Monday, October 25, 2010

Connecting with Nature

Sometimes when we are still extraordinary things happen. One day I was sitting quietly in the woods reading over some notes. It was a warm autumn day and I was surrounded by the rich colors of fall. I had carefully chosen a sunlight spot so I could feel the warmth of the sun with the cool fall air. Amid the lush carpet of golden leaves, I could hear the sounds of squirrels and other small animals scurrying around hunting for food.

Taking a break from my work, I looked in the direction of the sounds and there was a beautiful white-tailed doe looking at me with deep curiosity. Her large ears flicked back and forth and she was scrutinizing me to decide if I was safe to be around.

I kept my stillness and continued looking at her with as much admiration as she had trepidation. After a few moments, she decided I was not a threat even with her young fawn cautiously following a short distance behind. For the next fifteen minutes she alternated between delicately nibbling on the nearby leaves and checking me out to make sure nothing had changed.

Watching her with an awareness of the specialness of this moment, I could see the details of her soft brown coat. large, luminous eyes, white underside of her tail, and those amazingly sensitive ears that are key to her survival. It was my stillness that allowed this interaction to happen. Otherwise I would have seen the usual fleeting glance of her face and then tail as she quickly ran to get away from me.

In quiet moments ideas, insights, creativity, solutions to problems and even moments of genius come to us. When we are still, we can be more sensitive and open. Intentional stillness creates an inner strength and calm center.

Nature balances stillness with movement. We can see it in the weather, in animals with their habits, in rivers and oceans and even in the way a bird flies.

In yoga we gather strength with stillness. Hugging our arms and legs inward creates stability and steadiness. From there we have the freedom to move with ease. Stillness and freedom balance each other. Shiva is the strong constancy of stillness. Shakti is the expression of freedom we have with movement. There is freedom in stillness and stillness in freedom. Shiva/Shakti - separate but intertwined. Together they are complete. When we fill up with the breath and create an inner fullness, our movements are balanced and free. Without the calm center and inner stability, our movements can become awkward and difficult.

Connecting with Nature aligns us with the deepest part of ourselves. It is magical and gives us a feeling of expansion and freedom. Nature can be difficult and can test us. But it also can heal us and make us whole. Take time to be still in Nature, to feel her presence and to receive the gifts she has to offer.

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