It’s only been a week since Labor Day weekend, which symbolically marks the end of summer. Kids going back to school. Adults settling back into a “stricter” routine of work. The season changing to colder nights and shorter days. It seems to me that as our outer world, our environment, prepares for longer, colder nights -- a time for nature and humans to go into hibernation mode -- our inner world of thought ramps up. Our to-do lists grow as we begin to prepare for the upcoming holidays. The children have so much more on their plates with schoolwork, activities, and homework. Leaving the mindset of slow, lazy summer, adults ramp up their work-related activities as companies seek to show better numbers before the end of the year, which seems to approach more quickly with each passing year. Our lives’ pace seems to quicken even as nature, around us, slows down.
I’m sitting here on a beautiful, sunny San Diego Sunday morning (say that 10 times fast!) reflecting on what I’ve been doing and feeling these past few months of summer. I meant to go on a short, meditative nature walk this morning but decided to sleep in for an hour instead. Our weather has turned, yet again, and at 9am, it’s already too warm to do an extensive hike. Just as well . . . the mere thought of getting out, recording video for Earth Connect, and maybe doing a Facebook live whilst attempting to decompress has me already anxious. Or, maybe I made the coffee too strong this morning, and that’s why my heartbeat is faster than usual. No… It’s because THERE’S JUST SO MUCH TO DO!! ACK!
Okay. Breathe … inhale, slow exhale . . . sigh . . .
Why am I writing this? It seems counterproductive with what we’re trying to achieve with Earth Connect -- to help people connect with nature, others and themselves, and in so doing, become less stressed, anxious, and heal from trauma. Yet, we (the founders) are experiencing the same things everyone else is. We’re ramping up, coming out of the vibe of summer slowness and family fun. We have so much we want to bring to our community. And, frankly, it’s scary. We’ve never done this before. We don’t know that we have the support we’ll need or whether our efforts will be well received. Basically, we’re putting in the time trusting that what we’re doing will help the world and humanity.
Meanwhile, at least for me, I’ve taken on a part-time job in retail in order to put healthy food on the table (and ice cream. There must always be ice cream). It was actually thinking about my new job this morning that got me on this train of thought. You see, I find my energy has been focused, and used up, on a job that was only meant to give my time structure and allow me to buy ice cream. The job is incredibly fast-paced and requires accuracy and dealing with hundreds of people, most of whom are in a rush trying to get this thing checked off their to-do list. Or, they’re in there for some retail therapy (‘cuz how many shirts does a person really need?), finding quiet time in their own minds while they browse through the aisles of clothing and shoes. Seldom does someone come through who doesn’t seem anxious or in a rush. I’ve also noticed that some people who come to my register will form a quick connection and linger, only leaving because the next person in line is getting antsy. It becomes its own strange, little community within that store.
In journaling about this experience this morning, I realized that my energy is sucked up in the job, leaving me little left to work on my purpose, on Earth Connect. Then I realized, this must be what most people feel on a day-to-day basis -- high anxiety, high stress, no energy, and increasing sense of detachment and apathy because the community and connection are so surface. All this combined with ever-increasing list of things to be done for Earth Connect, the job, my home, and my Self, creates a mental tornado where everything is blowing around wrecking havoc with my mind, emotions and body. Now, how the heck am I supposed to teach you how to chill when I’m internally freaking out myself?!
This is where I have to laugh. Because . . . duh. I know how to do this. I know how to breath in to my Self, ground my energy to the earth and receive, from nature and my community, what I need to settle within so that I can express that calm and love and compassion without.
Sitting in the comfort of my dining room chair, I notice my beautiful houseplants. How they turn toward the sunlight from the windows. I listen to the birdsong coming in from the opened screendoor. They break the silence in a joyful, welcoming way. It lifts my heart. I look out the window and see the tall pine trees reaching for the sky, grouped in support of one another. My heartbeat slows even as I take another sip of my coffee. The air coming in is warm already. This time, I feel gratitude to be living in such a beautiful place knowing that this, too, will pass. The air will become chilly soon enough when the cold season arrives. For now, I’ll enjoy what Nature gives me. Months from now, I’ll revel in the cool air and be grateful for that.
It’s not possible not to be in a natural setting. We are surrounded by Nature. We are part of the natural world. And, it gives us what we need for the moment. Connecting with it in any form, even from the comfort of our couch, slows us down, gives us the space to breath, recollect ourselves and feel the expansiveness within to find the clarity and release the anxiety. With that calmer, open feeling, I’ll end this blog post so I can go sit outside and take a short nature walk to ground and re-energize. This is something all us founders decided we needed to do this weekend. And, we’ll soon be teaching you how to do it for yourself in a new, guided nature walk.
Thanks for reading and being “witness” to my crazy process and this part of my journey with Earth Connect. And, thank you for being a part of my community. I am grateful for your presence. Namaste. ~ Frances