Sitting in Nature

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” —John Muir, Our National Parks

Yesterday morning I woke with a need to sit in stillness with nature, to be in the midst of trees. I’ve always felt a connection to them, climbing the tall one in our backyard during childhood to be alone, sit and reflect with a bird’s eye view. Later in life, I sought refuge from stress in the towering redwoods of Cazadero.Bench in treesSipping my morning cup of lemon honey water while reading How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hahn, I was particularly touched by The Moment of Enlightenment: “Siddhartha, the man who became the Buddha many years ago in India, sat for a very long time at the foot of the Bodhi tree.  He appeared just to be sitting, but his body was also participating.  In his awakening, he was very closely observing his body, his feelings, and his perceptions.  As he continued his practice, his power of mindfulness and concentration became stronger and stronger.  One day at dawn, as the Morning Star appeared, he felt a liberation that dissipated all the darkness within him.  That was a moment of enlightenment.”Tree in parkFeeling a little gloomy the past couple of days, I knew sitting in nature would help dissipate my darkness. Throughout the morning, the universe kept sending me trees: from practicing a new Pilates “Climb the Tree” pose to reading Tiffany Caronia’s response to LA Yoga Magazine’s question: What rituals do you incorporate in your life to encourage restoration?  Part of her answer was “Spending time in nature.”  I knew that was just what I needed.

I wondered where I would walk while I was out running errands. A sign popped out at me as I drove along Crown Valley: LN Botanic Preserve.  I made a U-turn and pulled into the park full of walking paths, benches, and trees. I kept climbing the winding path until the singing of birds became louder than cars whizzing below.  When I reached the top, I was rewarded with another thing I love – a labyrinth.  I followed the maze mindfully letting all other thoughts slip away feeling nature’s peace.

Labyrinth