Read these short blog posts to explore the Conventional and Natural Paradigms, and what it might mean to you to Re-Align with Nature.
If elephants were any bigger, they would overheat. If elk antlers were any bigger, they couldn’t run freely through the forest. If you give your houseplant too much water, too much sun, or too much fertilizer it will suffer. Nature is able to discern too much from just right, and has strategies to stay within optimal ranges.
So why is it that we (humans) always seem to want more? Most of us want more money and more time. We want more likes and more followers. We want more stuff. There’s never quite enough. Then we get stressed out and spend our precious time and energy learning how to decompress, detox, and declutter, unfollow, unsubscribe, and unplug.. Star-bellied Sneeches come to mind.
So many of us feel compelled to want more because our culture has convinced us to believe that we would be happier with more — yet we’re never really happy with what we have. We’re also unhappy with our overfull closets and oversized ecological footprints.
Do you find yourself wishing you wanted less, but struggling with the desire for more? If you’re curious to learn How to be Happy with Less by Thinking Like Nature, we invite you to participate in our online workshop offered THIS THURSDAY 29JUNE2023 9-11amPDT.
Please REGISTER NOW as we’re keeping the workshop small and only a few spots are left.
I hear so many people lament that they want to reconnect with Nature. I’ve often said the same thing myself, especially when I’ve had to spend too much time in an urban environment or just indoors. But I had a realization a while back that was so obvious it was embarrassing — I don’t need to “reconnect” with Nature because I can’t ever disconnect from Nature.
Perhaps you’ve had the same realization? If not, take a deep breath. Take another long slow lung-filling breath. Now take one more. As you continue to breathe, as one does 24/7, ponder the fact that the molecules of air that you are breathing in have been circulating around the Earth, in and out of other living beings, for billions of years. Yup, the breath you just took in may contain molecules that at one time passed through ancient Stromatolites, migrating Monarchs, indigenous peoples, or your own houseplant. As you breathe out, you’re sending those air molecules back into the ever-on-going systems and cycles of Nature.
Even if you’re sitting in a windowless building in front of a computer, myriad bacteria in your gut are actively digesting the food that you’ve eaten. And as you visit the bathroom, be grateful for the myriad bacteria at the wastewater treatment plant that are allowing your waste to be reintegrated into the soil, reintegrated into Nature’s systems and cycles.
Every single cell in your body was made by Nature, is nourished by Nature — IS Nature. You are as natural and as much a part of Nature as a mushroom, a ladybug, a hummingbird, an elephant, a giant redwood. You can’t not be connected to Nature.
Whenever you feel disconnected from Nature, pause and take a few deep breaths and know yourself, feel yourself, as a fully engaged participant in Nature. Then, when you get the chance, disconnect from technology and get outside in Nature!
Now that you know you are Nature, you might be interested in how to “Think Like Nature”. If so, there’s still space in the last of our Think Like Nature online workshops: How to Be Happy with Less by Thinking Like Nature [9-11amPDT 29June2023]
How Does Nature Manage Stress?
If stress is having a negative effect on your life, and the lives of those you care about, you are not alone.
According to the American Institute of Stress: 55% of Americans are stressed during the day. Stress causes 57% of US respondents to feel paralyzed. 63% of US workers are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress. Chronic stress is commonplace at work with 94% of workers reporting feeling stress at work.
We experience inappropriate levels of stress because our current culture — what I’m calling the Conventional Paradigm — drives us to do too much, to want too much, to push too hard for too long. Most of us have become entrapped by these cultural pressures, sometimes unknowingly, and we no longer live our lives in alignment with our own values, our own priorities.
A certain amount of stress for short periods of time can be good. The same AIS article describes how some stress is good for performance, and that there is also good stress associated with positive experiences. And we are all familiar with the very short term fight-or-flight stress that helps us to jump out of the way of an oncoming car.
But uncontrolled chronic stress not only harms our health, it causes us to make decisions and behave in ways that are harmful to our relationships and degrade our sense of self. When we are chronically stressed we are not our best selves.
Our friends in Nature don’t experience chronic stress. When a zebra is chased by a leopard, its stress hormones kick in so that it can react quickly and run away to save itself. But when that threat is gone, the zebra relaxes. What might we learn from a zebra — or an oyster or kelp for that matter — about how to manage the stress in our lives?
If you’re curious, I invite you to join our next online workshop: How to Be Less Stressed by Thinking Like Nature.
This workshop is Thursday June 22, so register soon to hold your spot!
What happens when you don’t live — behave and make decisions — in alignment with who you are and what you believe in? For some, it leads to moral erosion. For others, it leads to shame, self-hatred. For many, it leads to living in a state of angry victimhood and disempowerment — it’s “their” fault and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Is this you? Perhaps you don’t see it that way. Most of us think we’re living in alignment with our values. You haven’t committed any violent crimes or stolen from the vulnerable. But what about the day-to-day things, the things you take for granted? Even for those of us who are committed to fighting for social and environmental justice, there is a slow creep. It’s the small shifts that occur with increasing wealth and social status. You don’t have to be rich to be part of the problem, just not poor, not among the systemically oppressed.
You value nature, but you bought that new shirt because you “needed” it and it was such a great deal — without thinking about the environmental damage that occurred during its manufacturing, shipping, and ultimate disposal. You value human rights, but you live on land that was stolen from indigenous peoples and benefit from those in your own community who don’t earn a living wage.
I’m not pointing fingers — except perhaps at the mirror. If you live in the “developed” world you are likely not living in alignment with your values. It’s almost impossible to do so. Worse, it’s almost impossible to see how to change. You know you can’t just buy or donate or protest your way out of this. So what can you do?
I believe what is needed is for each of us to make a shift deep inside. We need to shift how we see the world, how it works, and our role in it. We need to start letting go of our abusive relationship with the dominant cultural paradigm — what I’m calling the Conventional Paradigm — and begin re-aligning with Nature’s Paradigm — start thinking like Nature. Thankfully, you already know how. You already think like this when you’re with your loved ones, lost in a creative activity, or out enjoying Nature. It’s a very good feeling.
Imagine what your life might be like — how you might behave and the kinds of decisions you’d make — if you weren’t chronically too busy, too stressed, and too addicted to consumerism. Imagine how that might feel, how you might feel about yourself. Imagine if instead of wanting to reconnect with Nature, you felt that you were part of Nature, of Nature.
This is totally possible. It’s a journey, of course, but it’s easy — and joyful and empowering — to get started. If you’re curious, I invite you to join our online workshop series called Think Like Nature. The first of the three workshops is this week!
REGISTER NOW TO HOLD YOUR SPOT!