7 Things I Learned on the Trail

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, and then I was up multiple times through the night.  So when my alarm went off this morning, the first thing I did was take a stroll down negative lane – I don’t want to get up, I’m tired, I don’t want to go to the gym, etc.  Then I opened my eyes and put an end to that tirade immediately.  I gave myself a choice – you can go to the gym or you can go to the park for a walk.  Having a choice is always good, and I picked the latter.  I knew that communing with nature would dissipate my crappy mood and I would get some exercise to boot.

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As usual when I walk the gorge trail at the park my mind tunes in to all the sounds around me – the crunching of stone underfoot, birds chirping, squirrels rustling in the brush, water streaming over rocks.  My eyes take in the beauty.  I am immediately at ease and feel remarkably better.  As my senses filled with all sorts of nourishment, I reflected on what the trail was teaching me.  This is what I discovered:

  1. Everything around us is alive and full of energy.  Water moving and animals flapping and running are obvious, but the plants and trees also gave off an energy that actually made the hairs on my arms stand up.  If you tune in, you can feel it.  It surprised me actually.  And it filled with an overwhelming joy.
  2. The ability to prevail in questionable circumstances.  I saw pops of flowers in the darkest areas of the forest, and I wondered how those little beauties existed back there.  It reminded me that where there is a will there is a way.
  3. It is vital to co-exist with nature.  While I was deep on the trail I was also deep in thought, lost in the world of flora and fauna.  That was interrupted several times by reminders of the present – a train whistle, a leaf blower, and a lawn mower.  It is important to me to balance my time in nature’s “other worldliness” and in the day to day “real” world.  At this point in my life I can’t give up one for the other.
  4. Others may think my ways of communing with nature is somewhat crazy.  I touch trees when I walk by them, I talk to the plants, I tell the flowers how pretty they are.  I say hi to every animal and insect I encounter and hold a short conversation.  Lucky for me the trail was pretty empty this morning!  It seems perfectly normal to me, and feeds my soul so deeply that I can’t help but do it.  I am at peace with it.
  5. Meditation does not necessarily mean stillness of the body.  I consider my treks a moving meditation, and I let my mind wander and my thoughts float by like clouds in the sky.  I emerge into the sunlight feeling refreshed, inspired and clear-headed.
  6. Mother Nature is ever-changing.  She not only provides us with amazing landscapes, but she is changing them ever-so-slightly over time.  New flowers emerge, plants recede, water is raging then still and new insects are born.  It inspires me to keep learning and evolving.
  7. Gratitude above all else.  Part of my conversation with all the living things on the trail was to give them thanks.  Thanks for allowing me into their world, for displaying their beauty, for re-affirming my desire to learn more about plants and trees, and for sharing their gifts.

If you are feeling drained and depleted, I can’t tell you enough to get out and experience nature.  Find a park, find a trail, find a backyard, find some flowers to plant.  What wonderful things could you discover while communing with nature?  What could you learn about yourself?  I invite you to find out.

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