Often life doesn’t make sense. So many petty squabbles, too much injustice, difficulties, disagreements, struggle. Why? What for? What’s the point? And then something remarkable happens, and we can see behind the veil to the beauty of things, the mystery. For a moment we feel a communion with each other and with all living things. We can stand in awe of creation.
For just such a moment, take time to watch this surfer communing with dolphins. It’s beautiful.
Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by a beautiful intrusion? A melting crayon sunset, the waft of jasmine, a baby’s laughter? These moments infuse the day with depth and magic when we pause to soak them in. And then, to think that these little beautiful miracles are always unfolding around you as you go through the day, but often you just don’t notice–amazing! What a remarkable place we have here.
To experience a bit of awe and magic today, take a look at this gardening swan. Delightful!
Be on the lookout for a beautiful intrusion today.
Notice the beauty all around you. That butterfly. That blossoming flower. That cloud formation. That wind against your cheek. That gnarled tree. Stop and notice.
It is so easy to miss it.
It’s too easy to forget that we are of this earth. Our agendas and business suits disguise us. Our tasks distract us.
But we are sensuous beings, of the earth and for the earth. We, like the tree frog, are part of creation. How lovely it is to remember that, to appreciate our moment of life in the grand scheme of things, to feel the wind in our hair and the grass under our feet. To drink deep of this moment when we are here.
We are here.
Once there was a man who found a penguin covered in oil, suffering, unable to move, on a Brazilian beach. He took mercy on the penguin, fed it sardines, cleaned it, and nursed it back to health. And, after 11 months, the little penguin returned to the sea.
But the following year, that penguin, Dindim, came back to the 71 year-old retired brick-layer who had saved him. And Dindim keeps coming back, traveling over eight thousand miles, to visit Mr. De Souza every year since 2011. When Dindim sees Mr. De Souza he wags his little tail and barks like a dog, settling into Mr. De Souza’s lap for cuddles and sardines. Dindim won’t let any other animals near his man.
Every year, while others of his kind are nesting, Dindim returns to Mr. De Souza who thinks of the little penguin as his child.
Every year for six years now.
What kind of miracle is this? An abiding love between a man and a penguin. A wild animal filled with love and gratitude. Nature more complex and rich and full of mystery than we ever could have imagined.
When was the last time you hiked? Or paused to admire the intricacy of a flower? Or listened to birds sing? Or felt the breeze tousle your hair?
When times are tough, the tough immerse themselves in nature. It soothes us, comforts us, leads us back to our bearings. While many benefits of nature are unsurprising–relaxation, bliss, awe–some are downright startling. Studies show spending time in nature makes us more altruistic and helps us be more social creatures.
Now, a large body of research is documenting the positive impacts of nature on human flourishing—our social, psychological, and emotional life. Over 100 studies have shown that being in nature, living near nature, or even viewing nature in paintings and videos can have positive impacts on our brains, bodies, feelings, thought processes, and social interactions. In particular, viewing nature seems to be inherently rewarding, producing a cascade of position emotions and calming our nervous systems. These in turn help us to cultivate greater openness, creativity, connection, generosity, and resilience.
Take time today to dip your toe in nature. It’s good for whatever ails you.
Where do you stop?
Is it at your skin, that organ holding all your pieces all together? If it’s there, at your skin, how do your words fly out into the air and touch, maybe even wound, someone else? Does your you stop when your physical self passes away? If so, how do memories of you inspire your grandchildren to smile long after your death?
When did you start? Was is at your birth? If so, how do you carry the genetic material of all your ancestors that have come before? How are you influenced by events that occurred long before you were born?
Is your you sufficient and complete in itself? Or does your you depend on many others, both human and not human? The plants and trees for oxygen? Other people for companionship? The air, the moon, the stars, the sun, plants, animals, gravity……a giant web of life, really?
It is hard to isolate our actions. Instead they ripple out into the world around us, resulting in things sometimes seen but more often unseen. In this delightful video, we see an orangutan preschool, a learning community. But, at the heart of the delight in these darling animals is a cold truth: they were orphaned, probably by people that walked and talked like we do. Instead of spending the first seven or eight years of life with their mothers, they are spending it with people trying to teach them how to be orangutans.
When we put out our ripples into this world, let our words be gentle and kind and our touch soft. Let us keep in mind that we are not separate from each other and nature, but that we all share this place we call home. We are all hitched.
To the beach, the mountains, the desert, the fields, the back yard. Wherever you can go, take the time to unwind in nature. Let its gentle rhythms soothe and comfort you.
The world is bigger than this day and this problem.
Let nature’s embrace help you find your way home.