Thursday, October 23, 2014

Awe, Refreshment & Shinrin-Yoka

It’s becoming essential that we learn how to relate sanely with difficult times. The earth seems to be beseeching us to connect with joy and discover our innermost essence. This is the best way that we can benefit others. - Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
Our goal should be to...get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted...never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.Abraham Joshua Heschel
I also remember coming upon a clearing in the woods so densely overgrown that it felt depressing, for nothing seemed capable of getting through. Something in my own makeup resembled this and made me return there several times. But it was finally in winter, without its leaves, that this same clearing undressed itself as a magnificent bed of light that happened to be on the crest of a beautiful hill. It humbled me to realize that winter can be freeing, too, and that I am often overgrown with memories and reasons and twigs of mind that block me from the light. - Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
Slowing down and truly listening to the wind, birdsong, frogs croaking, running water, the sound of our own footsteps, alder leaves susurrating, fir needles whooshing like ocean waves - really hearing whatever is around us - is a gift. The sense of hearing is a gift.
Seeing the wonder of a leaf drifting on the wind, two trees growing together - entwined like passionate lovers - berries sprouting from a decaying log, moss cloaking trunks of maple and roots of upturned cedar, alders dancing, trailing fingers in a pond, ducks diving in duckweed, clouds passing overhead, ripples on water - is a gift. Seeing is a gift.
Caressed by a breeze, temperature changes, heart lifting, pulse rising in the freedom of open spaces, muscles working up and down trails, a slippery boardwalk or the crunch of stone and bark underfoot, smoothness of grass, ripple of roots, soft springiness of moss - is a gift. Feeling is a gift.
The scent of turning leaves, a salty breeze, pungence of skunk cabbage, decaying mushrooms, rain-washed trails, sap-filled pines - is a gift. The sense of smell is a gift.
The Stroll for Well-Being is teaching me that the Japanese healing intervention of Shinrin-yoka, or "walking in the forests to promote health" is effective. Nature's variety of shape, color, scent, function and form remind me that everything, at every stage of life, has its own particular beauty. We are not made to look - or be - the same as others. Each one of us has unique purpose and gifts, revealed as our lives evolve. What might be your gift, in this time and place?
The Bloedel house, viewed from the bluff

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

So, so much joy here. Thank you.

Kay said...

My speech therapist told me the other day to take a walk around a lake or something. lol But yes, getting out in nature away from power lines and all the 'stuff' we surround ourselves with is very healing. : )

Karen Gerstenberger said...

It's a bit surprising, as I've always considered myself a "beach girl" far more than a "woods woman," but it is truly opening my senses and refreshing me.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Wow….so much beauty to take in; I love it!!!
I hope you are doing well my friend.
XOXO