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Nature makes me kinder

Nature makes me kinder

This week has not been one of my best. I have been overloaded, overwhelmed and overburdened...plugging away at my never ending "to do" list , snapping at the kids and fighting with my husband about every little thing.

I think the guys have been tip toeing around me, as if I'm a volcano that is about to erupt with sky high lava flows...and to be honest that's how I've been feeling a lot of the time. 

I lost perspective somewhere in amongst the obligations of the week, and I started taking things too seriously. I doggedly found time for my meditation, but there was no joy in it, as it became just another thing to tick off my list.

I find that when life gets like this I feel something within me harden. Somehow I stop living from the heart, and trusting the flow of life, and become convinced that I am very important and have so many things to do, and that without me, the world would just stop turning.

And I make decisions based on this wrong information. Coming from an overload of obligation, and a lack of time and space in which to process all the "doing" that my life requires, I get confused about when to say "Yes" and when to say "No".

From this contracted place, things don't look as clear. I can't see myself or the people around me as they really are, and I live life as if it is something to be either managed or conquered.

And I know that none of this is true, but when I'm operating from my mind, rather than my heart I can convince myself of many falsehoods, with the righteous belief that I most certainly know best.

But I don't...my heart does though...so to be able to drop back into the heart is the only way to end this tiresome cycle.

I woke this morning to a beautiful day, and after I had caught up on some neglected family chores I made my way down to the vastness of a deserted Muriwai beach for my first walk in a week. 

As soon as I got down on the sand I started to unwind. The constricting feeling around my heart loosened its hold a little and by the time I had made it to the sacred spot where the river meets the sea I felt myself sinking slowly back into my body.

I climbed up a sandhill and lay down on the warm black sand and breathed deeply until I relaxed a little more. I felt something biting me and sat up to discover a nest of dashing ants in the tussock right beside my feet. 

I watched them for a while and marvelled at their team work. I remembered that in the Native American tradition the symbol of the ant teaches us about patience, about being mindful of others, and about letting things unfold.

I smiled to myself a little at this point as patience is a constant struggle for me, and I never seem to properly learn the lesson. And that's probably the exact point.

By this time my phone had run out of batteries so I was unable to check emails or social media any longer. What a relief.

The tide was high and the sun had gone as I made my way slowly home, being soaked several times by rogue waves that seemed to come from nowhere. 

I found a huge blue plastic container that had washed up on the beach. Luckily it was empty and I carried it for ages, finally handing it over to the DOC rangers who were happy to dispose of it for me and thanked me for picking it.

I know, it sounds pretty boring, but each one of my little interactions with nature gave me back to myself a little more fully.

By the time I climbed through the native forest and greeted my favourite tree I was feeling almost human again...comfortable with myself...at home.

And so all I can do is thank nature again and again for all she gives me, naturally and unconditionally. I want to give back to her by being kind to myself and my family, and by keeping my heart open and my mind in service to that open heart.

It's a big ask, but nature helps me to balance my life, and my world. And even though I am prone to forgetting, and leading myself off track, I know that a grounded and balanced perspective is only a long beach walk away.

I just need to stay humble and know that the lesson is never fully learned. Life is merry dance of getting lost and eventually finding my way back home.