We are a disconnected culture. It’s not just our political divide, our ethnic or economic ones. We are disconnected from ourselves, detached from our environment. Reluctant to appreciate the effects we are having on our planet, feeling bad about our own existence.
It’s a tremendous weight to carry. It dulls our spirits like toxic sludge in a river. No wonder people are confused, distraught, helpless and frustrated, turning to opioids and extreme escapes from our reality. No wonder violence is on the increase in public gathering places, why the level of desperation hangs in the air like smog over Denver in July.
Our technology isn’t helping, either. The chief proposition among neuroscientists at present is that our brains simply cannot process the sheer volume of information being thrown at us on a daily, not to mention hourly, basis.
We’re suffering and we need to move into a different way of being in our American culture, if we are to survive and thrive and move ourselves beyond. We need to do so for ourselves, our spirits, and our planet earth.
We can start simple. We can bring ourselves back to Nature, to begin with. In Nature, we can find healing. And in healing ourselves, we expand to become more of ourselves, appreciating our environment and our respective roles in it.
It can start simple: It’s about slowing down, paying attention. Bringing ourselves into natural environments, silencing our technology and turning down our radios, taking the opportunities to drop into ourselves and reconnect. Meditating under a tree, tickling our bare feet on springtime grass, dipping our toes into icy creeks.
In our immediate environments, we all have chances for exploring Nature on a daily basis. Each of us has some measure of green space nearby, whether it’s a community park or a national forest. Spending time in these places can be the place where we begin to heal ourselves internally, pause from the pace of incessant, spirit-battering technology, quiet our minds to appreciate the life beyond ourselves.
Without the presence of Nature in my own life, my troubled spirit suffers. For these reasons, I make it a daily practice to commune somewhere in Nature – walking alongside the creek with my rescue pack, sitting under the Ponderosa Pines, or simply combing the skies for Redtail Hawks and Golden Eagles. In the effervescence of springtime, lilac pods pregnant with promises of new life decorate my horizon, soft, bright green shoots of mountain grasses sprout up after Winter’s nap, Cliff Swallows snatch mosquitoes in the air. I can hear, if I pause, the quietness of a Rocky Mountain Bluebird fluttering past, or catch, if I’m quiet, the melodious mating tunes emanating from the mouth of the American Dipper. And if I’m patient, I can delight in reverence for him in his own comic routine, bobbing up and down like a child dancing to a silent tune in only his head, atop the river rock in the icy creek flowing by.
It’s a challenging proposition – to bring ourselves back to our connection with our environment, appreciate our own place in Nature, come to know more intimately the character of all the life forms in it. But making time for it, whether it’s a half hour or an entire day, is the beginning place for restoration of my own troubled spirit, and reconnection to the multitudes of life contained in Nature Herself.