#74: We are Nature and Other Forever Lessons for Right Now
Mental clarity is extremely important during challenging times
Note to Readers:
This is an updated post from my previous one on the importance of taking care of yourself during challenging times. This one includes feedback from my wonderful editor Georgia Patrick. Thank you so much, Georgia, for helping to make this post more meaningful and impactful.
I hope you all connect with this post and learn from my experience.
We Are Nature and Other Forever Lessons for Right Now
My yoga teacher has been battling stage four breast cancer for over a decade. Despite this —or perhaps because of this— she is an incredibly heartfelt, joyous, and compassionate person. Even during our class in the park, when, like in a trippy psychedelic movie, she sees everything double—a side effect of chemo—she always manages to share her best, most authentic self.
Like last week, when at the end of class, she instructed us to place our hands to our hearts. Then, she guided us to take a deep breath. While the class followed her lead, she shared some forever wisdom about the current state of our world.
There are truly awful horrible events taking place in our country and in our world. It’s extremely important that we keep our hearts open, and our voices.
Keeping my voice open is why I write. A pen, and pixels on a screen, are my weapon of choice.
And when it comes to the truly awful horrible events taking place around us, does anyone else feel like we’re turning on ourselves? Does anyone else feel like the world is becoming more myopic?
As seen on Twitter:
We Forget that We, Humans, were not Meant to Sit in Front of a Computer Screen all Day
My editor Georgia Patrick astutely pointed out the following observation:
Humans and screen time wasn't even in the world or any part of nature until the 1980's. That's why divorcing nature or even going to bed angry with nature is not an option. That's why keeping time devoted to nature, every week if not every day is critical to physical and mental health.
The screen’s light, the screen’s size, and the virtual reality we enter, does funky harmful things to our brain and to our nervous system. It’s a slow, slow, burn that eventually ignites into a fire, unless we train ourselves to break away and seek solace in the real world, with real people and real nature.
I have been starting my days by biking down to the ocean. I bring a notebook and a pen and just allow the beach, the ocean, the birds, to hold and support me, reminding myself that I am not in nature — I am nature.
After only two days of biking down to the ocean, walking around, and seeing and smiling at people and their dogs, my mind and my body started to feel reset.
Now, after almost a week of doing this daily ritual, my mind is more calm and clear –I am not as triggered by the day to day – and my sleep quality has improved dramatically. After weeks of suffering a combination of trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and groggy mornings—I now wake up rested and refreshed.
Worry thoughts still plague me in the morning, but I have established a practice of jotting the thoughts down in a notebook. Once they’re out of my mind, they become less sticky and lose their power. If a thought is truly important, as some actually are, my brain starts to work these thoughts out on my bike ride to the ocean.
Touching Reality with Calm and Clarity
I have more thoughts but I don’t want to ramble. There’s too much of that these days. Plus, you don’t have to keep taking my word for how things are. It’s important to also listen to others.
So I'll leave you with a few important observations from two people:
My editor Georgia Patrick notes:
Clarity of thought is at the core of calm and reality. Without clearness, there is fear. Without clearness, there are lies. Without clearness, there is no writing that matters.
Stew Fortier, the co-founder of Foster, made an observation–with humility and some much needed humor– about his lack of clarity about the world.
And Josh Pillay, author of the Wait! Just Listen newsletter, responds with the following insight.
Take care of yourselves, my friends, during these challenging times. ❤️