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Nature Reconnection


How do you connect with nature?

Growing up I spent as much time outside as I could digging in the dirt, catching snakes, chasing lizards, watching the bees, studying ants, listening to the birds singing and learning their song. At night I would study the stars, learn the constellations and dream of other galaxies far, far away. By communicating with the natural world on every level of my being, I felt whole and connected to all of life here and beyond.


You can too!

campsite
Our campsite: Theodore Roosevelt National Monument, ND


Adventures big and small are all wonderful

I am grateful to have had many opportunities to see so much beauty around the country by spending four weeks out of the summer on the road with my family camping in different regions. I’m filled with many unforgettable experiences. As a child I remember the first time I saw the Grand Canyon from the north rim (Wow!)  Years later while in college at ASU, I hiked down it twice. I’ve seen the Badlands of the Dakotas, hiked the Appalachians, walked the rocky shores of Maine and enjoyed the sunsets on Key West.

badlands
Dakota Badlands

Then there was body surfing in the Atlantic and the Pacific, jumping over the headwaters of the Mississippi River and watching its mighty waters flow into the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve drawn deep breaths from the Sierra Nevada’s, the Rockies and the Appalachians. I've driven 100 mile stretches of straight highway across the Great Plains. I’m truly blessed to have experienced so much natural beauty.


My favorite activity...

While camping with my family in the southwest, my dad always tied up our old army tent side walls and opened the ends so we could get the cool night air. We always slept on cots, since it’s important to be off the ground in the desert. My father and I were often the first to wake in the morning and before stepping onto the ground, we would check to see what critters passed through our open tent during the night. I remember the most exciting morning was when we not only found tracks from the usual snakes, coyotes and rodents, but this time there were cougar tracks. So cool!! I secretly wished I would wake in the night and stare into those amazing big yellow cat eyes.


That being said, I did get to see Mama bear cutting through our yard one fall afternoon.

(photo taken through a glass door)

bear
mama bear

Experience the beauty the world has to offer.

I’ve enjoyed canoeing and hiking the Ontario wilderness, picking and eating wild blueberries (once until I was sick, ugh!) and coming face to face with a baby moose. Now that was a bit startling, plus mama was right behind her baby! I’ve enjoyed the bears in the Smokey Mts, alligators in the Everglades, and rattlesnakes in the desert. Then there were the hiking trips on the Highland Way in Scotland and trails along the Mediterranean in France, Spain and Italy. I breathed in the clean cool air of the Swiss Alps while looking up at the magnificent Matterhorn…another wow!


So I ask again…How do you connect with nature and how often? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Or less? Now, you don’t have to travel the country or go to far off corners of the planet to make the connection. You don’t even need to drive out of the city if that’s where you live. All you have to do is make a conscious effort to notice your natural surroundings.


sunset
backyard sunset

Here are a few “how to reconnect” ideas you can do:

* Relax and enjoy watching the sunrise or sunset at least once a week. Not only is it beautiful, it’s a natural relaxant that helps lower your blood pressure and actually becomes a form of meditation. Plus, you’re connecting to nature’s life-giving force…the sun.


* Stargazing, not so easy in the city. 

Look for planets (they don’t twinkle) and constellations or just let your imagine go wild. You could get a book or app on your phone and look for the constellations for your part of the sky. It’s fun to find them and learn their stories. If you’re near the ocean or a large lake, it’s easier to see the stars looking out over the water.


* Walk your neighborhood, hike a local trail, or a city park and notice the different kinds of trees. Can you name any of them? Look for signs of animals, insects, plants and fungus, then stop to observe. If you see any animals, stop, be still, watch and silently communicate with them.


More things you can do...

*Be mindful of the choices you make everyday…how do those choices affect nature?

*Take up gardening…in pots or in the ground. It doesn’t matter which way you choose. One pot is better than nothing.

*Put out a bird feeder and a bird bath if possible. Which them with your morning coffee or tea. On a hot day birds are fun to watch cooling off in the bird bath. If your winters are cold, be sure to keep the feeder filled. Not as important in the warmer months since food is plentiful.


Final thoughts:

Many people talk and act as though nature doesn’t include us humans. Thinking this way totally disconnects one from our planet and all it support. We are very much a part of nature. Homesteading has made a come back in many areas. Living a sustainable way of life is reconnecting to the natural world by living closer to it with respect.



queen anne's lace
queen anne's lace

Being disconnected has nothing but negative repercussions to the human body, mind and spirit. When we distance ourselves from nature, we lose out and it becomes an us vs. them. Then we both lose. But if we take the time to connect, we end up wanting to protect nature because we’ve made it personal. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilt if you’ve been living a disconnected life from nature,  just start where you are right now. Take steps to reconnect with nature in any way you can. You’ll be amazed at how fabulous it makes you feel.


Namaste’

Stephanie

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