Is Nature Somewhere Else?

December 6, 2012 | By | 5 Replies More

Laura Grace Weldon, Guest Writer
Waking Times

We tend to think of nature as separate. We imagine spending time “out there” hiking in some remote wilderness, drinking from mountain streams and observing creatures that have never faced highway traffic. There, in a place far from our busy lives, we might find peace, tranquility and some kind of deep connection to what is real.

If. We. Just. Found. Time. To. Get. There.

That’s part of the problem. Because we’re already there. We are nature, right down to the life processes of every cell. And what’s around us even in the smallest city apartment? Nature.

Nature is the food we eat, air we breathe, water we drink. It’s seedlings pushing up between cracks in the cement (and the cement itself, depending how you define it), birds lighting on utility poles, pollen making us sneeze, storm clouds swelling with rain. It’s a living planet in a universe of natural laws that continue to be revealed to the amazement of scientists like Harvard’s Dr. Randall and the awe of cosmologists like Dr. Swimme in The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos: Humanity and the New Story.

When we define nature as separate from us it’s easier to push it aside as something apart from our very life force.  This disconnect isn’t healthy for us or the planet.

In part it simply has to do with SEEING. I learned this when I helped conduct a psychology study in college.  We went to urban office buildings and asked people two questions. First, we asked each person to describe his or her mood. Second, we asked them to describe the current appearance of the sky. These people were in their offices or hallways when we talked to them and the windows in most buildings were shuttered with horizontal blinds ubiquitous during that decade, so the only way they could have described the sky is if they had paid attention on their way to work or during a break. Here’s the interesting part. The people who identified themselves as pessimistic, angry, depressed or in other negative terms were also the ones unable to describe the sky’s appearance. You guessed it. The happiest and most optimistic people either correctly described the sky or came very close.

That study was never published, but research these days now indicates that pausing to experience nature in our daily lives is powerfully positive. Just a few minutes of regular exposure has been shown to improve our emotional and physical health. It leads us to be more generous, to enhance relationships and value community. The effect of nature, even looking out a window at nearby trees, seems to lead us, as one researcher noted, to be “our best selves.”

So wherever we are, let’s pay attention. Let’s remind ourselves to look at the sky every day, not just for a moment but long enough to savor it (without declaring the weather good or bad). Let’s put our bodies into the experience by taking regular strolls and touching the bark of a tree, a flower’s soft petal, the texture of a rock. Let’s watch the habits of birds, squirrels, spiders and other creatures making their lives amongst ours. Let’s pick one tree near our homes and notice it as the seasons pass, as we would a quiet friend sharing the same neighborhood. It takes only a shift of awareness, but it can make a world of difference.

Nature is right here, moment to moment, in each breath we take. It connects us to what’s real and helps us be the people our planet needs right now.

About the Author

Laura Grace Weldon is a non-violence educator and marginally useful farm wench who lives with her family on Bit of Earth Farm. She’s the author of Free Range Learning. She edits books, contributes to a Wired site, and blogs about conscious living. Laura invites people to contribute their stories to her next book, Subversive Cooking. Please visit her excellent blog at www.lauragraceweldon.com.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

~~ Help Waking Times to raise the vibration by sharing this article with the buttons below…

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: Contributors, Culture, Earth, Ideas, Inspiration, Laura Grace Weldon, Meditation, Mind, Self, Transformation

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. AGK says:

    Great little article. That conscious intention to connect to our environment is one of the most powerful and transformative things. It is literally changing the way we see the world, the actual, physical world. Altering the hierarchy that our brains use to determine what information is more important and then building on those new pathways can show us the world as we’ve never seen it before, though it was always right there in front of us.

  2. Chrissie says:

    Wonderful article. The only problem is, that every time I look at the sky (yes, eery time these days) all I can see is chemtrails, doing their damnedsest to keep us separate.

  3. Anonymous says:

    But when you say “just a few minutes”, we’re again separated. This time, and the time for paying attention to Nature. Pay attention all-ways.

  4. William Burke says:

    I once couldn’t get anyone on downtown streets to look up a low-flying Fuji Blimp overhead, the Lycoming Engines whining their loud cry.

    A friend of mine once asked their friend one morning, “did you watch the meteor shower the night before. The repley: “WAS IT ON TV?”

    WAS. IT. ON. TV.(?)

