An Inspired, Conscious Life
NATURE AS MEDITATION
THIS PAST WEEK I SPENT 4 DAYS IN THE BUSY CITY OF TORONTO. I was busy partcipating in discussion panels and attending the prestigious National Magazine Awards, but amongst the frenetic pace I also found a few moments to talk a walk. I have lived my whole life immersed in nature—I am blessed that way—but we have a way of taking for granted the things we are regularly surrounded by. Normally my trips to Toronto are frequent but a blur (I only live a short distance away). I'm more worried about traffic and how that will affect getting from A to B then anything else, but spending this extended time there, by myself, gave me the opportunity to notice it. there is beauty there in the diversity of people, the density of interest, the variety of details to captivate you. We've engineered these massive places and the height of skyscapers rising up all around you is awe-inducing. But, it can be tiresome too. Waiting for lights to change, for cars to go, people to cross, checking your watch, worrying about what's next. It's a nervous energy that elevates your core being and activates your nervous system.
Don't get me wrong, with no agenda and time to kill, the city is beautiful, but amongst my busy schedule I found I needed respite, which came in the form of the Beltline Trail, a nature trail that dissects the city in half, and there I found peace. Not solitude, but a certain quiet beauty that put in stark contrast green against concrete, earth against stone, and singing birds against the sounds of traffic. For an hour I walked and I felt overwhelmed with appreciation and gratitude for the beauty of nature, and yearned for my trails and where the lake hugs the shore at home.
If you spend enough time in the city I'm sure the bustle becomes normal, but I also am afraid that this normalcy, this love of and addiction to a fast pace, numbs us a little to the capacity to feel wonder. To me, the capacity to feel wonder connects us as humans, and it also serves as a bridge between us and something greater floating about within the Universe. It's a reminder that we don't have all the answers, and yet it ignites the desire to learn and discover more. Unlocking the intricacy found in nature is my meditation, and with these words I hope it becomes yours too, even for just a moment.
When you take a minute and make the effort to notice the contrast of civilization and nature, all effort disappears and you find layer upon layer, all feeding that sense of childlike wonder deep within you. Some time ago, I spent some time in the woods with my friend Erin, and once again I was suprised at what there is to see when you truly look: artful reflections on water, the particular colours and how beautiful they are in relation to each other; insects that seduce you with their intricate, delicate beauty, the texture of bark, the way the earth feels, and the thrum of survival happening all around you.
After you've trained your eyes to notice, find a place to just be quiet (not in bug season as it will be futile, trust me), close your eyes, and just listen. Further strip away your senses until you feel the essence of a place, and eventually, your own place within it. Meditating in nature, for me, feeds the love I have for it and preserves the sense of wonder that I value so much. I honestly think it's one of my best qualities and I hope I find a way to always preserve it. This love and wonder in turn fuels my passion to preserve, to continue my work with Pure Green and to share my experiences with you. So no matter where you are, even if it's just on your patio with a couple potted plants, I hope you find a way to experience this respite and escape the rush, even for just a minute, and that it leads you back to yourself.
Photos by Erin Monett of Ever Images Photography