Are You Connected to the Ground in Which You Walk Upon?

Today’s theme was floor. One thing I have noticed about myself is that my mind never stops. Living so much in my head jumping from thought to thought to thought can be exhausting.

One of the reasons I am on a break from Instagram, deactivated Facebook again, deleted my Twitter account a year and a half ago, and never bothered to make a Snapchat, is because I know myself, and I know what technology is capable of doing to the human mind. These mediums can be wonderful tools, but for me personally, there are consequences to using them. I have to be super mindful and super balanced with how I approach use. These platforms are purposefully designed to be addictive.

This look within has been good for me so far, but it also has brought up something: a longing for community and deeper connections. One of the main pillars of health of those who live long and healthy lives is having community.

In a way, I think this was the value, or perhaps perceived value, that social media gave/at times still gives me. It’s quick connection – a quick tap into communication at a distance. There are certainly upsides and downsides to that too.

I notice that the lines are easily blurred between feeling valued, connected, and validated by way of communicating with friends online and not really getting much out of those interactions at all. Much of it is superficial. Much of it is short and fast. And with a quick click, I liked your photo, and with a speedy scroll, on to the next message and the next and the next. Consume, consume, consume. And tack on all the never-ending messages of all the products and services we ‘need’ to be happy, to simplify, to be beautiful, to be better. Is this the way? Is this valuable? Is it helpful? Is it necessary?

So what happens if we peel that all away? Well, for me, that means I need to be with myself more, in that mind that never stops. And maybe that’s why I need to slow down and just exist without too many distractions more than ever.

I believe part of the reason why I turn to snacking or comfort eating when I am “bored” or “lonely” is because I am really hungry for connection in that moment, a meaningful conversation. I am also really hungry for grounding myself and living in the moment – not tomorrow, not yesterday, but right now.

Most of the time, I live in the future in my mind. And today’s yoga practice of connecting to the floor was surprisingly helpful.

Find community. Ground yourself. Love and live today.

Catch ya on the flip side,
Mary

Why It’s Important for Us to Be in Nature

Why It’s Important for Us to Be in Nature

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
-John Lubbock

Recently, I have added 15 minutes outside in the early morning hours as part of my morning routine. In just a short time, this has already helped my state of mind and well-being immensely. I cannot recommend this act of intentional living enough.

I first walk outside barefoot and stand outside in the grass underneath one of my favorite trees. I enjoy the sensations and sounds of the crickets, the birds, the gentle wind, the cool morning air, the grass between my toes, the dirt beneath my feet – everything.

After a couple of minutes, I do a couple of sun salutations and yoga stretches, then I do 100 crunches, and 10 push-ups. I then lay down in the grass and just relax and enjoy the peacefulness. I never bring my cell phone with me during this relaxing practice. So for the sake of this blog post, I took this picture later in the afternoon to share the view from the grass. I will lay in the grass for a couple of minutes or to my heart’s content.

tree

For the final part of my time outside in the morning, I stand up and ground my feet to the Earth again, and I express gratitude for the day and for the natural world. I cannot express enough how much this has shifted my perspective, and I highly recommend this to anyone. Just go outside for even two-five minutes every morning and be thankful and express gratitude. Enjoy all that nature has to offer. You will feel more alive and more connected.

Why It Is Important for Us to Be in Nature

1. We are meant to be outside. That’s right. We have really botched things up with our 9-5 desk jobs, artificial fluorescent lighting, stressful commutes, and addictive technology. Humans are meant to walk and be active and be outdoors. That is our natural state. We are not robots and we are not zombies. It is up to us to make the shift.

2. Going outside can help our health. Sunlight provides Vitamin D and can elevate our moods. Going outside has also been shown to help concentration and encourages people to be more active and boosts energy levels. People who go outside daily tend to be happier. Being in nature has also shown to help with depression and mood disorders. (Sources: Harvard and Everyday Health)

3. Trees are wise and have the power to heal. Hug a tree and give thanks to all that trees do for us. “Trees provide breathable air, timber, fuel, food, shelter, medicine and beauty. Without trees, we could not live. They can help us think better — Plato and Aristotle did their best thinking in the olive groves around Athens, Buddha found enlightenment beneath a bo tree, and Isaac Newton realised his theory of gravity when an apple fell from the tree under which he was sitting — and they can help us feel better.”
(Source: Psychologies)

hugatree

4. Exercising outside is optimal. “A 2011 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that people who walked on an outdoor track moved at a faster pace, perceived less exertion, and experienced more positive emotions than those who walked on an indoor treadmill. In another recent study done in Scotland, subjects who walked through a rural area viewed their to-do list as more manageable than those who walked on city streets.” (Source)

5. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is 2-5 times more toxic than air outside. Shocking? It’s true. One of the best ways to help the air in our living and working environments is to add plants. But another important thing to do for your own health is to go outside. (Source: Dr. Axe)

6. There is an actual disorder called nature deficit disorder. Don’t believe me? Read here. Let’s get away from the boob tube and the iPizzle, and the cell phone madness and go outside. Another benefit: being in nature can help increase our attention spans.

7. Now let’s apply this to children and teens. Young people need to go outside. If a person grows up with no connection to nature, they will most likely have no appreciation for it. Even more, with obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses on the rise that affect young people, I think it is time we get back to the basics. Go outside with your family.

8. Gardening and putting our hands in the dirt can be one of the most healing and enriching acts we participate in. To connect with new life and to watch a seed grow into a plant is a miracle that so many people take for granted. To connect with our food on the most basic level, helps us to eat healthier and to feel at one with the Earth.

If you don’t have land to cultivate, consider a window garden, a container garden on a deck or patio, or rent space at a community garden. There are options. This is a photo of what we harvested yesterday plus saving arugula seeds.

GardenHarvest8.18.14

What are you doing right now? Can you spare two minutes of your day to go outside and get some fresh air? I hope so. Nature is a beautiful gift. Let’s get back to it. Let’s be thankful for it.

Mary Signature