Living Green: Being, Breathing & Bringing in Nature
February 18, 2013
"There is an evident relevance to the universally recognized need in our time for a general transformation of consciousness. The message here is of an actual age of harmony and peace in accord with the creative energies of nature."
Consider what green living means to you. For many, it means to live in harmony with nature and to honor the earth. We do this through everyday acts of conserving, reducing, and recycling, through words of appreciation for nature’s gifts, through contemplation of our true natures. And we do it through being, breathing, and bringing in nature.
Being in Nature
What could be more natural than to simply be in nature, especially if you choose to be like a child (after all, how do you suppose Mother Earth got her name)? The next time you venture out to nature’s playground, make a playdate with your inner child. You might lie on your back and watch the stars or the clouds. Feel the ground, moist and cool against your palms; scrunch the grass between your fingers. Imagine that a flower blooms under each step the moment your foot touches the ground. Become engrossed in the world of an ant, or in the rhythm of a butterfly’s wings as it flits from bloom, to branch, to blade, to bud. Sit and daydream.
Breathing in Nature
While you are simply being in nature, you are, of course, also breathing in nature. Yet are you consciously breathing in nature—that is, infusing nature into your being through your senses? Try it the next time you go out for a walk. Notice how, even in the fullness of spring, tree trunks and limbs visually “pop” in front of a blue sky or a green field. Listen to the gurgles of a nearby stream, the drone of a distant lawn mower, the padding or clunking of your own footsteps. As you feel physical sensations, mentally connect each one to a corresponding element of nature: the morning mist against your face (water), warm sunlight on your hair (fire), a gentle breeze on your arm (air), and the rock that bumps your toe (earth).
Bringing in Nature
Besides being and breathing in nature, you can live honorably and harmoniously with the earth by bringing in nature. Invite nature indoors. Bring into everyday life your favorite natural elements. Fill your living space with lush, fragrant, beautiful and vibrant houseplants. In fact, you might create an altar in your home to honor Mother Earth, for she is the home of all of our homes. And how natural to use a windowsill for this! Select items that have personal meaning for you: stones, shells, seeds, and other “found” objects from your outdoor adventures, a photo of you and your best friend hiking at Red River Gorge the summer of 1996, or a bonsai tree to symbolize your newfound interest in Zen.
Finally, bring nature into your awareness in ways that are uniquely meaningful to you. During times of quiet reflection or meditation, ask your higher self to inspire you with responses to questions such as, “What can I do today to honor both Mother Earth and myself?” or, “How can I better understand my true nature?”
First published in Natural Awakenings Magazine, April 2013 issue