Deepening our Relationship with NatureBy Andrea on February 16, 2010 — Leave a comment
Part 1: Gardens as Mirrors
For a long time, I speculated about whether our gardens reveal our body-souls. While this premise may not apply if we are renting property or if a landscaper has designed our backyard, in my own garden, I’ve been increasingly aware of the correlation between my energy field and the garden.
Recently I explored this idea with an avid gardener, a neighbor-friend of my parents on Vancouver Island. I offered to intuitively ‘read’ her garden the way a fortune teller reads palms. Open-minded and curious, Jenny agreed.
After three delightful hours of touring her beautiful grounds, with Jenny saying very little as I spoke about each area and what it represented in her life, we both agreed that my premise was accurate. The choices she made over the years in planning the garden’s design, choosing plants and trees, and constructing structural elements mirrored her life — both past and present. I found that I could read Jenny’s life-story through by referencing her garden with astonishing accuracy.
Later, when I returned to consider my own backyard from this perspective, the garden’s reflection was a jolt! Seven summers old, the beds were no longer lush and beautiful; they had become very crowded and chaotic. Clearly, I had too much going on in my life. Realising I needed to simplify and make space, I began the pruning process. Nature’s generosity is meant to be shared, I thought, as I gave away carloads of perennials to my friends.
Part II: Adjusting our Rhythms
Communing with Nature requires a substantial adjustment in rhythm for our fast-paced lifestyles are very different than Nature’s. While we may assume Nature moves at a snail’s pace, in reality, Her aliveness is characterised by a vast range of constantly changing rhythms. The complex rhythmic vitality of any natural setting has a soothing, balancing effect on our bodies. We actually crave rhythmic complexity, not just soporific new-age lullabies.
It does not take long to feel the effects of Nature’s rhythms on our body-souls. A brief walk in a park is often enough to help us shift gears. I can feel the effects of an afternoon hike in the woods for many days. We all enjoy resting in a garden in the late afternoon.
Once we have shifted out of our familiar tempo, and start to become aware of the pulsations of Nature, we are ready to begin a conversation…
Part III: Conversing with Nature
Once I’ve shifted gears, I like to let my body guide me to a place that ‘calls’ me. I follow my feet, curious and open about where this instinctive impulse will lead me.
Once I’ve arrived in the setting that feels right, I look around for a quiet place to settle and I let my brain-chatter recede even further. Because I sense that there is something in this landscape that wants to speak to me, I prepare to listen, not just through my ears but through every part of my body-soul.
I take time to drink in the particular beauty of the setting, listening to the sounds, smelling the air, noticing the textures in the rocks and plants, sensing the tracks of creatures who live in this place. I focus on details, the turn of a leaf, the patterns in the water, the light dancing on a stone… Eventually, full of sensation, I become even more quiet, close my eyes and drop into my heart to hear Nature’s whispers. Listening this way, every cell in my body is alive and receptive to Nature.
When my body hums and my heart feels connected to the spirit of the land, I ask for a message.
While I may ask about something related to my life, I always try to be open to what the spirit of the land wants to say to and through me. If I have been very busy and am tired, I may need several days to rest and prepare for the deeper conversations with Nature.
Some of the most profound meditations have been about something I did not expect at all. In fact, the impetus for many new ventures has arisen during some of my deepest meditations up in Georgian Bay during summer vacations.