How To Truly Appreciate Nature.
I took a nice long solitary hike down my hill to the cliff at the foot of the bridge today. I wanted to take time to wonder just how someone would know if they really appreciated nature, if the knew they were truly alive. So I did my usual spring ritual and took my hike down the trail up the other hill and took the most beautiful photos I could with a cell phone, some because they were absolutely breath taking views and others because they meant something special to my boyfriend and me. I studied under a natural spirit guide once who taught me that if you feel you are at a place in your life that seems as if you are not going anywhere, not feeling, not thinking, not knowing, not even living, you need to do a reflecting ritual, which is nothing religious or even ritualistic, no sacrifices or anything like that, just a systematic pattern of actions in which you feel the energy of the earth.
What you do first is find a quiet and reasonably secluded spot out in nature somewhere, like a pasture or a meadow, bring a towel or blanket and comfortable clothing, which is optional. Make sure you leave on the sun block. Lie a towel or blanket down if you do not wish to lie on the grass, dirt, or moss, and simply lie there with your arms wide open and your eyes closed and focus on sensing what is around you. Please be sure to avoid insects and ant mounds, this will end badly if you do not exercise caution. Take three deep breaths inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. While you do this visualize as you are inhaling, taking in all positive energy and peace and good and current. As you exhale, visualize letting go of all the negative energy, chaos, evil, and the past. Next, open your hands and turn them palm up and try to listen to the voices of nature. The birds, the wind blowing through the trees, the leaves rustling, the sound of your own heart beating, these are all voices of nature and try to feel or sense them around you without looking.
Next, you will want to try to think about what these natural voices and sounds are telling you. Obviously not in English, but in nature's own communicative way. Next, you are going to turn over and lie facing down with your head facing right or left as you so choose, and listen to the earth. Listen to the ground underneath you and feel the vibrations. Next, you will want to stand up, pull your head all the way back and, with your eyes still closed, face the sky and feel the sun, or the rain on your face, feel the wind blow across your body and sense nature's breath. Next, you will want to sit down, open your eyes, and realize that you have just spent an unknown amount of time in meditation without thought of your bills, your work, your troubles, your concerns, or your problems, if any. If you have felt anything at all during this journey, not superficially, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, then you should know that you are very much alive as much as our Earth is alive, you feel things just like our Earth does, and you are very much not just existing, but living.
While out in nature, take a good look around you and observe the trees, observe the grass, the flowers, the sky, the wind, the temperature, and even the texture of the ground beneath you. Imagine how long those rocks have been there. Think about how long those trees have been standing there. Contemplate on how many storms and harsh Summers and brutal Winters that area you are in have actually seen in time. Try to understand that every rock, every tree, every flower, and every blade of grass tells a story. They all tell us just how long they have been there for us to find and explore. they have all been through countless days of different weather, and various temperatures and even storms from violent to benign. Try to realize that with every three and blade of grass, and every plant, you are being given another fresh breath of oxygen as they feed off of your carbon dioxide. It is a full circle of life and existence.
As well as every human being on this Earth has a personality, so does every tree and every living plant and every living flower. They all feel things, they all express themselves, and they all communicate, just not the way we do as humans. Nonetheless, they are still living beings and all have a story to tell.They tell us how long they have been alive, how many hard freezes there were in every Winter, they tell us how hot it actually got last Summer, and how many days they were stuck under water. This Earth is irrevocably abundant with life of many different forms. The more we find out and actually bother to look around and read into it, the more we will learn about our planet and the story she has to tell us all.
The next time you have an opportunity to be outdoors and enjoy nature in silence or even solitude, take advantage of the time you have with our mother Earth. Take the liberty to explore nature for yourself and in a relaxed state, take the time to realize that everything around you is very much alive and so are you. Alive and flourishing in life.
There is not need to cut yourself to bleed the proof that you're alive and that you feel. It's all around you. The answer to all of life's questions is all around you. All you need to do is open up to the opportunity to feel them, sense them and eventually, understand them.