Last week I joined a small group of Reiki practitioners in exploring how we can get to know Nature in deeper ways – “to learn, grow, heal and transform and share our best with each other.”
One of the exercises we did was to spend time with and get to know in a deeper way an element in nature. I chose a bag of soil on the table. I had no idea what I would learn but I opened myself to whatever came forward. I was surprised by what I learned in that short time.
When I opened the bag of soil, I was immediately struck by its sterility – it had no smell, very little texture or complexity, and no visible life forms in it. Later, my suspicion was confirmed that this ‘soil’ came from a bag bought in a store.
But as Nature often does, when we pay attention, She used this bag of lifeless soil to illustrate an important lesson for me. I noted how depleted the soil in the bag felt (it looked nice and dark, felt loose and would be easy to spread) but I didn’t get the sense that it had much nutritional value. It seemed to be lacking in some basic components that make up healthy soil. I had the urge to scatter this bag of soil outside to restore it to its natural balance and purpose (in the end I did empty it into a nearby houseplant). To free it from its plastic enclosure and return it to its Mother Earth. To the air, water and matter (organic and inorganic) that constitutes its wholeness.
I reflected on how often we separate ourselves from our environment – we break up the whole and only keep the parts we view as useful. Ironically, by sterilizing and manipulating our environment in this way we disrupt the delicate balance of Nature, thereby also affecting our own natural balance. Just one example: our intensive agricultural practices have depleted minerals in the soil to the degree that food is often deemed not as nutritious as it used to be. So without supplementation, our bodies over time risk disease as a result of nutritional deficiencies.
It could be easy to throw our hands up in despair, not knowing where to start or what to do. It can be tempting to leave the problems and challenges for others to solve or declare impossible.
I think that each of us is perfectly positioned to act, after all what happens to Nature also happens to us. We are locked in a interconnected cycle of life and death and life…. We are Nature.
This week I invite you to begin a new practice of awareness about your relationship with Nature. A good place to start is to become more mindful of how we live. Pay closer attention to how and what resources we take from the earth – appreciate its complexity and its finiteness.
Through one little bag of soil, Nature asked me to become more mindful about and for Her. I am starting by opening myself to a deeper awareness of my environment, paying special attention to my footprints in it. Perhaps each of you also will broaden your understanding and relationship with Nature, in whatever ways have meaning for you.
Exercise: Mindful Observation (from Pocketmindfulness.com)
This exercise is simple but incredibly powerful. It is designed to connect us with the beauty of the natural environment, which is easily missed when we’re rushing around…
Pick a natural organism within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, the clouds or the moon. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. But really notice it. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Visually explore every aspect of this glorious organism of the natural world. Allow yourself to be consumed by its presence and possibilities. Allow your spirit to connect with its role and purpose in the world. Allow yourself just to notice and ‘be’.
Open your senses, Nature is calling…
Submitted by Lucy Martin