The picture below is an example of the pictures that I’m drawn to taking. The ones that tend to capture the simple beauty that is nature. The ones that speak to my soul To some, this may be nothing but the frozen ground covered in weeds. To me, it is calming and nurturing to a secret place deep within my being. It makes me stop in my tracks, take a quiet moment and think. Think about “Why is the sun only shining on one corner of this area?” “How did the center stay frozen when the surrounding areas thawed?” Simpler thoughts of, “This is beautiful.” “This is what I need to enjoy more and focus on more.” Hurtful thoughts of, “Why don’t I let myself enjoy this more?” “Who am I fooling by being drawn to this?” “Who is going to cast judgment upon me for being so happy finding this little frozen patch?” “Why don’t I encourage this in myself more? Allow myself to connect in a way that makes me happy.” I have always believed myself to have a connection with nature, so why was I depriving myself?
This morning, I stepped outside of my typical “routine.” A “routine” that is more harmful than helpful. More hurtful than healing. A “routine” of staying in a place that I fool myself into thinking is safe when in actuality it is slowly killing me physically and mentally.
This “routine” is waking up. Getting out of bed and then sitting on the couch while staring at the computer for hours on end. I sit there and live vicariously through others. I sit there in envy and jealousy wishing I had what others have. Throw fear in somewhere and you have what I have deemed, The Triplets. The Triplets let me sit there and beat myself up while harming myself with the choices I make and thoughts that I have. How is that a “routine?” Now I’m sure you are starting to understand why I put routine in quotes. Instead of sitting there hurting myself, why don’t I get up and change it?
So back to this morning, I made one subtle change that brought about a pretty big revelation. I still partook in my normal wake-up “routine” of being sedentary while on the computer beating myself up. Then thought hit me while discovering this new blog from this woman who has a connection with nature and herself that I yearn for and downright crave.
“Instead of being jealous or envious of her, do something to make some type of connection with nature that will nurture your soul!”
I put the computer down. I opened my blinds. And while I didn’t quite make it outside, I shifted my focus TO the outside. I laid there on the bed with my head resting on Wilson who was doing the same thing I was about to do. Stare at what was outside my window. The view was the same as it is every day, but today it was different. Today I noticed the way that the branches of the trees twist and wind their way towards the sky. Reaching for new possibilities. Today I noticed that my neighbors have some type of fireplace or woodstove after noticing the wispy tendrils of smoke billowing in the sky towards the sunshine. Today I noticed. Today I nurtured for a fleeting moment.
Instead of staying in the moment, I ended up grabbing my journal. Yet again, something that is so simple and so easy for others to make part of their routine. Something I so desperately crave and yearn to make part of my routine. I grabbed that journal and wrote. Five full pages of sudden realization just from allowing an affirming, positive thought enter my realm of possibility rather than negative, paralyzing thoughts of doubt and self harm.
Thoughts and feelings about this connection that I feel that I have with nature but don’t let myself believe is true. Thoughts and feelings about the self harm that I inflict on myself. Thoughts and feelings about how my choices are slowly killing myself inside and out.
What ended up happening could be compared to a snow storm. At times the thoughts were soft, fluffy and gentle hitting upon my skin. Then at times the thoughts were like the snow that has a bit of ice mixed in. The kind that stings when it hits your skin because of, well, the ice as well as the wind that may pick up and give it force. However, in the end, it made everything look beautiful once the clouds cleared.
The thoughts made me stop and think about how much I really DO feel connected to nature. It made me realize how many of my hopes, dreams, beliefs and daily activities connect to nature in some way. Even if I’m not in its embrace every single day for longer than five minutes. (That horrific revelation would be due to the extreme fear and depression I’ve been combating. No, it’s not fair to the dogs either.) When I think back to my childhood, a lot of the good memories are connected to nature (outside in the garage during the winter with Dad cooking Clam Chowder on the woodstove, canoe rides around the lake, hikes at the nearby park, trips to the beach). Who I wanted to be in life was connected to nature (loved the few agriculture classes I took, wanted to be a Park Ranger ever since I laid eyes on one, wanted to go to college for Natural Resources originally). The times I think about my religion/spirituality, it is really, really connected to nature. What I believe in to be right for my health (food, health & beauty products, medicine, etc.) is connected to nature. Even the music I really connect with and enjoy has connections to nature. While in my nature haze today, I realized that I am so drawn to more acoustic driven music because to me it seems more connected with nature. (We won’t talk about lyrics to the songs I really connect with, can you guess?) The times that I think about the true, authentic me are somehow connected to nature. Nature balances me. Nature centers and calms me even when it is at its wildest.
Even after all of these great “A-Ha" moments and realizations, after all of the nurturing and believing I was allowing, I told myself it was all a lie. All of it was false hope and I was full of S%@$. I was just lying to myself. I went back to my version of self-harm. I sat there and told myself that the reason I didn’t have a real, true connection with nature was because I am too fat. I told myself it is because I am too out of shape. I told myself it was because I didn’t have the right thing to wear or that I wasn’t artistic enough. (As far as being artistic, I equate that with being able to sketch or paint amazing pictures, yet another lie.) I was telling myself, “You feel a connection to nature?! The only connection you have with anything in life is your fat ass connecting to the couch or bed.” “You can’t have a connection with nature. You have to be skinny, dress just so and know absolutely everything there is to know about nature. You don’t know jack!” I started to wonder and believe that I was just being foolish and unrealistic in thinking I have this connection with nature. Oh, and my newest lie that I’ve resorted to telling myself, “You’re too old!” “You’re too old to change.” “You’re too old to become the authentic you.” “You’re too old to begin any kind of true connection with nature.” People, I’ll be 33 in May. Seriously?! I’m not too old! Am I?
I’ve realized both today and as of last week, that nobody has outright told me I can’t do any of these things. Yes I was picked on in school since a very young age all the way through high school for who I was or what I wore. Yeah, my parents have said, “You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that….”, but it was never to the extent of what I tell myself. I have no one to place blame on, but myself. However, if I start blaming myself now, how am I going to stop the abuse?
It is far past time for me to go hug a tree. It’s time to let Nature teach me and guide me. It is passed time for me to go answer Nature’s call.