Nature Connection pulls you out of your own ass…

Believe me, the above statement has been said much more elegantly by many people across the world. But I like this title. It is honest. It is frank. And, it is true.

We live in an age where it is culturally acceptable to very rarely consider the outdoors. Cold? There’s probably an app for that. Bored? There’s definitely an app for that. We can step from our homes to our cars to our offices without having to stand bare under the sky. We can search our multi-sized electronic devices for all sorts of wonderment. And that is cool. I’m not anti-technology. I’ve just begun to notice something about us as humans.

We are losing our passion. Many of us don’t even know why we do what we do. Many of us are miserable in our jobs, in our lives, in our circumstances. If we don’t like our lives we can escape to a fantastical realm of movies and games and online relationships. As Homer Simpson so wisely put it, “Turn something on, I’m starting to think!” It begs the question, what – are – we – doing?

And then there is Nature Connection, the simple act of spending time in the natural world and paying attention. It is taking the time to remember that, as of now at least, we are dependent on this earth that we call home. And there are natural laws that apply to this place. Such as, if you throw shit in the water, it will get dirty. And if you spray chemicals on your food you will get sick. And if you fill your mind with junk you will develop some kind of mental illness. You know, those kinds of things.

I remember when I first began my nature connection journey. I began to pay attention to the trees, the plants, and the creatures of Columbus, OH. I didn’t know until I started noticing that the song of the Mourning Dove could make me feel as strongly as my favorite song. Or that there were owls that lived down the street from me in a small section of woods in a neighborhood full of houses. Or that making pancakes with Dandelion flowers in them made me feel like a wild animal.

What astounded me most was that there seemed to be this whole secret reality underneath of my own that nature lived in. Deer and fox and coyote ran around the streets and parks of Columbus, living their lives, all without my knowledge. Foraging, hunting, giving birth, sleeping, and shitting, just like humans.

This also applied to the trees and plants. Suddenly, as I learned, my world became richer. I had more friends. And I began to develop a new inner sense. Something deeper and quieter and more profound than my ever creative and obsessive mind. And that new stillness brought me out of my own ass and back into the flow of the world. As my yoga teacher Ana Forrest says,             “Your reality is actually far more interesting than your fantasy.”

I have found this to be true. And nature is my way of getting to that place. I feel like nature helps me to stand alongside my upbringing, beside my culture and look at it with a little more objectivity and perspective. And it helps me ask the tough questions that most people don’t want to think about. And it helps me listen. And wait. And dream.

It’s also given me more perspective on how to deal with life. Not only can I look at things through the lenses of my human friends, but also through the lens of Raven or Sycamore or a small stream in Whetstone park. These beings and places teach me. And I’m not necessarily talking about some kind of woo woo lesson here. I mean real shit. Like, Ravens hunt to eat, they hunt to live. They cache food for later munching and they have a diverse and intricate communication system. That’s real natural history that influences my world and gives me ideas for my life. Does this make sense?

Take the time to do something simple. Feel the sun on your face, warming you. Listen to the sound of a bird singing it’s heart out. Smell a plant from your garden. Watch the clouds moving across the sky. Taste the mint leaf. Use your senses. Explore your world. Get out of your own ass every now and again or as much as possible. I’m telling you, the world is so much more interesting than your own posterior.

PS  The cool thing about nature connection…  it’s free!

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12 Responses to Nature Connection pulls you out of your own ass…

  1. electrickat says:

    As I said, many people have said what I’ve said much more gracefully! Check out part of my friend Sol’s paper on this kind of topic:

    To inhabit one’s senses is an act of revolution. Due to many historical and societal influences, including “early philosophical traditions that separate humans from nature: the early Greek dialogues, Judeo-Christian traditions, Descartes, and others” (Bradshaw & Bekoff, 2001, p. 460), participants in Western culture- willing or unwilling- have become disconnected from their bodies and from the earth. A mechanistic and reductionistic viewpoint, combined with the systematic eradication of wildness from both places and people, has thrown ecosystems into chaos and humans into a cubist interaction with their own bodies, inhabiting an often pale and sterilized culture that does not tend to nourish the soul (Totten, 2007).

    In response, the act of reclaiming ourselves as sensate organisms can transform the flow of our experience and actions to greater warmth, vitality, and engagement with the world, as if our psyches and bodies are emerging from a deep freeze that has entrapped the soul. As individuals come to their senses, this may be mirrored in society, as subcultural centers of gravity begin to shift as well. Embodied people are more likely to care about whether their environments are caustic or pleasant, degraded or healthy. They are more likely to notice when the stasis of their work and lifestyle cause their bodies pain and when the things they are told are sustenance, such as passive entertainment or the increasing acquisition of possessions, do not create lasting fulfillment. Embodied people do not make good chattel (Totten, 2007); they are participants in more of the external and internal truth of their environment, interactions, desires, preferences, and creativity.

    This is a large vision of embodiment. The microcosm of it is the seemingly simple practice of attuning to sensation and emotion. How, at the grassroots level of the individual, can this reorientation occur- how does the human organism begin to attune to itself and its environment and how can a therapist gently assist this process?

  2. Yogi says:

    I do this a lot and the more I do, the more foreign the “modern” aspects of our world feels, which is a struggle in and of it self. It’s a beautiful and painful journey when I find myself randomly thinking of a red-tailed hawk, or a beautiful spider web, or the sound of the bamboo trees in the wind while I’m sitting in my cubicle facing my computer. I do find my head heading towards my ass quite a bit so I’m very grateful for reminders like yours. Thank you.

    • electrickat says:

      Hey Yogi, thanks for your response. I know exactly how you feel, the disparity between our modern world and the natural world. This story just occurred to me so I’ll share it.
      I once sat with a Lakota elder named Gilbert Walking Bull. He was an interesting man. He’d been raised on the Reservation by his Elders, never went to “Indian School” and didn’t speak English until he was in his early twenties. He told a story of a medicine man long ago who kept hearing something in the woods that sounded like music. He followed the sound and came to a Cottonwood Tree. A stem of a leaf was scratching on another leaf in the breeze and it sounded like music! Gilbert told us this was the pre-cursor to a Record Player. Basically he was saying, everything comes from nature. I wonder, how much tracking back would you have to do to discover what parts of the earth your computer comes from?

      • Yogi says:

        Great story! Thanks for sharing. Funny because I mentioned a spider web (u should see the one I witnessed in the woods this year) and I thought of the world wide web and then thought of our universe being this divine matrix (thanks Gregg Braden), and also Grandmother Spider…all these thoughts rushed into my mind as I read your words. An interesting exercise indeed.

  3. Catherine de Marin says:

    Many thanks for your beautifully expressed thoughts. I can’t wait to use my senses in your class this morning!

  4. Thank you for writing this. It is brilliant, well-spoken, and true. Count me among your newest fans. I’ll be sharing this all over the place.

  5. wonderful, I learn it more and more each day… tonight as we ate dinner, we hear the screeching of an owl in the park which is literary outside outside our kitchen door,

  6. electrickat says:

    Thank you Linda!
    What place or creature from the natural world gets YOU out of your own ass?

  7. linda says:

    Excellent writing. As I get older I seem to experience this more and more.

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