This world is full of many beautiful and wondrous things. Vast and powerful oceans, ancient rainforests, majestic mountain ranges, breathtaking waterfalls — just to name but a few of the countless natural splendors on this planet we call home.
A seemingly infinite and amazing bio-diversity of plant life, mammals, reptiles, insects and even micro organisms that maintains the delicate balance that our world needs to thrive. However, more and more the over-development of our urban civilizations has been effectively eradicating nature from our increasingly over-populated cities.
Paving paradise seems to be an acceptable practice, creating in us an increasing and alarming disconnect from our origins. Too often we forget that we are never separate from nature, but that we are indeed of nature itself.
In the name of progress and the desire of a growing economy we are still predominantly choosing to ignore our responsibility as the stewards of our beautiful home — the only home we truly have. As a result, the devastating effects of our waste and pollution are beginning to take their toll.
Only in the wake of our current global environmental crisis are we beginning to take significant notice of the negative effects of this ‘disconnect’. Through lack of experiential exposure to the natural world we are in essence conditioning — not only ourselves, but an entire new generation of earth’s urban citizens — to be almost void of any reverence and appreciation for nature.
This could potentially have a serious impact on our future. Without teaching our children the importance of the protection and preservation of the ecological balance that sustains our very existence on this planet, we run the risk of leaving a dismal legacy in our wake. In order to effectively teach our children a reverence for nature, we must also learn to develop this reverence within ourselves.
For many of us, the idea of climate change and the doomsday prognosis of our inaction is too daunting. Thus, we choose to live our lives with blinders on, going about our days trying to find some measure of happiness wherever we can.
The benefits of focusing our attention on nature go beyond our basic needs for survival as a species. It can also help us tap into a sense of self that is uplifting and actually promotes the internal happiness we all seek. How many of us can look back upon our childhood and remember playing in the woods: running, hiding, building forts and climbing trees, feeling so vibrant and full of life?
Some of my fondest memories can be found in such places. As an adult living for over a decade in urban areas, I had completely forgotten how wonderful this blissful feeling was. In fact, it actually wasn’t until I moved to BC and experienced the awe-inspiring ancient rain forests of Vancouver Island that I rediscovered what I had not even known was missing from the very essence of my being — my innate connection with nature. At least once a week, I make a point of going for rejuvenating hikes in one our magical forests or along our breathtaking coastline.
Research into the importance of reconnecting with nature shows us that visiting green spaces can have a phenomenally calming effect on the human spirit, whether it be camping, hiking or evening walking through your local park. Breathing in fresh air and escaping from the hectic pace and clutter that permeates our lives can have profound health benefits on our mind, body and spirit, reducing stress and replacing it with a sense of inner peace and tranquility.
Nature quite simply has a way of making all of that chaotic energy melt away when we begin to embrace, reconnect and appreciate the peaceful and healing qualities to be found there.
With this concept in mind, many programs focusing on the importance of both protecting our remaining and endangered natural habitats and creating green spaces within our cities are currently being developed and are available for children and parents to take part in. These programs teach under the premise that there is a significant connection in the psychology of children’s development and nature’s future. Studies have shown that bringing groups of inner city children with behaviourial issues on recreational and educational field trips in nature can drastically improve their behaviour.
In order for this experience to having lasting effects; however, they would have to make a point of visiting green spaces more often. Thus, the importance of nature playing a part in a healthier psyche is clear. As with meditation, it is a place where inner peace can potentially be found — a place of self-reflection, tranquility, rejuvenation and connection.
In this stressful world of growing urban demands and the consequent ‘disconnect’, recognizing the value in learning to appreciate and cultivate our reverence for nature, and the delicate balance created by all of it’s creatures, including ourselves, is crucial. Not to mention the tremendous societal benefits of having a healthier population in mind, body and spirit will have on the economy by reducing the increasing strain that burdens our current health care system. But that’s a whole other article in itself.
By simply being aware of the enormous health benefits of our seemingly dormant yet innate connection with nature, and by becoming proactive in living consciously within it with the choices we make, we are embracing one of our greatest assets. This matters, not only for the longevity preservation of our species, but also for our own personal self-discovery
If we forget — or continue to deny our origins — how are we able to discover who we truly are in order to live in the authentic happiness we all seek within this beautiful and wondrous world we call home?
And so I invite all of you to decompress, release the stress and find the bliss in Mother Nature!
Happy soul searching!
“Deer in the mist 1” James Jordan @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. All Rights Reserved.
“In the morning, the dew…” Chris Holt Photos