“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in.”
—George Washington Carver
We are officially one month into the spring season! In many places, it is warming up, and getting outdoors after a cold winter feels great! Tomorrow is Earth Day, and what better way to honor our precious planet than to pay Mother Nature a visit? If today or tomorrow does not work, look at your schedule and put this special one-on-one time between you and nature on your calendar!
Here’s a great way to begin: Find a place outside where you are not likely to be disturbed or that is at least somewhat private. Bring a folding chair or a blanket and sit under or near a tree. Take a seat and align your head, neck, and back. Soften your face and forehead, and feel the earth beneath you. Feel this magnificent planet supporting you, and feel your whole being rooted with it . . . connected with her.
Now, take a few deep breaths and feel the fresh air opening your lungs and the clean oxygen circulating through your bloodstream, throughout your arms and legs—from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.
Take a gentle look around you. Really look with Focus at the elements of nature: the sky, the clouds, the sun, the grass or soil, the trees, the birds, the flowers. Feel the wind. Notice and appreciate the beauty of the natural world, and experience the gift of being alive. Do this for a few minutes. When you are ready, close your eyes.
Now, just listen to the sounds of nature. If you hear people or cars, the birds singing or water rushing by in a creek, take them in and then let those sounds pass by the way you would a thought in your mind during meditation. Once you have taken them in, you can let them go by simply returning your focus to the natural world. Feel the air on your body, and breath in the fresh smells around you. Know that you are as important to this planet as the planet is to you.
Allow Mother Nature to speak to you in her whispers, calls, and shouts. Radhanath Swami said, “Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer.” So, with an open and receptive attitude, with no expectations or judgments, really tune in to the messages she wishes to share with you.
Sit this way for 5 minutes or so. (Set a gentle alarm if necessary.) When your time is up, open your eyes and feel the gratitude in your whole being for the beauty all around you. Thank Mother Nature for her great gift and your deep connectedness with her as you silently repeat your Sacred Mantra and go on with your day..
If our beautiful mother had a message for you, I would love for you to share below.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
With its changing temperatures and turning leaves, autumn personifies the impermanence of everything in the natural world. Of the four seasons, this one is a good reminder for me that nothing “out there” remains the same for very long. We can see before our eyes the days growing shorter, the animals squirreling away food for the winter, and the world so beautifully making preparations to go within. What a special time this is, as well as the perfect time for us to learn deep life lessons from nature and begin to make our own preparations for the days ahead.
Autumn signifies an excellent time for letting go of what no longer serves us. Look at deciduous trees, for example. They are beginning to turn their attention inward, and the leaves that worked so hard to sustain them all spring and summer long make their magnificent exit in a wonderful burst of color. The leaves no longer benefit the tree, and so the tree freely releases them. A tree is truly an incredible work of art for us human beings.
With this image of nature in mind, tonight when you go to bed, think of yourself as an autumn tree and the events of your day as your leaves. Take a moment to notice the beautiful colors, both bright and dark, and then allow each “leaf” to drop away one by one as you prepare for night’s sleep. In my book The Practice, I teach the process of letting go—“leaving the day in the day”—before turning in for a peaceful night. The tree, our beautiful friend, is a profound way to picture this nightly reflection activity.
Remember, the tree sheds all its leaves—not just the ones it doesn’t want. The tree does not judge the leaves as good or bad; each one has provided the tree with its necessary nourishment, allowing it to thrive in its existence. The same is absolutely true for your experiences. We really have no idea what a tree is actually “thinking” as it gives way to a new state of being. We can only imagine. However, this analogy gives us courage and hope that we too can let go, knowing that this is the natural order of our lives.
I have found that a beautiful way to end the Letting Go nightly reflection is by repeating an affirmation such as the one I include in my book and on my website. You can try this one or write one of your own:
“This day is now over. I choose to live in the present moment. I am thankful for having been given this day and the blessing that it has held. I take comfort in now releasing any challenges or successes I experienced today, and I head into a restful sleep with the peace and knowledge that tomorrow is a new day. I am always working toward the person I wish to be.”
What preparations are you making this autumn? Like the tree sheds its leaves, what are you ready to let go of that no longer serves you in your life?