Nature as a Contributing Factor to Wholeness (patience)

“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
-- John Muir
 

I was recently experiencing anxiety and a total lack of patience amidst the chaos of the violent communication that often peppers the household at bed time. There are several ways that I tend to address this general lack of peace and clarity, and attempt to regain some of the resourcefulness that is demanded for good parenting at times like this. One is to separate myself from the situation and try to ignore it. Another is to simply react instantly to every request, demand or expression – to just push through the situation with sheer will and hope that the aggression that comes with a lack of patience does not take over. Another, more effective method, is to stop and try to resource myself with breathing and mindfulness practice. All of these methods are quite common for me, depending on how conscious or unconscious I happen to be in the moment, and the more unconscious, the more difficult it is to get perspective on the situation.
 
I don't know what it was that triggered me to do it in this case, but I just stepped out onto the back porch and sat down looking out over the landscape, breathing in the night air and connecting with the outside world with all of my senses. My 2-year-old followed me and sat on my lap. When I reentered the house only minutes later, I felt like a completely different person – as if the fragmented parts of my being (physical, mental and spiritual) had just been fused back together and I was whole, or at least much more whole than I was only minutes before.
 
One very profound truth that never ceases to amaze me, because of both its apparent lack of logic and its consistent confirmation, is that when we change our perspective we change our world. This is why, when I first created the web site for this work, the only thing on the front page was something a teacher once said at the beginning of a class, “Our intention is not to change the landscape, but to learn to see with new eyes.” You can put Humpty Dumpty back together again and nature can help.
 

Well after that experience, the situation in the house completely shifted and I was able to engage with my children in a healthy way that led to me reading the same book to all four of them in the same room, without incident, which is a rarity, and they all went peacefully to bed.  If the simple act of stepping outside and relating directly with the natural world, that happens to present itself to me in the moment, can transform a situation like that, there is no doubt in my mind that one of the most important gifts that we can give our children is the gift of nature – to educate them about it, and spend time with them in nature – to model for them ways to relate to nature, to respect it and recognize the integral part it plays in our survival as a species.
 
 
 

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