    We have become a sky-avoiding race. Might as well be hogs in a filthy pen. At least pigs EAT the garbage, not leaving it to litter the ground.

  5. loveoption9 says:

    Thanks, I appreciate the sentiment. Highly recommend “The Green Beautiful” a lovely French take on “seeing” nature.
    I call it “mother from another planet” free on youtube.

Leave a Reply

Must Watch Videos

3 Videos That Will Shift Your Perspective, Showing Just How Small We Really Are in the Universe

3 Videos That Will Shift Your Perspective, Showing Just How Small We Really Are in the Universe













Buck Rogers, Staff Writer
Waking Times

Keeping a sense of perspective in these crazy times is imperative, and as astronomy pushes the envelope, seeking an ever greater understanding of our place in the cosmos, we are sometimes rewarded with fascinating new visual interpretations of our universe that have the … More

September 6, 2014 | By | Reply More
The Transhumanism Trap: Why Biohacking Chains Consciousness to the Material World

The Transhumanism Trap: Why Biohacking Chains Consciousness to the Material World













Dara Percival, Guest
Waking Times

Can technology help humanity realise its full potential? Transhumanists see the merging of man and machine as a natural “next step” in human evolution, but where does consciousness fall in the equation? Instead of bringing freedom, merging ourselves with technology could chain consciousness to More

September 1, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Do You Really Want to Eat Hot Dogs After Knowing This?

Do You Really Want to Eat Hot Dogs After Knowing This?













Dr. Mercola
Waking Times

The hot dog is one of America’s most popular foods, with the average person consuming 50 of them per year. Hot dogs are one of the most nutritionally bankrupt foods.

Yet for decades, they’ve been given a free pass, granted one pardon after another thanks to … More

September 1, 2014 | By | Reply More
This Discovery Makes Bee Die-Off Problem That Much Worse

This Discovery Makes Bee Die-Off Problem That Much Worse













Heather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

Many arrows point to the bee decline. A Harvard professorrecently warned that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is only the beginning for us. The ripple effect from new classes of pesticides is just getting started.

But there’s more…

The problems they face can be compared … More

August 28, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More
People are Proving That ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease is Reversible  – No Need to Waste Ice Water

People are Proving That ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease is Reversible – No Need to Waste Ice Water













Heather Callaghan, Contributor
Waking Times

I mentioned the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in a recent article highlighting the social guiding that came with all the “disease awareness” we’ve been involuntarily immersed in via the media in the last few weeks. ALS meaning Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as … More

August 26, 2014 | By | 10 Replies More

Activism Works

Sweden Recycling 99 Percent Of Garbage, Edging Closer To Zero-Waste

Sweden Recycling 99 Percent Of Garbage, Edging Closer To Zero-Waste













April McCarthy, Prevent Disease
Waking Times

There’s a revolution happening in Sweden right now. Dubbed the “recycling revolution,” the Scandinavian country now recycles 99 percent of their garbage, edging closer to a zero-waste lifestyle, nationwide.

Wouldn’t it be great if no household waste was wasted? If each and every item … More

September 4, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More
Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients

Food as Medicine: How One Hospital Is Using Organic Produce to Help Heal Patients













Coach Mark Smallwood, EcoWatch
Waking Times

In 431 B.C. Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”

More than 2500 years later, we are inundated with advertisements boasting the latest, greatest cure-all super drug. From a young age, we learn that it doesn’t matter how or … More

August 23, 2014 | By | 3 Replies More
As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry

As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry













, EcoWatch
Waking Times

We’ve got this.

Thanks to the courageous and indefatigable efforts of pipeline fighters everywhere, the tide has finally turned on Keystone XL. As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights … More

August 4, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More
Seizing Control of Our Destinies

Seizing Control of Our Destinies













Julian Rose, Contributor
Waking Times

In 1381, at a time of great repression for the British agricultural work force, an extraordinary people’s revolutionary named Wat Tyler sprang to his feet and announced, “England should be a nation of self governing communities,” to which he added, “ No lord shall exercise … More

July 28, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More
Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project

Triumph For Citizens in Florida As Hughes Oil Company Drops Fracking Project













Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog
Waking Times

On Friday morning, Dan A. Hughes Oil Company and the Collier Resources Company agreed to terminate their lease agreement, with the exception of the Collier Hogan 20-3H well, next to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida.

Hughes Oil dropped its plans to drill … More

July 14, 2014 | By | 1 Reply More