Nurturing Our Connection with Nature

It can help us settle back into a wisdom that is older than language and written history, something foundational to who we are.
As a child, I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors. My father was an army officer and most of the times we would have the luxury of living in leafy cantonments with great reserves and outdoor play areas. I feel very fortunate that I grew up close to the land, with the opportunity to plant our own vegetables in the large backyard we had and to watch them grow. I even remember the first harvest of pumpkins was proudly shared with all our neighbours!
The reality of this luxury, however, struck home when this was taken away from us – upon Dad’s retirement!

I call this a luxury as it was only after I moved to my new home country – Australia, when I was 35 that I had realised the need for me to re kindle my “love affair” with Nature. The abundance of natural wealth – clean air, amazing skies and the beautiful natural surrounds that simply reignited my spirits. Between work commitments and household chores, I would try and throw in a quick “power walk” – as I would like to call it.

But it was my Sunday morning ritual that has almost become sacrosanct – to a point where I look forward to it so eagerly. As you can tell in the photo, I am the happiest when I am just back from my walks – even our pet bunny knows that !

sunday outdoors
walking outdoors

But what is really exciting about my nature time – is the amazing present moment awareness that it allows me to get into – creating a powerful communion between my “finite” intelligence with the Universal intelligence.

I have turned to nature during some of the most trying times – which all of us have a fair share of – and the right answers have always spontaneously emerged. (I acknowledge this may not be the case for everyone.)

The case for Nurturing a connection with Mother Nature becomes even more compelling, when we look at the statistics. With the average adult living in Western societies, now on a screen for 11 hours a day on average and spending 90 percent of their life indoors, disconnection from self, community, and nature is growing.

We see the effects in rising levels of depression, anxiety, and a host of other mental-health challenges, along with an accelerating crisis in our global environment, from climate change and species loss to plastic gyres in the world’s oceans and resource conflicts.

Nurturing the Nature connection, can’t solve all these issues quickly, but I believe it can help to support a reconnection between humans and the living earth. Part of this reconnection is a remembering of what is important and essential: clean air and water, healthy ecosystems, food, water, shelter, good company …

My kids and their friends on a recent digital detox weekend. Oh boy! It took no more than a couple of hours of missing the screens and the kids would not want to come back indoors.

Burying our heads in our screens and air conditioning will not help us adapt to the new world we are living into.
But stepping outdoors, lifting our noses to the sky, smelling the wind, and becoming students of nature can. If we are to adapt to the times we are living in, if we are to respond with skill to the real-life conditions on our home planet, we need to be aware and alert, and we need to know basic skills to help us stay close to the wisdom of nature.
kids at screens
evening walk in the park
Nurturing our Nature connection, can help us take a deep breath, walk with our feet on the ground, and sit by a fire, as we listen to the wind in the trees. It can help us settle back into a wisdom that is older than language and written history, something foundational to who we are.

It can help us to remember what we are, where we belong and how much we have to be grateful for on this precious planet. The seasons still turn and birds still sing in the trees. We can all take a few minutes to breathe, we can learn who we share this land with, and we can become a part of our forests and wild communities again.

We just need to slow down and open up our senses to the wonder that is all around us.

Happy nature walking these holidays!!

Learn. Grow. Serve.

Dr Arun Dhir
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Dr Arun Dhir
Surgeon, Health & Wellness Advocate.
Author of “Happy Gut, Healthy Weight” and “Create a New You Health Journal

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