By Blair Wojcik
A theme that arises at the end of every year is one of completion, on the cusp of new beginnings. Our internal pace guides us to a more reflective space and like many creatures during the winter time, we hibernate. We take into account all the memories we shared, the lessons we learned (or are still very much in the process of learning) and the lives we’ve connected with and impacted along the way. How have we grown? What are we committed to carrying with us? And what are we intending to leaving behind?
The importance of connection is not a “here today, gone tomorrow” sort-of charge; it is every moment. Coming out of our caves, entering into the world and exploring the beauty all around us. So, our relationship to nature is a vital part of this. The Earth is always calling for us to connect with Her. From the food we choose to grow and eat, to the way we consciously compost and recycle our waste, to taking shade in the sunshine underneath our favorite tree, these acts add up. Over time, they begin to create a regenerative lifestyle. This, then, impacts the future, for generations to come. It supports and encourages healing, for us and our planet.
Did you know that there are organizations who would tell you to take a hike for your everyday ailments? The Natural ParkRx Initiative is a movement founded by individuals and agencies who believe in the power of nature and its impact on our well-being. A walk in the park is actually viewed as a means for preventative health, and the leaders at the forefront of this vision encourage each of us to become active participants, stewards, guardians and caretakers of the precious land that gives us our vitality. Additionally, Harvard Medical School in their 2010 Health Letter attributes being outdoors to boosting our immune system. Getting fresh air and exposing ourselves to natural light may brighten our mood, reduce inflammation, restore our energy and help us heal faster. They say it can even combat cancer, depression and heart attacks. The benefits seem to extend far beyond just exercise (though it’s an awesome space to sweat and get in shape, too.)
As we strengthen our relationship to nature, we can start to understand its interconnectedness to our nature. It is equally important that we deepen our connection to one another, and to what lies within. When we focus on experiences, rather than things, we create resilient communities, living in service to the greater good – to the heart of the matter. We become more mindful of our choices, especially around the holiday season. As families gather in the spirit of gratitude and gift-giving, we can awaken to what the real gifts are, and all there is to be grateful for: Love, Kindness, Compassion, Community, Forgiveness, Patience and Generosity, to name a few. That temporary, one-time-use “stuff” we share instead won’t carry nearly the same weight as our presence. The true presents.
The time to deepen our connection is here. There is no more space, energy, money, food or strength to waste, while we wait for something “better” or more “appealing” to come along. This is it. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. And the moment to act is now. We must value what is in front of us, around us and within us, as it is us, before it is too late. We are fashioned with both stardust and soil microbes, forests and far-off horizons. May we always remember this, no matter the season.
Enjoy your holiday, and explore spending it in a new way. With greater intention, reverence and care. For yourself, for others and for our precious Earth.
Ready to explore a deeper connection? Check out:
Bill Plodkin’s talks on Nature and the Human Soul,