“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.” Job 12:7-8
Recently, I noticed a trend in my life. The more in tune I am with myself, the more I crave nature. I seek out the solitude, the mental restoration, or the simplicity of listening to the water as the river washes over my toes. There is so much I learn from being immersed in the trees, completely unplugged from the rest of the world. This disconnection creates a connection to the living world that provides me with clarity, and a feeling of fulfillment. Everything in nature is still in its original form. It hasn’t been modified or industrialized for profit. It is still in the exact state that God created it in, and that state is exactly why I believe I am drawn to find myself in the wilderness. It is the closest I can get to God in the physical realm while still here on Earth.
When I am floating on a lake, or picking up seashells on the beach, there is no urgency. There is no pressure to maintain a schedule, or a to-do list. I close my eyes, listen to the waves, breath in the air, and forget about my 9 to 5. We live in a world that is technology driven, riddled with budgets, stress, and appointments. Our heads are swimming with exhaustion from overbooking ourselves and trying to keep up. We are in a constant cycle of failed diets, neglected relationships, declining health, and fast food. But, when you step out in to the woods, it all just… stops.
Social media is an avid part of our lives. It keeps us in touch with those who are far away, but it can damage the relationships that are close to us. We check our phones first thing in the morning and right before we go to bed. It causes us to compare our lives and gives us a sense of “being left behind”. We see our friends succeeding in various ways, and it makes us feel like we are not doing enough. However, when we are already mentally drained, depressed, and anxiety laden, seeking a promotion at work is never going to make that better. If we can’t handle what is already on our plates, adding more is never the answer.
Nature has healing qualities and lessons our subconscious is pushing us to learn. Just observing the birds or feeling the sun on our skin creates a feeling of contentment. It is in this moment that we realize, less is more. There is no greed among the trees. Nature never over indulges, but only takes what it needs. It is uninfluenced by corporate scandals, 6 lane highways, and cell phones. Mother nature is also extremely patient, and she always gets everything completed.
For example, consider the river. The way it goes with the flow, the way it goes around obstacles, the way it doesn’t try to fight its way back upstream, and it does all of this at peace. Even when the water is rough and looks like it is in turmoil, there is always calmer waters ahead. It doesn’t fight the rapids, but allows itself to be filtered and cleansed through the process.
Biblically speaking, Job was afflicted with every hardship known to man, but he knew about the healing qualities of nature. He understood the importance of listening and realigning his spirit, outside. I encourage everyone to seek solitude near a waterfall, or under the stars. It is so important to get back to the basics and take care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. True peace will not come when these are out of balance. We don’t need things to make us happy, we need connection.