Every year as Spring rolls around, I feel the calming pull to be outside. I love the sun on my face and how being outside feels natural and connecting. It feels like a healthy reminder that I am part of a bigger picture, a great big world that needs me and I need it. I get excited to see new growth all around me and to see how seasons continue to change and offer a new perspective. Being in nature feels like a chance for self-care, and so I want to explore some of the ways we can work with nature to feel closer to our true selves.
Back to Basics
It’s hard to imagine not having a smart phone on me, all the time. My phone (read: mini computer) has become such an integrated part of my day. I use it to wake me up in the morning, I read the news on it, and use mindfulness and meditation apps. I read emails, send texts, take and post pictures, and browse my friends pictures. I check the weather, check my calendar, play Yahtzee, and shop. And this is all before 8 am!
As I’m writing this, I am painfully aware of how much I use my phone every day. It’s an amazing tool that I am very grateful for. But I can also remember a time when I didn’t have a smart phone, or even a phone. I even remember a time growing up without a computer or internet at all! It seems like the dark ages but in so many ways it was just fine. Leaving our phones behind for a time can be a much needed reminder that we don’t actually need them. They are a luxury, not a necessity, and looking up can give us a chance to appreciate more.
The changing season is a loving reminder to me that I also operate in seasons. There are times for growth and learning. Just like there are times for healing, hoping, caring, and being cared for. Working within this perspective gives me space to make mistakes, feel down, be frustrated and upset without it meaning anything about who I am. I am me, experiencing different seasons of life.
Viewing life as happening in seasons also gives me a chance to pull back and see the bigger picture. When I’m in a place of hope, after being in a place of feeling hopeless, I can remind myself that I have been here before. This is a familiar feeling that makes me feel awake and aware. When I feel embarrassed or ashamed I can also see that I have been there before, and that I have found my way from there to a place of acceptance and love. The fluidity of our experiences should signal to us that we are resilient and strong.
The experience of spending time in nature is a reminder of the calm and strong terrain within ourselves. Much like nature we can feel predictable or unpredictable depending on the circumstance. But where ever we are there is so much more to explore. I recently visited San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington. Which is such a different place to be than Salt Lake City, Utah. The trees on the island were huge and everywhere! The island is small with relatively few people and it felt calm and peaceful. The small fishing atmosphere was quaint and I felt recharged just being there. I took time to see my life from a new perspective and it was refreshing.
I love to imagine how other people live and while I was on the island I spent a good amount of time day dreaming about the locals. What obstacles did they face? Was life easier there? Did the people who grew up there want to leave? I don’t have any real answers to these questions, but I can imagine their life is probably a lot like like mine, just in a different location. It’s a romantic thought that there may be somewhere in the world where if you’re there your troubles melt away. But I do think different places can bring out different parts of who we are. While I was on the island I was able to feel a lot of gratitude for my husband who made fires to keep us warm when it got cold. I felt excited for my young daughter to ride a ferry and see new things for the first time ever. And I felt peace and calm that I have personally been needing.
I’m back home now and today in Salt Lake City and it’s snowing in April! Not a small snow either, a snow truck just cleared the snow from our street. And it’s familiar to be back, but I also feel different. I feel ready for change and hopeful that I will be able to meet it with an open heart.