I was fortunate.
Thankfully, I was blessed with a village who expected me to go out into nature – to play, to explore, to calm.
I bore witness to Pap who woke up BY and WITH the birds each morning. He’d invite me to sit with him cultivating patience and awe. To this day, I can still hear him saying, “Just wait Gab.” He’d feel me getting antsy and draw me into him. And just like that, it was as if the birds heard him – one, then another and another would put on a show.
They’d swoop and swirl and suddenly I felt enlivened. Their swoops whirling through my little body – almost, for a moment like, I was flying too. Then Pap would tweet (the real kind 😏) and I’d freeze, waiting to hear if they’d tweet back. Of course they would. I’d ball my hands and stomp my foot out of joy. This delicate cross-species communication felt like magic, almost too much for my young soul to bear. Or further confirmation that magic DOES exist, as age was wearing its presence down. Either way, Pap would see me and smile, his eyes would twinkle. That was magic too.
Connecting to the Earth
Both of my parents instructed nature as well, a sacred ordinance and it was in my communion with Earth that I often found answers to my most harrowing questions. Earth’s age quieted my anxiety. That, especially when humans felt crazy to me or circumstances just didn’t fit and robbed me of peace, Earth was always there in deep solidarity reminding me to hold my ground. The trees would echo, “It’s going to be OK.” And immediately soothe me back to safety and presence. They held space for my “I don’t know” teaching me to hold my own space for the unknown.
What Nature has taught me
Nature taught me the eloquence of steady progress, the undeniable presence of cycles, to look in all directions cultivating a myriad of perspectives and most of all, from the tiny acorn to the gargantuan mountains, each bears value respecting the whole.
To this day, when I feel upended or scattered, all it takes is one walk outside, one embrace around a tree, to bring me home to what is true. When I forget, nature reminds me.
Slow down, breath and pause…..just wait, just wait, and enjoy the show.
Shifting into Presence
It is true, when we are feeling excessively worn or vulnerable, we have less access to being open to these moments and that’s the exact time when we need to consciously create them the most. Even just a breath of fresh air or even 5 can help energize and shift us out of a stress state and back to feeling some sense of presence and power. It is that shift that offers us possibility and hope.
A quote attributed to Victor Frankl encourages:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space lies our power to choose. And in our choice lies our growth and freedom.”
During one of the most unprecedented times of our lives, let us remember nature as one of our greatest healing gifts to pause and connect to refresh our patience and stamina for ourselves and each other.
Thank you 🌎♥️