Connecting naturally to what’s around you is more than a state of mind. The other day was a treat – sunny and spring-like. The city streets were jam-packed with people of all ages, out for a stroll, soaking in the sun and breathing in the freshness of the day. I think it’s universal, this welcoming of spring; it’s as if our own vital juices begin to flow just as the tree sap does this time of year.
I spent a good part of the day walking along the street and through the local park, connecting naturally to the trees and to my community. I was at ease, and with no worries.
This was the topic of a workshop I recently held in the heart of the Appalachians, in a country setting, surrounded by the emergence of spring. It was about feeling and connecting with our world intimately; feeling the spirit, the unique qualities and resonance of each element within this world.
Back in the park, I notice a purplish rock that appeals to me. I pick it up and feel its coolness. It sparkles if I hold it a certain way towards the sun. This is what the rock gives me right at that moment – it changes me and adds to my presence with its own. My hand warms it; I leave some of my body warmth on it as I place it once more on the ground. I change the rock and add to its presence. Connecting naturally, we are both more than what we were a few minutes before by our brief connection on a sunny spring day.
I think of how shamanic teachings give me a simple way of connecting naturally: a rock holds and transforms energy; when I touch the rock – hold it – I can feel its solidity. I am made of the stuff of Earth – of these rocks – and this is the part of me that is solid, and that gives me a physical grounding. Without it I would have no foundation, I wouldn’t exist as a person, walking in this park, on this sunny day.
I think of the teachers and philosophers who I’ve studied – especially of Martin Buber who wrote about this connection and called it “I-Thou”, telling a moving story of his tender connection with his horse.
I think of the poetry of Basho, a 17th-century Japanese poet, who wrote so beautifully of his connection with nature:An old silent pond… A frog jumps into the pond, Splash! Silence again…..
Do you enjoy connecting naturally? How do you connect with nature? What does it change in you when you do connect? And how do you change it?
Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.