Take a nature bath.

deepnature

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.

We’re hitched.

hitched

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.

Take a hike.

naturewalk

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.