Volcanoes, Perspective, and Connecting with your Spirit
Did you ever need a shot of perspective, a new view on things, a fresh shot of endorphins? I have just the remedy. Take a walk in a park. Go on a hike. Let your shoes feel the crunch of gravel under your feet. Better yet, let your feet feel some green grass. When was the last time you let your feet feel the soothing sensation of leafy greens brushing on the inside of your toes?
After a week cooped up in a classroom and in front of a computer screen, I needed a dose of the outdoors. I needed to experience some reality. I grabbed my wife and daughter and we journeyed to a dormant volcano near my house. The crater has sinced blown its top a milion years ago and in its place resides a botanical garden of cactus, date palms, mesquite, sycamore figs, and other desert friendly plants and trees. I love it.
It's dry, quiet, and devoid of people. It's a natural decompression chamber from the bends of this life filled with cacophony, noise, and stress. I stare up a lonely rock strewn trail and my heart beats a few seconds slower. Blood pressure drops as I listen to the crunch of gravel under my feet. It's zen like. The branches cracking with the wind, rare birds chirping up high, grass swishing like the brush strokes of a calligrapher. These images float through my mind as I descend deeper into the forest.
My daughter carefully picks plumeria flowers and my wife's care worn expression transforms into one of peace and rest. Nature has this effect on our spirit. Cool breezes refresh the soul. As I thought about the wonderful effect of nature I realize that simplicity has a lot to do with the metamorphosis that occurs. Decisions, decisions, decisions fill the psyche every day. We make decisions while driving, buying groceries, closing deals, paying bills, counseling people, typing out e-mails, and with a host of other mind numbing activities everyday.
In the past, you could jump on your horse, or into your carriage, and let the clop, clop, clop of the animal bring you back down. When you got home, the fireplace was crackling and a good book awaited you after you put the children to sleep. Chopping wood, harvesting wheat, hunting rabbits, roasting fresh game over a flame, and a host of other duties kept you connected with the land.
Today, we have DVD players, Nintendo, highways, 24 hour fitness, Panda Express, and other modern conveniences to try to bring us back down. They do not feed the spirit. If anything, they add to the frenzied, helter- skelter lifestyle so common in today's fractured families.
Yes, modernity has brought advances in medicine, hygiene, and has done other helpful things. It has added some blessings to this temporal life, but has it also taken away some of them? I think so.
I'm thankful that I live in a beautiful place like Hawaii. The weather and the culture facilitates healthy living, but unless you live in the inner city, most people, including yourselves, can find a park, beach, or forest to explore. It's worth it. Exercise also releases endorphins, the 'happy happy hormone', which add to your overall well-being.
Take at least an hour each day to walk a tree lined street or a sandy shoreline or a lake side park, and breath in life again. Watch your spirit soar. Pray to God. Thank him for the blessings of creation. It will do you good.