The flowers in my garden are colorful and cheerful. I find great joy in watering and pruning them every morning before I start my day. This simple practice brings me back to what is important for me right now. A connection to the natural world that fills my senses with delight and gratitude.
Taking time to immerse myself in the wonders of nature, absorbing the brightness of flowers, seeing busy bees collect pollen and hearing the sound of humming birds as they sip nectar — an inner musing began:
I want to stand tall and bright like the flowers too!
Recently a friend reminded me of how sunflowers follow the sun’s light throughout the day. That image felt so wonderful inside and also validated my instinct to remind myself and anyone who needs some uplifting energy right now, that it’s okay to follow the light and stand bright.
Week after week I lovingly listen to my clients. I hear about cancelled plans, concerns about increasing virus cases, fears of getting sick, and the weight of an increasingly disturbing political atmosphere.
With the constant doom filled media chatter, weekly changes to fall school plans, endless Zoom meetings and adjusting longer-term to life with masks and social distancing – it’s all so much and zaps our energy.
Covid-fatigue is real! You are not alone in this.
And even with all the heaviness, I also hear about the guilt of feeling okay and even inspired by what is happening in our world.
We are living in a time where vast swaths of emotions can enter us throughout the day: anger, joy, fatigue, love, confusion, pride, sadness and gratitude.
Even more reason to add the simplicity of the summer season’s abundance like an act of devotion to soothe and recharge: pausing to hear a bird’s song, noticing new green growth and the newly opened blossoms.
Absorbing nature’s energy recharges my internal battery so I can stay clear, steady and sane.
Nature is where I find my own “unexpected grace of kinship” which brings me back from the loneliness, weariness and existential worry of quarantine life. This reuniting, a type of “hunger for a stronger connection” to the wild world found right in our own backyards, is a recent pandemic-phenomenon noted by Richard Louv of the Los Angeles Times.
More and more people are finding a fast friend in the squirrel on the fence, the crow that previously shrieked annoyance and the oft-passed stream down the street. A confidant right now, in animal or plant form, is one of the richest ways we humans can stay grounded and sane as 2020 marches on.
So as a nature-lover and advocate of self-care, I am reminding you of the healing practice to reconnect within yourself in the sacred landscape outside your front door. As you nurture yourself by connecting to nature, you increase your stamina to sustain your emotional health. This is part of the new normal, just like hand sanitizer, face masks and Clorox wipes.
Setting up this small daily practice – like sitting with my flowers every morning – keeps my energy charged up and ready to face the ever-changing daily landscape of life as it is now.
Moreover, because your brain is highly influenced by sight, sound and smell, you can simply close your eyes and think of a forest or a beach and receive the same calming effects as if you were actually there. This is something I teach all my clients — to have a nature symbol that connects them deeply to their own inner light and resources.
So if you are feeling tired, drained and just kind of over it all, yep – that’s part of the new normal too. Permission to rest more and sleep when your body tells you to recharge. Permission to let yourself slow down, pausing to smell the flowers or think of the deep roots of a tree.
When I work with parents or couples, I ask what they are doing to balance themselves or adjust to a summer with limited options for their kids.
What I hear is that their getting really creative! Whether it’s camping, road trips, games or backyard activities, this is a time to stretch ourselves into perhaps appreciating more than ever that simply being together is a gift.
Certainly we have all gotten attached to how things should be or used to be. And yet, I am heartened to see the variety of our collective resilience in the past 5 months.
In Colorado we are lucky to have access to mountains, canyons, rivers, lakes and creeks. Those natural resources are a restorativereset for the mind and the body. We all need some nature-time to restore us, clear us and energize us.
We are not made to keep going like the energizer bunny, especially right now. Now is the time for us to collectively honor rest and the power of a pause. Cultural conditioning praises perpetual action and unending momentum while often dismissing the power of simply being in stillness.
As we collectively adjust to living in uncertain times, there is a deeper message here about co-existing with the unknown and in-between, transitory spaces. All of this is part of a larger cycle, a passing phase and a turning. On the verge we are – waiting, wandering, restoring, transforming – however disorienting and exhausting it may feel. So right now, even if it sounds cliche, it’s more true than ever:
Being is greater than doing.
With a pause in mind, here’s my gift to you: a meditation to connect with the powerful TREE energy any time you need a grounding pause.
With gratitude for how you are holding yourself strong and steady in these ever-changing times.