finding RENEWAL IN NATURE
If you ever happen to drive north on Wilmot Rd. in Tucson, you will be treated to a magnificent view of the Catalina Mountains. We're incredibly fortunate that nature surrounds us - quite literally, with different mountain ranges in all four directions. But when we see something every day, it's possible to lose sight of the beauty before us. Unobstructed mountain views don't always feel special when there's traffic around or when our hearts and minds are clouded by endless to-do lists or heavy emotions such as grief or sorrow.
Sometimes, we may overlook that the very thing that can help us find peace and comfort is right in front of us.
While we certainly do not advise tuning out traffic to pay attention to mountains, what we do recommend is taking a moment during the day to step outside. To allow ourselves to breathe in, breathe out, and open our senses to truly take in what nature offers us. In these moments, we may discover that simply being in its presence can do wonders for our well-being.
One of the ways that nature restores us is by connecting us to something greater than ourselves. When we spend time in nature, we become aware of the natural rhythms and cycles of life. We see the seasons change, plants grow, and animals thrive, and we are reminded that we are part of a larger, interconnected web of life. This sense of connection can be incredibly grounding and reassuring, especially during difficult times.
It may rain for days, but when the sun finally shines, everything blooms and comes alive. Plants and trees may lose their leaves in the fall, but then they return greener than ever in spring. Flowers may wither, but a part of them lives on as they give way to fruits. In a similar way, we may experience hardships, but we learn from them and we rise up stronger and wiser. We may experience grief, but we gain a greater appreciation for life. And in that process, we learn that love lives on and will only continue to grow.
Although we may go through challenges and painful circumstances, nature can help us gain perspective and a deeper understanding of the cycles of life, and find comfort in the knowledge that even in the midst of difficulty, change is always possible and that new growth is always on the horizon. This life-affirming quality of nature shows us that we can experience times of healing, transformation, and renewal.
Nature’s impact on our emotional and mental well-being is echoed in science and by our physical bodies. Research shows that spending time in nature can lower cortisol - the hormone our bodies produce when we experience stressful, traumatic, or emotional events. It lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, and boost our immune system, helping calm the mind and the body.
It’s important to note that intimate, meaningful moments with nature don’t have to take place under extraordinary conditions. We may integrate a practice of reconnecting with ourselves and with nature as a form of self-care and alleviate daily stressors we encounter at work or at home.
And while there may be several state parks and mountains within a short driving distance of Tucson, we don’t have to make a grand effort to be in nature. A gentle breeze, blooming cactus flowers, a shiny pebble, or a bird singing in the distance are all parts of nature that we can engage with. We just need to allow ourselves the time and space to be.
In the words of author and artist Christine Valters Paintner,
“Nature has a way of renewing our spirit and restoring our sense of wonder. In her presence, we are reminded of the beauty and mystery of life, and of the interconnectedness of all things.”
Equinimity has a number of offerings that foster our connection with nature. Please visit our website for more information: https://www.equinimitytucson.com/