Nature Is Our Guide
Hello friends! Happy August! As you know, I took a pause from writing to spend time with my kids. In many ways, it felt like a sacred pause – a gift of time – to explore the outdoors with them and enjoy some of the things that we are learning on the path.
I was inspired by a quote that I read from Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero’s Journey:
My goal was to spend time with my kids in nature and get them off their screens! I wanted to help them slow down and take breaks from the constant flow of information, images, and influence coming from their social media channels.
Like most parents, I have a growing concern about how well my kids will function in real life situations when so much of their learning and interactions are happening online. So, we went into nature to get a sense of being connected IRL (“in real life”).
As I’d hoped, nature showed up in a big way to help us understand what it means to be connected to something real, healthy and loving. It showed up with openness (trails and meadows), gentle communication (birds and wind), diversity (plants and insects) and spaces to play (waves and trees). We reciprocated by showing up with presence, joy and gratitude. Essentially, we enjoyed all the elements of a respectful “friendship” with nature.
During one of our walks together, I asked my kids: What does it mean for you “to connect with” or “to be with” a friend that you trust? How would you describe feeling connected to someone?
Given our different personalities, it wasn’t surprising that our individual answers were different. My 14-year-old daughter, Leila, says that she experiences connection through listening. My 12-year-old son, Tarik, describes feeling connected with others through play. For me, I feel connected with others through conversation and sharing stories.
This was such an important conversation for us because, when we learn about each other and understand how each other experiences feelings of connection, we can meet each other where we are. Plus, we acknowledge the skills that we need to work on to deepen our connections. For example, I am working on becoming a better listener 🙂
If the theme of reciprocity feels good for you to explore further, I highly recommend the book, Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. In her book, she shares Indigenous knowledge about land and plant life and explores the relationship between humans and the earth. Reading her book provided me with a change in perspective on cultivating healthy relationships. Instead of my old (and trained) way of looking at a relationship as one person giving and the other person taking, I now see a healthy relationship as two beings giving to each other.
Being with my kids this summer taught me to get back to my nature with the open heart of a child: to listen deeply, to play joyfully, to love tenderly and to trust in the flow of life.
As we return to work, school and busy schedules, I hope you’ll join me in prioritizing time in nature by being in a garden, walking in the woods, playing in the sand, and splashing in the waves! A few minutes a day is all you need to match your nature with Nature. This is the journey to joy and abundance.
Thank you for being here. Next time, we’ll explore the topic of self-reliance on the path to authenticity.
Let’s journey together.