Monday, December 06, 2010

spiritual hillbilly life lesson: nature is good for the soul

John Burroughs said it best when he said, "I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."

If I close my eyes I am immediately transported to a particular tree from my childhood. It sat diagonally across from my home, just partway up a hill. It wasn't as big, or as majestic as many of the others. It wasn't a birch, beech, oak or a sycamore. No, it was just a pine tree.

But not just any pine tree. This particular one was made for me. At least in my mind it was. I would climb this tree often and perch myself onto a limb. It was a small limb that held a young gal, in more ways than one.

The bark felt rough as I breathed in the scent of pine needles and mountain air. All around me I see green. The green of the grass surrounding my modest home. The green of the trees that surround me in every direction that I look, only a small portion of the blue sky reveals itself to me.

The time that I spent perched in this tree soothed my soul in ways I'm only now discovering. It was this tree, these hills and my family's love of nature that taught me to respect, love, and bow often to the earth.

Nature provided us with a lot. Food, fun, memories, and more. If there was a hill that got enough sunlight there was a garden growing. In the summertime my Daddy cut vines in trees and we swung from them. In the fall the leaves would gather in the crevices of the hills and we slid down the mountain. In the wintertime we made sleds and slid down the mountains. If was a simple time and a simple place. Instead of buying fun, we created fun. To this day I'm sure it's why I love the gift of experience so much.

It is this reverence for the earth (among other things) that inspired me to formally begin studying Ayurveda. Dr. Robert Svoboda, the first Westerner to graduate from an Ayurveda college (and be licensed to practice Ayurveda in India) said that "if Ayurveda were a religion, nature would be its goddess."

At my first Ayurveda event with the folks of The Chopra Center, David Simon said that all of the beauty, magnificence, and wisdom that exists in nature exists in each of us. These words stuck to me like glue. I've written and spoke those words many times since hearing them. I love it.

On a good day I know those words to be true. Even when chaos swirls around me I feel clear and balanced. I feel wise and magnificent even in the face of a struggle. On a bad day when I'm needing a little reassurance, I only need to get outside. Take a walk, feel my feet on the earth, gaze up at the sky, look at a tree, take a deep breath and know it to be true. When I'm feeling uninspired, anxious, or angry the first places I go to are outside or my yoga mat.

Yes, I go to nature to be comforted. To be soothed and healed. To have my senses, my mind, and my heart put in order. I have my family to thank for instilling this in me.

**photo of my Grammaw Zola. The one who taught me how to break green beans, shuck corn, and set a wonderful example of what it means to be a strong woman.


Amael said...

I love the farm, people who lives outside of the big cities, they live in deep connection with mother earth, and that´s simple and easy spirituality.

Sharon Tessandori said...

Simple and easy spirituality. Love it.