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Earth Month: We are Nature and Nature is Us

In many ways our work here at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing is about our brains, or at the very least, what we perceive to be output from our minds. This is Earth Month with the 54th Earth Day occurring April 22nd. You may be wondering what our minds have to do with Earth Month. 

In my opinion, which I believe is supported by substantial scientific inquiry, we are all one. To be clearer, there is one unified field of energy, and depending on how it vibrates, it produces chairs, clouds, people, and everything else. There are many names for this one field of energy sometimes called Gaia, God, unified field, earth mother/mother nature and on and on. 

We are nature and nature is us. As a result of our connection to everything around us, climate anxiety is real and growing by the day. We can feel that our environment is nearing collapse. There is no running from our collective poor behavior. To almost quote Billy Joel “we didn’t start the fire, but we tried to fight it.” 

To me, that lyric suggests that as bad as the human situation appears in this moment, we can make choices that are better for our own lives. Then, through coherence, we can affect the quality of the lives of our loved ones, our community, and in our own small way, all of humanity and Earth. This is important always, not just during Earth month.

Try this… 

During lockdown, I walked to a park along a river every day for both exercise and stress relief. Time in nature is a well-known stress reliver. The Japanese art of Forest Bathing, which could also be called a mindful walk, is supported by science in its effectiveness. 

Something I found that enhances my experience while on a mindful walk is tree hugging. Cliché? Absolutely not! Pick a quiet spot away from people so you don’t need to feel self-conscious. Pick a tree you resonate with and give it a big ol’ bear hug. I find holding on for at least a minute is intensely wonderful. I talk to my tree. I share my stress and also affirm my commitment to do my best to protect forests. During these moments, I can quite literally feel stress pouring out and off of me. The benefit for me is immediate, palpable, and very positive. Try it out with a group of close friends. You can each pick your own tree and give it a big ol’ squeeze. The collective experience can be powerful. 

In a recent blog post, my colleague Sarah was discussing the mindset of Alex Honnold, the now famous rock climber made famous by his ascent of El Cap in Yosemite in the movie Free Solo. I have never met Alex. He is 30+ years my junior, yet we share a lot in common including a love of moving over stone. While climbing, it is an amazing experience to operate in the mental state referred to as flow. Not only is it a huge performance enhancer, it feels heavenly both during the activity and after. It has lasting effects on us as participant and also brings coherence to the energy field around us. I truly believe nature is entirely supportive of entering into flow. 

My goal here is to serve as a reminder to mindfully connect to nature, during Earth Month and beyond. This can lead to beautiful things. Your mindset matters, is yours to choose, and impacts everything around you including Earth; please choose wisely.  

Ajax Greene is the Chief Operations Officer at the Foundation for Family and Community Healing and founder of Coherence Collaborative.