My intention for my new book, Go Gently, is to explore the balance between tangible, forceful action to help fight climate devastation and gentle care for the self and the planet. The hard and the soft. The love and the rage. The rest and the resistance. The crisis of the climate is heartbreaking as we are mourning the erosion of our home; it’s also enraging because we have done this to ourselves. But when we allow time to fully be present to the experience of life on Earth, I truly believe we are able to see more clearly the beauty and the bounty that we still have and notice how it can be protected. It is in these moments of active rest that I feel hopeful as I witness my interconnectedness to living things and know what a collective force we are.
There are a few of the activities I enjoy that bring me closer to myself and my relatives in nature. These range from moving my body to avoid stagnation and cultivate energy, doing breathing practices to alleviate the anxiousness of the day to day, to setting a goal of picking up five pieces of trash on my walk home. As someone who can fall into the fight-or-flight mode of modern-day life, I find these exercises provide me with an opportunity to catch my breath.
The relationship between mind and body can at times mirror humanity’s relationship to the planet, one that is deeply biologically tied but can easily lose alignment. As we realize that our planet is not a limitless resource, it is important to see that neither are we. Energy, ideas, and action cannot be extracted 24/7. There must also be time to engage in nourishing activities.
When we hear phrases like “connecting to nature,” we often think of hiking in the mountains or swimming in the ocean. But the truth is we are as much a part of nature as the mountain we wish to climb or the ocean we wish to swim in. Access to green spaces and beaches depends on many variables, but before going outside, journeying to nature starts with yourself. That is our most intimate connection. Fostering this intimate relationship with the self requires an intention to slow down and to observe and witness our own mind and body. That way we can nurture our own ecosystem so it can thrive in the outside world.
I love that our relationships with nature are so uniquely different and intimate. I encourage you to take these practices and make them your own.