Step onto the Pathway of Love, part 1.
The Pathway of Love
For all of us world changers, it started with love.
Whether we are volunteers for charity, fully paid up activists, or fighting the battle in our vegetable patch, we are all doing it for the love of the Living Earth and her children.
Somewhere along the line, we were touched by beauty. It might have been the smile of a child, or the majesty of a mountain, or a tiny bee collecting nectar. It might have been holidays in the forest, or by the seaside. Or the humanity of a homeless man with his dog.
At one point, our hearts opened, and we felt the need to defend that beauty against everything that seeks to spoil it, or diminish it, or destroy it. Our love draws us to take action, to give of ourselves, to work for the good of all beings, against all odds.
Love for the world's beauty is what motivates us. And we can also let it sustain us through times of frustration, exhaustion and hopelessness
We instinctively know that time spent in Nature nourishes us, body and soul. 'Forest bathing' is now a recognised medical practice. As well as its obvious benefits for our mood, spending time among trees also measurably improves our blood pressure and our immune system.
We can consciously strengthen our relationship with the natural world and use its nourishment to heal us and charge our batteries. Deepening our love for the Living Earth is the first Pathway to connected living.
Come to your senses
I haven't given myself an easy job here. I must admit that living in my senses doesn't come naturally to me.
Because of my personal history, ancient and recent, I have the tendency to shut myself down and draw away from life. It takes effort for me to open up and trust that I will be OK.
But this trust is exactly what I need to learn. My body is screaming it at me: relax, stop fighting what is. Receive the beauty of life as it comes to you.
I do love this world. I love the endless variety of life that surrounds me. I love the thrushes and green finches that live in the garden. I love the roses and the wild flowers. I love the tall trees and the butterflies.
And if I want that love to sustain me, if I want to genuinely take the Pathway of Love towards a life of connection and resilience, I need to let down my guard and let life's abundance in. And the less naturally this comes to me, the more I probably need it.
So, would you come outside with me? Wherever outside is for you. Even if it's a balcony outside a city apartment, or a tiny garden by a busy road. Just go there. And wake up your senses with me.
My outside is a large garden by a busy road. The first thing I notice today as I step out of the house is the warmth of the Sun. It has been shining brightly all day. Just opening up to that feeling, and drinking in the warmth and the light of the Sun is healing and nourishing in itself.
What is the first thing that catches your attention when you go outside? It could be the vibrant colour of a flower, or the sharp touch of the wind in winter. Whatever it is, allow it to enter you through whatever sense it speaks to. Let the beauty fill you. Notice how you feel as this sense experience flows through your body, your consciousness.
Stay with this as long as you like. Do it every day, whenever you are outside. Hear the rain on your umbrella as you walk to work. Or taste the first strawberry from your garden. Really notice this. Let it feed you. And when you are ready to finish, give thanks to whoever nourished you. You may feel moved to give something back.
You can take this practice anywhere you like. You can build it into an intense meditation involving all your senses. Or you can go deep following the sensations of just one sense at a time. You can follow your senses through your garden or sit and enjoy the impressions that come to you. Play with it. And feel your soul and your love for the world strengthen as you go.
Have fun making love to the world. I'll be learning with you.
I will be adding links below as I come across resources that help us come to our senses. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below. I'll add the ones I think are useful and in the spirit of this post.
Connecting to Nature's Spirit. A beautiful article describing people's spiritual experiences in Nature, with some suggestions to find your own. The whole web site is a treasure trove of beauty.
7 ways to strengthen your connection with nature and improve your health. Some simple suggestions to get more deeply involved in nature, for mind, body and soul.
20 calming or invigorating mini meditations you can practice every day. Quick tips to come back to the present moment and wake up your senses.