Slow Living Challenge – Week #5 – Nature

It’s a widely accepted and well studied notion that our modern way of life has created a disconnect between humans and the natural world, and this affects our health and well-being. Our direct interaction with the sun and wind, the weather, the seasonal shifts, water and soil is much less than our predecessors of even a few generations ago. We haven’t really changed much as biological beings in that time, but we have systems and perceptions that have created a separation between ourselves and nature. i

Our current mode of living takes us increasingly further from who and what we are in the physical aspect of our selves, which is flesh and blood, from dust we came and dust we shall return, along with all of the other billions and billions of organisms that make up this beautiful, miraculous, rich and diverse home we call earth. What we are beyond our earthly bodies belongs to another discussion, but to know and embrace this seamless relationship between humans and all other life on the planet is an essential step towards our healing.

Join us this week in our Slow Living Challenge, as we take steps to remember who we are as physical beings, and to reawaken our connection with the natural world. Subscribe below to receive this week’s email, then follow along on Instagram at #SlowLivingChallenge to learn more about putting these steps into action.

Prioritize Spending at least 10-20 minutes walking per day.

Or pick a spot where you can sit quietly, noticing your natural surroundings. Even if you’re in the city, you can focus on the sky, the weather, trees along the street, any small patch of ground that you might find. As you walk or sit, be aware that with every breath, you are drawing the outside in and through your body, so that you are a part of the air around you and it is a part of you.

As you move about this week, take note of all the signs of the changing seasons.

On one of your walks outside, choose something you observe in your environment (a tree, a bird, a flower, etc.) and think of all of the things you share in common with that life. Have fun with this! Notice any memories or emotions that might come up as you do this.​

Find a handful of good dirt somewhere and sit down with it.

Spread it out and look at it, feel it, smell it. Does it look like healthy dirt, or not? Imagine billions of microscopic life forms teeming in the universe of that handful. Imagine that you and this dirt are sharing microbiotic life at that very moment. You are exchanging bacteria and nourishing each other!

Do a 10 minute sunlight meditation.

Find a spot inside by a window, or outside if possible, closing your eyes and just letting yourself be awash in sunlight, feeling the warmth and gratitude for the life giving power of the sun. Let any current problems or stress diminish in light of the ages.

Do a 10 minute seed meditation.

Obtain a pack of seeds, or even just one seed. Find a quiet place and sit down with it, thinking about all of the potential in one tiny seed. No matter what kind of plant it is — herb, flower, tree, fruit or vegetable, it contains everything it needs to grow to thousands of times its size to become what it was meant to be. Imagine the power and wonder of this miracle that we so often take for granted. Now plant the seed in a pot and watch it grow!