Every morning I drive to work, I’m blessed to be able to drive the back hills of a valley with a neighboring lake. Each morning, I can count on seeing at least one red-tailed hawk. The hawk is often known in indigenous cultures to represent widened awareness; because the hawk can see vastly as it is hovering over the sky or while resting on a telephone pole. What feels special about this awareness the hawk has, and that all nature has, is an awareness that is absent from judgment. It sees things, fellow creatures, fellow foliage, people, and all it comes into contact with, strictly as they are or it is. There’s no added story. The “nature mind” does not complicate with past regrets and future worries that breed judgment. It truly rests in the present.
Learning from Nature’s Model of Behavior
Someone asked me recently, who’s your role model(s)? I answered, nature. I answered nature for the above reason, this widened nonjudgmental awareness, state of being, nature so effortlessly is and represents.
Nature is often looked to as a retreat, a place to go when the material world has become too much. When people plan vacations, the ultimate time of rest and relaxation, places infused with nature are often a draw. Take people outside, and nature gives them the respect to be who we are. It does not judge. Nature is the great reminder to fully embrace who we are. Nature is not perfect, it has rips, tears, brown spots, broken stems, and maybe scary looking eyes, but it does not allow these “imperfections” to stop it from its ultimate goal, to survive and thrive. It does not self-judge and criticize because of these “imperfections”. We all have seen a small green grass blade or small flower pushing its way through the cement. Nothing comes in the way of nature allowing itself to just Be, nothing.
Using Nature as your Role Model
So what am I suggesting? I’m simply suggesting to allow nature to too be one of your role models. Allow nature to be something to look to when life is feeling sour. Immersion in nature is great medicine. Nature offers itself as a great role model of what it means to be your authentic self, it offers the ability to move through life gracefully despite the many obstacles that might come your way, it shows us we can be nonjudgmental and in full acceptance of our surroundings. These are some of the fundamental things that facilitate healing, healing from things like addiction and mental illness. Nature offers us the great tool of reminding us who we are and what we are capable of. Nature is not only a great role model, but a great mirror, reflecting back to you, who you truly are, imperfect, beautiful, strong, diligent, kind, unconditionally accepting, life-giving, survival driven, and most of all uniquely you…perfect just the way you are. I urge you to pay close attention to this amazing gift that can be found walking outside your front door or on your drive to work. Improving this relationship with nature will not only support your healing but you, in turn, will have greater and more mindful respect of nature…but I’ll save that for the next blog.