Do you ever pay attention to nature?
So many of us walk with our heads down, focussed on the pavement or our phone. The focus of almost every moment is getting to the next moment – to the next meeting, the next appointment, collecting the kids, dropping the kids off….its a never ending merry-go-round of deadlines, targets and pressure! We move blindly through our lives because it is all we know.
But what if there were a simple change you could make today? A change that would add a new and incredible dimension to your life? One that would cost you nothing and bring a sense of wonder and renewed focus into your life….interested?
Good! Because it’s important to look up and around and pay attention to more than just the next step you are required to take.
So what am I talking about here? What is this quick fix?
It’s nature. Now wait….don’t click away. Stay with me here while I explain what I mean.
We can learn so much from nature. There is such a deep and beautiful wisdom in it that we would be foolish to look down and ignore it once we know it’s there. We spend our entire lives striving to get from A to B. Expending effort and energy, wearing ourselves out and holding on to everything that hurts us like a badge of honour. There is another way and for that we need only look at nature.
Here are two examples to get you started….
Nature Lesson One – Birds.
Birds are everywhere! Pigeons seem to be at home in even the most urban of environment! And if you pay attention, you will see that there are hundreds of other types of bird flying around you as you move through your day. My particular favourite is the Robin but other common ones are Blue tits, Blackbirds, Sparrows….they are everywhere.
So what can you learn from birds? Purpose. Yep. Really. Birds are always doing something with purpose. Be it looking for food, gathering material to build a nest. They are busy and they get stuff done. They are cautious but joyful in their work. Singing and flying without a care it seems. But when the sun sets, they sleep. They rest. They pay constant attention to everything around them when they are awake, and they leave it all behind and rest when it is time to. A simple but purposeful life.
Nature Lesson Two – my personal favourite…
Ducks. Yes, I know that Ducks are technically a bird, but there is a specific point here that I can only make with Ducks, so bear with me ok?
Ducks are regarded to be pretty harmless, noisy and entertaining (to me anyway!). Swimming around all day, occasionally flying noisily across the landscape to another pond or river, and landing without a single bit of grace in their chosen watery destination.
And they are very argumentative! Watch a group of ducks on a pond and you will inevitably find that two of them start to bicker and fight. They square up to each other, full of anger and fury, flap and quack and make their displeasure known. And then it is over. They turn and swim away. But here’s the clever bit (and I must credit Eckhart Tolle for this particular observation) they swim away, flap their wings and release all of the tension. The moment is over and they are back to being calm again. It’s as if by flapping their wings, they release all of the anger and tension into the universe and move on. We could all use that kind of release and it is quite possible if you focus on the moment you are in.
Nature Lesson Three – Grass.
Now you will hopefully notice that I am trying to pick on things that are accessible to anyone, no matter how urban their environment is. Which is why my next suggestion is grass.
Yes…really! Grass. Grass is dull, its everywhere. We take it entirely for granted (unless you have ever laid a lawn with rolls of turf – then you tend to have a bit more respect for it!). But grass is also tremendously inspiring….think about it.
It’s get walked on, used as an animal toilet, strewn with litter and often crushed by anything and everything. And to make matters worse, every time it gets to a decent length, it gets cut back down to ground level. The sheer futility of that existence is mind-blowing – but here’s the clever bit….
Look at grass as determined. Understand that the grass does not allow itself to be beaten by any of the things it is subjected to. It simply keeps on growing, undeterred and with uniform enthusiasm. Through that filter, surely grass is something to admire for its tenacity?
Have I gone mad?
This article probably makes you think I have lost the plot entirely. I mean who writes about the character and determination of ducks and grass – but the simple answer is that today, I do. And no, I haven’t lost my marbles, eaten too much sugar etc. I simply believe that as a community we have lost the appreciation of nature that we so badly need in order to feel connected to something so much bigger than ourselves.
We become lost in the importance of the tiniest details of our lives, often swallowed up in a black cloud of stress and anxiety. And I know from my own experience and the experience of many clients and friends that by making one small change and creating space in your life to notice the nature all around us, it is possible to place our lives into a new perspective and even learn from what we see.
Don’t get me wrong, watching a Robin on a fence isn’t going to pay your bills or get the kids to school. But it may just give you a fleeting moment of joy which you would have missed if you had kept your head down and plodded onwards without looking up.
If your life is missing joy and you want to find it – but watching ducks doesn’t feel like enough…get in touch. I’ve been there and I can help.