The last few days have been gorgeous and I have spent most of my time in my yard or jaunting about through the countryside in awe. As a Druid I connect with the God/Goddess through nature. I see Divinity in the trees, rivers, rocks and life that walks upon this planet…I see the Divine in the planet itself. This does not mean I see God as limited to this planet, but more that I see the planet as an aspect of God/Goddess. When I am feeling overwhelmed it is the sanctuary of Nature I seek, for there lies my cathedral…my temple of worship. It is also the place I have chosen to make my deepest commitments…that of marriage, both to my husband and the land. It is where I go when I need to clear my mind and find my center and where I celebrate with friends and family.
I often find myself writing about the need of a Spiritual practice in ones life. To me Spirituality is not the same as Religion…some people get to Spirituality through Religion, but it is not the only ride. Religion comes in many forms, but they are all have a fundamental set of rules and beliefs which are agreed upon by the followers of the religion. These beliefs are often based on the cause and purpose of life and death and how one is suppose to behave in order to reach the best outcome. Spirituality is an individual approach it is loose flowing and allows one to weave together a tapestry that may very well contain the thoughts and practices of various religions. One can be Spiritual without sharing the beliefs of others, or even having a belief in a higher power. Spirituality is about reaching our for connection, allowing ourselves to feel like part of something greater instead of being a mini island inside of a gigantic sea….withstanding all of the hardships and blessings of life alone. Over the last 20-30 years our culture has become one more and more based on the mini island. Everyone is on their own…families live in large houses with few children, where generations ago that same house may have held multiple generations. Our Grange halls and Communities centers have stood empty with the only visitors being the elderly who remember community and its importance. Well times are changing again and people are starting to feel the need for community and tribe, they are starting to gather and share with one another and they are starting to search for something more….something beyond themselves, a place to connect. May I suggest Nature…
You do not have to put away any current Religious beliefs to embrace Nature…nor do you have to love hiking, biking and water sports. You can simply step outside your door, walk into your yard, the park or the local beach and enjoy. It is amazing how much peace we humans can get from sitting in the stillness of Nature.
Lets start with 20 minutes each day sitting in Nature. During my Druid training we would do this first thing in the morning as the sun was rising. We would gather together and sit facing East as the morning sun rose about the horizon. Sitting quietly, listening to the birds and insects as the new morning sun touches your face is a fantastic feeling…and it is a form of meditation! Most people think Meditation is about having an empty mind, but in reality it is not that your mind is empty, but that you do not hold onto thoughts. So when you suddenly find yourself thinking about the work you need to do, or the conflict you are facing…release it and go back to listening to the birds. It takes practice, but remember no one is grading you…Spirituality is a personal practice and there is no wrong way to do it. I am honestly not a morning person & have to admit, I seldom do this exercise with the rising sun. But I have instead taken to drinking my morning coffee outside without my phone, ipad or laptop….just me and the elements. I listen to the birds, I admire the trees and I connect the Earth beneath my feet. I am not there every morning, sometimes I find my time in the afternoon, or at dusk which is my favorite and sometimes I don’t find the time at all. On those days I find myself regretting not taking the time. This year I have decided to up the anty…I have dedicate myself to more time in Nature. Often when I travel for work my husband will escort me and we will head out to dinner after. This summer I am all about picnics. I told him that I want to spend more time picnicing near rivers and streams and less time in restaurants. I have also decided to start working the outdoors into my yoga routine. Like all things you will have times when you feel totally connected and charged up by your spiritual practice and then you will have the lows on the journey that leave you wondering what happened to your practice. But remember Nature is just out your front door…go sit on a rock, go dangle your toes in a pond, go stroll through the city park & do it with your eyes wide open. Actually observe your surrounding, don’t just walk through it on your way to something else. Don’t sit on the park bench with your nose in your phone…breathe deep and connect to the world around you. It will feed your soul!