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"Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the well being of our own children is intimately linked to the well being of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. When one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will commit it. The good life for our own children can be secured only if it is also secured for all other people's children. But to work for the well being of all children is not just a practical matter-- it is also right!" - Lilian G. Katz, Phd.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Earthly Comfort

Connecting To Nature

Being in the midst of a redwood forest, gazing up at stars, pondering the vastness of a desert, all these naturescapes (and many more) move us to a place of reverence. We connect with nature on a spiritual level. There is sacredness in wild places and we can be transformed simply by being there.

Beyond human beings, we are nature beings, created from the same source as animals, plants, even rocks. The earth calls for us to connect so that we can feel balanced and whole; a part of the universe. All jokes aside, hugging a tree feels good. The strength of wood is a comfort in its solidness and we feel supported when we lean against a tree. It feels natural to wrap our arms around the trunk, as if the tree is hugging us back. The leaves sing to us on a breeze, reminding us that we are loved.

Being outdoors awakens all our senses. We breathe more deeply, taking in scents of salt air, pine needles, fragrant flowers, even the pungent odor of dirt. Our feet are cooled, sometimes numbed by an icy cold mountain stream, our bodies meld into warm sand at the beach, and a soft rain feels like a thousand wet kisses. Outdoors we can hear a symphony of natural sounds from bees buzzing to the roar of wind, or we can bask in the incredible peace of silence.

Connecting with nature evokes a sense of awe and wonderment about the universe. We are humbled by the magnitude of a mountain range and delighted by the colors of a rainbow. At the same time, we experience a oneness with the natural world which encourages us to appreciate and respect all of life. Nature calls us to be present and in the moment, so that we don't miss the intricate design of a spider web or the flash of a hummingbird.

And, the more we become one with nature, the more it offers us. In the wilderness we transcend time and space; we are renewed. Hikes in the woods, body surfing in the ocean, even walks around the block become moving meditations, enhancing our intuition. Look for signs and messages in the great outdoors, the symbolism of leaves falling in your path, the pattern of birds in flight. Or, simply enjoy the bliss of connecting to the natural world.

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[Listening to: Seven Drunken Nights - The Dubliners - The Ultimate Collection - Spirit of the Irish (03:12)]