Find Your Deeper Meaning Through Nature
Nature is one of our best teachers.
Posted November 16, 2018
I believe that the ability to discover deeper meaning in our lives is positively correlated with the amount of time we choose to spend in nature.
Many of us spend the majority of our time in front of smartphones, computers, and television screens, sitting in traffic, and running errands in stores flooded with artificial light — all part of our normal urban lifestyle where we spend at least 90 percent of our time indoors at work and at home. At an instinctual level, we know this is an unhealthy way to live. We know that living in the artificial world, in high levels of vibration, stress, and anxiety, can negatively affect our bodies. We know this yet we rarely make the effort to shift our lifestyles, to connect and recharge with nature.
Connecting with nature is one of the best ways to strengthen our bodies – breathing fresh air, receiving Vitamin D through the warmth of the sunlight, and challenging our muscles with walks on uneven wilderness paths. But more importantly, on a metaphysical level, nature is a wonderful teacher and guide for finding deeper meaning in our lives.
- Nature has its own rhythm, its own pace, its own seasons. This teaches us to slow down, to be more patient, to know that there is a cycle of life, a right time for everything (instead of always wanting to force things to happen on our schedule.)
- Nature has its own plan, its own patterns, its own connections. This teaches us to trust in a higher universe, that there are connections forming which we might not see yet today, and that our place within the whole is becoming and will be revealed over time.
- Nature has its own harmony. This teaches us to observe life around us, to understand what we resonate with and what we do not, where we find deeper meaning and where we do not.
In recent months, I have had the great fortune to connect with and learn from two people with very high “natural intelligence”. (Unfortunately, in today’s world we tend to honor people with mathematical, scientific, digital and linguistic talents, and perhaps disrespect or not hold people with a talent of connecting with nature in high regard.) These two people are in sync with nature, are able to notice subtle patterns or changes in the environment, and have a “sixth sense” about the natural world. They love exploring outdoors, getting their hands dirty, and because they have a strong sense of sight, smell, touch, and hearing, they are exceptionally aware of their surroundings. In other words, they can see both the forest and the trees.
Thanks to the introduction by a friend, Spyros Sifakakis, Manolis Iliakis invited me to spend a day in his world, at his farm in Crete, Greece. Here I witnessed firsthand how Manolis is at one with nature, watching him walk amongst his eggplants, zucchinis, tomatoes, avocado and carob trees, beehives, and of course, olive trees. Seeing him gently touch the leaves of his trees as he walked by, caring for his plants and trees like they were his own offspring, helped me realize that he had indeed found his harmony and deeper meaning through his connection with nature.
The day at the farm included a delicious “nature-cooked” meal, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The day was a wonderful contrast from my typical city life -- a chance to breathe in fresh mountainside air, surrounded by birds singing in the trees and the sounds of the water from the nearby stream. To top the day off, Manolis announced that he had a special treat for us back in Rethymno town, a family dinner at his Nereas restaurant, complete with the authentic, native Cretan dish -- snails! While I have since learned that snails, being high in protein, are now classified as a “superfood”, I do have to say, they are an acquired taste! I will, of course, think of Manolis every time I see a snail but on a deeper level, I will always appreciate his inviting me into his world, sharing how he has found deeper meaning in his life through his love of nature. It is contagious.
On the other side of the world, I recently connected with William Roman, the operations manager and Bee Master at the Rosewood Winery and Meadery located on the Niagara Escarpment in Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. William’s passion for nature and specifically, bees, was so evident during my recent “bee tour”. His family has been involved in sustainable beekeeping and mead production for three generations and from a young age, William has been “one with the bees”. The motto at Rosewood is fitting — “keeping our bees happy and healthy is our top priority”.
After suiting up in our protective gear, we headed out to the valley to visit the beehives and to learn about the nectar and pollen ecosystem upon which the bees feed. Any apprehension I may have had to getting close to 50,000 buzzing bees was quickly dissipated by William’s deep knowledge and his gentle manner. Watching him open a bee hive so we could see the community of bees, gently hold one of the hanging frames full of bees, and then educate us on how amazing and capable the bees are and how important bees are to our greater natural ecosystem all demonstrated to us how William had found a profound connection and deeper meaning in his life through his respect and love of nature.
Some of you might not have been so lucky as to have crossed paths with people like Manolis and William who teach about finding deeper meaning through nature. But your journey to transformation can begin in other ways -- by taking the time to understand and appreciate nature on your own level, by taking 15 minutes a day to spend time in nature by walking, gardening, or sitting in sunshine surrounded by greenery, or at the very least, by choosing to turn off our computer screens so you can experience a more peaceful environment in which to connect with your deeper thoughts about what is meaningful for you in your life right now. The choice is yours…