18 Jul It’s all there for us!
It’s all there for us!
The title of this latest blog intends to mean many many things to as many people who wish to let it in. I have processed a lot of stuff over the last year or so; some of which I have been able to translate in to what I hope have been relatively digestible chunks, shared as Facebook posts.
The aim of these posts may be very selfish as it has been fulfilling a need in me. That need has grown stronger and stronger over 30+ years and possibly sat in me from the very beginning. That same need has come from having been present during some very basic yet fundamental experiences of life. I am referring to those we are all exposed to i.e. life death, friendship ,family, work, play, change and health.
Nothing I have shared has ever intended to be startling, original or in any way forced or oppressive. Rather, it has intended to break down some of the barriers I appreciate can exist in our busy lives. I have simply been trying share some of the most powerful influences that have consistently been there for me when I have needed them, sometimes without even knowing. I am referring to two enormously undervalued phenomena: Nature and Perspective.
Whether we refer to it as Nature or The Natural Environment, how many of us truly appreciate that it has always been there to provide a cushion when we feel like we are falling? Furthermore, it also can provide the highs when we are flying too. Whether you are accessing it for a holiday, respite, a dog walk, work, health and fitness, or visiting it out of desperation it is always freely offering you it’s hand.
I have watched cars pull up by the coast all year round, all hours of the day and night. Some get out, some sleep, some explore, some sit and watch and listen, some probably do more questionable things and some contemplate the unthinkable. BUT they all choose Nature! When I was once asked why it meant so much to me to live by the sea I stated with great ease “There’s enough space here for all my thoughts to sit and process”. The built environments that I had lived in previously had meant those same thoughts could not get out easily and settle.
Some of you may have experienced this same positive benefit by walking in the woods, in a park or simply sat in a garden. The wellbeing that can be achieved by adorning the smallest of space with a plant or perhaps sharing it with a pet is well researched. Nature works! It is always there! It demands nothing! It expects nothing in return! It gives itself freely!
Unfortunately, generosity on that scale has come at a price. We have forgotten that we are part of nature. We have separated ourselves. I know this because we don’t treat ourselves in the same way. If we did we would tell each other:
- “Hang on that is out of order!”
- “Hey, hang on a minute you can’t take that without paying”
- “What do you mean you want more I’m not here just for your benefit!”
These are all phrases that I believe would emerge if we treated ourselves like we have treated nature.
However, something that I equally value is offered by the built environments. Yes, those same environments that I suggested constrained me. I am referring to “other people”. Where there are houses and buildings there are “people”. Where there are “people” there are “voices” and where there are “voices” there are “perspectives”. And where there are “perspectives” there is opportunity for “discussion”. From “discussion” can come new “ideas” and “reflection” and thus “evolved perspectives”. When we are stuck in one perspective and feeling trapped by something we often need others to help us move through it. However, sometimes despite all these perspectives existing in our world we have closed down and cannot always recognise them; often with good reason- There’s no one judging!
Everyone has a perspective and without discussion they often do not grow. Yet, if we don’t listen to each other and take time to share and consider perspectives that differ to our own none of us evolve and grow. A friend, a member of the family, an acquaintance, a work colleague, a carer, a complete stranger are all examples of some of the perspectives that you may experience in a day. Don’t be frightened by the other points of view out in your world. Try and embrace them by placing yourself in their shoes for a split second before responding. You are right, it’s not at all easy and we can’t always achieve it but trying is generous and kind; one day it may be you on the other end. Generosity of this nature can change the world!
My family and I went to see a hugely successful comedian on the weekend and during his show he discussed the subject of his own mental health. The genius in his show was how he did it. He reached out to an audience with great humility and humour and ensured others knew that when times are difficult, The Samaritans were there for him and would be there for them too. He even managed to help us laugh alongside him, not at the need to ask for help but in his desire to remain confidential in asking. Something often very important to the process.
I would now like to join together the two phenomena I referred to at the start: Nature and Perspective. It would seem we have two phenomenal environments at our disposal and both are freely available. When we get stuck in one perspective many of us turn to Nature and many of us have turned to People. Many of us turn to both. How lucky are we? Yet do we really treat them both with the respect they deserve? More importantly, how can we treat them with the respect they deserve? How can we repay the favour to Nature? How can we repay the favour to the voice of a friend, colleague, stranger, etc?
I am thrilled that our children have fires in their bellies these days and they are taking on Nature and the Natural Environment. They are teaching us that Nature needs us to remember WE are part of it. WE are not above it in a hierarchy. WE are simply ONE part of it! If this could be achieved by our children who are joining the Extinction Rebellion philosophy and declaring a war on the exploitation of Nature then I urge us adults to make them proud by helping them to further re-connect with the lived, real life perspectives that make communities work. Together, adults and children can work hand in hand towards a society that cares about Nature and its component parts; only one of which is us!
Let us show each other the values and benefits of sharing, caring about and supporting these incredible perspectives that are evolving. Never underestimate your ability to make a difference!