I recently (Feb. 25/14) attended a talk in Toronto by Jon Young. The event was sponsored by the P.I.N.E. Project. The motto of the PINE Project is “Be more, Need less.” Gotta love that! The organization works to bring families & Nature together. Gotta love that too!
Young is a very long-time outdoor educator dude, & an absolutely captivating speaker.
Among other greatly interesting things he said in his talk about humans, the benefits of having close ties with the earth & our loss thereof, he named 8 attributes he believes are characteristic of people with a deep nature connection:
- Ability to sit quietly & listen
- Connection & empathy
- Being really helpful
- Love of life, valuing it deeply
- Love of people. Forgiveness, kindness, compassion... & finally
- Quiet mind.
He added that the last one kind of comes first; that you leverage it & the others then come along more quickly.
So many of us lack this deep nature connection, now. You can see how people who do not have a deep love of this planet are liable to abuse it with abandon.
Some of us (many of us?) now believe we’re past the point of being able to turn things around. The sheer momentum of destruction, on every possible front – air, water, every square inch of land – is literally mind-boggling.
My mind boggles often! But then, I walk often, too. Every day, pretty much. Each day, as I do, I am reminded of this planet’s great beauty & abundance. This is what sustains me. I am carried by the incredible beauty of what is, what still remains. (& yes, also heartbroken at what is lost, trampled, abandoned, destroyed … of course. How could it be otherwise?)
But…. I am connected! To Nature, to the earth – & also to a great many great people.
I highly recommend being connected – the more connected, the better. Whatever else will help us get through – both the good times & the bad?
p.s. gratitude is also essential. Without it, nothing seems to be worth much, & nothing ever seems like “enough.” There was a speaker at the Jon Young event – Gerry Brody – who spoke movingly about gratitude. He quoted the Melody Beattie item on gratitude that is so outstanding & so beautifully true; I’m adding it in below, & you will also see it on the gratitude quotes/posting page on this blog.
p.p.s. the rewards of nature connection? Sometimes you get positively buzzed!
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “Only connect. This is how we make meaning. This is how we learn to think as Nature thinks.” – Gregory Bateson, anthropologist
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. It can turn an existence into a real life, and disconnected situations into important and beneficial lessons. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie, in The Language of Letting Go [more on gratitude]
“The cultivation of a stance of invulnerability robs men of a wisdom known to most women in this culture – that people actually connect better when they expose their weakness. Linguist Deborah Tannen, analyzing women’s ‘rapport talk’ versus men’s ‘report talk,’ found that a vital component of conversation between women was what she called ‘trouble talk’ – inviting the listener in by opening up one’s own points of vulnerability. Finally, to the degree to which a man learns to ‘be strong’ and to devalue weakness, his compassion toward frailty not just in himself but also in those around him may be limited or condescending. In this and many other ways, the loss of expressivity and the loss of vulnerability inevitably lead to diminished connection with others.” – from I Don’t Want to Talk About It – Overcoming The Secret Legacy of Male Depression, by Terrence Real
“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on – have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear – what remains? Nature remains. – Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)
“To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.” – Wendell Berry
“What’s important is not what’s gone, but what remains.” ~ from the film ‘Home’