By Marcela Owen
Connecting with nature is an important aspect of life. In my quest to live as naturally as I can, I make it a must to interact, connect and enjoy nature. I don’t necessarily need to plan an elaborate trip or put too much thought into it. As long as I’m surrounded by trees, or birds or any animal for a little while, I am happy. Sometimes watching the sunset, that typically takes only about a minute or a few seconds to watch, I’m satisfied and I appreciate my natural surroundings. The sky of a sunset always looks different, every single time. When I have the opportunity I stare at a sunset, I focus on the sky because it showcases different colors, shapes and sizes. The colors change, the clouds change shape, their silhouettes represent unique shapes that I play and create objects with. A walk around nature is a great way to release tension and stress and at the same time enjoy our wonderful earth full of its splendor and mystery.
I have great compassion for all animals. There’s a special place in my heart for animals, big or small. I especially enjoy petting dogs and cats. Isn’t that a riot and somewhat silly? I don’t know what it is! I get a kick out of it. I simply love it. I think subconsciously dogs represent a safe place for me, my haven, and my familiar comfortable home. When I pet a cat or a dog, I feel a unique kind of comfort. It may sound silly but I de-stress by petting animals! Is that possible? It must be because it works for me. So why not find your haven? Why not find your sanctuary with anything that you love and enjoy. As long as it’s good for the body, mind and soul, and you are not hurting anyone, why not use this natural remedy to release stress? Pets are therapeutic in so many ways, but other escapes may have the same effect. Talking to an old friend or relative, reminiscing about good times from our childhood, or remembering days of accomplishment such as, a graduation, trips, your first official job, a special Christmas, looking at old pictures, the list could go on and on. I use this technique often because it completely changes my outlook of life and any situation that is superficially bothering me. I say superficially because anything that annoys us, or anything that troubles us, or hurts us, is superficial. At some level almost not real, it is simply an interpretation of what’s going on. We are allowing a particular “scenario” to superficially affect our minds, body and soul. Once we recognize it we can change our reaction to it. The way we respond to a problem has all the power. What I’m saying is that we may artificially react a certain way in the beginning, as we experience negative news or a challenging situation. However, as we learn how to deal with it, we can take control and direct these feelings and worries toward a different place. It’s important to reach a place of understanding, compassion and peace. If we all learn how to live this way then the world has no option but to become a better place. In my opinion, it’s all about training our minds to simply make a switch to convert one way of thinking to another. As I mentioned, it’s a decision to look at things from a different perspective and to basically take action. Don’t over think it, simply take action!
Ever since I decided to adhere to this approach, my life has dramatically changed. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else says or does, I just don’t let it affect my joy. I may have an immediate reaction, when I hear bad news or if I’m in the middle of an odd situation. It make take a few minutes to re-route these thoughts but once I re-frame the thought and understand that all that happens is for the “good”, then I can relax and continue with my joyous journey of life.
It is my responsibility to make the best life possible, and if I allow outside forces to affect me, I won’t reach my goal. In the beginning, as we train our mind to shift our habits, it may appear more difficult, but as we practice more and more, it becomes easier. Experts say that it takes 21 days to truly train our minds to change and adopt new behaviors. So expect that it will take some effort and time but all is very well worth it. Once you train your mind to focus on positive situations and deal with disappointment and challenges in a completely different way, your entire life will start to shift. You’ll feel motivated to purse your dreams and aspirations, to make positive changes, to appreciate what you have today, and to learn to appreciate everyone and everything more than ever. Ah… life is such a treat when you live like this. Nothing can touch you, life thrives, and everyone around you will see and feel the difference. Get ready for your friends and family to ask you what your secret is to happiness and joy. They may even ask you about this new “glow” that you take with you everywhere you go! I say embrace it wholeheartedly and share it!