nature, that childhood delight returns and with it comes wisdom.
So let me suggest that you devote a few moments each evening to reflect on what you have experienced during the day in the natural world – minerals, earth, plants at all stages, animals. What have you seen or heard or smelled or touched or tasted of the natural world.
In these autumn weeks in North America, we find apples turning rosy and the changing colors of leaves. We see birds flying south. We feel the seasonal change in the air and see it in the sky. Pay attention to nature. Every night this week, before you go to bed, think about how you met nature, any aspect of nature’s many gifts, during your waking hours.
Celebrate the rich wisdom of the natural world this week. Connect your soul to nature often.
Suggestions for deeper/higher work with nature
To go deeper/higher with your celebration of nature, move beyond your likes and dislikes, beyond your feelings of pleasure and displeasure, to the reverence that can only come with objectivity. Recollect gray skies with as much reverence as you give to blue skies. Recollect the scent of a skunk with as much reverence as the scent of fresh mowed grass. I watch my grandson (now 7+ months old) celebrating and learning about everything with utter wonder and interest. He hasn’t been told not to like certain things (yet) so his world remains large and enriching. Without objectivity and reverence, wonder and interest your relationship to nature becomes bland and small with little to celebrate.
To know yourself through your celebration of nature, you can work with two questions:
How is what I am celebrating, reflected in the human being, in me?
For example: How is the branch being moved by the wind found in my body or my soul? How is the eye of my cat reflected in my thinking – does my thinking see in the dark?
Where in my biography, my life memories, have I experienced this aspect of nature before? What did it feel like? How did I interact with it?
And, of course, you can celebrate with an artistic gesture: a sketch, a painting, a poem.
Next Sunday: The Celebration of the Divine.