Would you walk into a room full of people and ignore them?
Not make eye contact?
Not introduce yourself?
Just pretend sentient beings are not occupying the same space as you?
My guess is no, you would not do that.
If you have social anxiety like me, it may be challenging and awkward, but you'd still acknowledge the presence of others. Yes in part because it would be rude and even moreuncomfortable to not say something.
But also because humans are wired to connect- and not just with other humans. With any ensouled being like the Earth herself.
Has a word ever punched you in the soul?
That’s truly the only way to describe what happened when a friend said this word: Hiraeth.
It wasn’t the word itself, but when they defined it, it was as if I'd always known what it meant but forgot.
Hiraeth is a Cymraeg (Welsh) word that, like so many words, doesn’t directly translate into English.
My friend described it as a longing for a home your soul has never known.
And according to Samantha Kielar of Penn State University, it translates to something like...
I’ve had a lot of conversations with folks about their childhood relationship with nature.
So many, myself included, sought safety outside from a chaotic home life. For some, it was physically safer there, out of arm's reach from abusive family members.
For others, nature was a place where they couldn’t be micromanaged, criticized, or verbally abused.
Regardless if you were running away from something or towards it, as children we knew the secrets.
As children, we experience nature as a place we belong to and a place that belongs to us. Whether as a place of wonder and joy, or as sanctuary from a chaotic and unsafe home life, nature is where we can wander the outside world as we explore the nuances of our internal world.
It’s a place where animals trust us and we can’t imagine not trusting ourselves. A place where a rock is a throne and flowers a crown. It’s a place where we wordlessly process our big feelings. A place where we are seen, held, and loved
Nature is where we learn peace —alive in our senses, bubbling with curiosity and imagination.
But somewhere along the way to adolescence, there’s a moment that creates a tiny crack in this relationship which continues to spread over time.
A couple weeks back, I wrote about a big catalytic event. The kind that changes your life forever. They’re super easy to spot in the rear view mirror, but often for me, hard to pinpoint in the moment.
But not this time.
I am, as of July 16, 2020, smack in the middle of a doozie.
And I know it.
I routinely remind my daughter, “You need to keep trying foods, even if you’ve tried them before, because your taste buds change.”
Yes, of course, some tastes may never change. Personally, I’ve always loved strawberries and can’t imagine NOT loving them to my dying day. But my palette has expanded and I pray my daughter’s will too, so we don’t end up with mac-n-cheese as her wedding dinner.
Here’s the thing… it's not just your taste buds that change. Your play buds change too.
I was recently interviewed for a podcast by a delightful woman (when it’s live I’ll be sure to post it). She began with one question she asks all of her guests, “Can you share a catalytic event in your life?”
While there have been oodles of “KAPOW!” events, one that was the most impactful – one that literally changed the trajectory of my life and how I share my gifts in the world – was at a week-long Art of Mentoring workshop back in 2003.
After a day of sitting inside, talking about the outside, the facilitators sent us off for a sit spot: simply sitting in nature and paying attention to the world around us.
I walked out of the building, headed in the opposite direction as everyone else, and ...
While still other benefits of a consistent nature practice science has named, but I’ve not yet tested them on myself, include a boosted immune system, increased pain threshold, and faster healing.
But one key feature that's caught me off guard is a feeling of time being elastic. My perception often morphing like a slow motion scene in a Rom-Com when two lovers are reuniting after a series of misunderstandings.
When people would just drop and lay on the ground wherever they were?
It was weird. But I'm bringing it back. This time, as a mental health tool.
We’ve got a global pandemic, civil unrest to finally get justice for people of color, economic upheaval, and murder hornets. Sandwich these with not being able to go anywhere and iLearning, and it’s created absolute mayhem.
With stress skyrocketing we could all use some brand new tools for calming the eff down.
I’ve been practicing this new-old tool a few times a week and it’s made all the difference.
Before you even read this, let me just say…
I love you.
If you’ve done some or all of the things that I'm about to mention, I am not judging you! I’ve done these things myself.
A delightful side effect of the Stay at Home
Orders around the country has been people’s desire to reconnect with nature.
Mainly gardening- it’s super hot right now.
The HUGE downside?
Not all plants are created equal, and how are you supposed to know which are the good ones and bad ones!?
Well, I’m going to tell you.
When the constant pursuit to do more leads to overwhelm and anxiety, it’s easy to find yourself feeling disconnected, exhausted, and missing the juiciest parts of life. For over 17 years, Lynn has been guiding people to reconnect with nature and ceremony, allowing them to reclaim a sense of purpose and embrace peace.