My day started off on a sour note.
I didn’t sleep as soundly as usual; my dreams were stressful; and my first thoughts upon waking were focused on the greater problems of the world: global warming, gun violence, and the heartbreaking resolution for the Jacob Wetterling family.
I could immediately tell I’d been watching TV the previous day.
I haven’t watched much TV since 1997, but as a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan, watching cable TV is the price I pay to enjoy a good football game on a Sunday afternoon. It’s the commercials and media updates that cause me problems.
Despite my cloudy awakening, I took my usual morning walk. As I strolled down our rural road, I noticed how fall was kicking in. I observed the changing colors in the leaves, felt the coolness of the autumn air, and thought about how summer was dying right before my eyes. It felt more grim than great.
Then something caught my eye — a beautiful yellow flower among the dead leaves on the side of the road. Ah, new life! I was quickly reminded that even though fall represented dying, it also meant new life. Suddenly the problems of the world didn’t matter so much.
I was aware that Mother Nature always shows herself to us — if we’re paying attention — and that she cycles through a continuous process of birth, death, and renewal. It’s all in perfect balance.
In that moment, I was reminded that we, like nature, are also naturally balanced. Our inner being is always experiencing balance, happiness, and well-being at all times — whether or not we are paying attention to it.
Feeling despair and hopelessness makes us feel disconnected from our natural balance. When we soften our stance, step back from our lives, and realign with our inner being, we can feel balance again.
Balance is our natural state.
Need some relief? Re-experience balance by looking at nature:
• The birds and the bees; the flowers and the trees. Nature doesn’t try to impress you — it just shows up. Plants, animals, trees, and all other beings live as they do: beautiful and natural in their own colors, textures, smells, and sounds. It’s only when we stop and notice them that we can receive the benefits.
• The water flows. In order for us to work in harmony with water, we need to work with it, not against it. Knowing that water weighs a little over 8 pounds per gallon teaches us respect for momentum and elements that have more mass and power than we do. Just ask anyone who has swum in the ocean.
• The wind blows. There is always a perfect balance of airflow moving over our planet and following its orbit. Wind creates new energy and movement. It also fills the sails of our boats and propels us toward new destinations.
• The sun shines. As the center of our planetary system, the sun just shines. Its heat and light creates life. Our spinning Earth helps create the illusion of day and night, although the sun is always shining and its light is coming to us from years past.
• The planet spins. Our exquisite planet turns on its own in perfect time with a divine rhythm known only to the universe. But we respect it, even though we don’t completely understand it (well, at least most of us don’t).
• Natural disasters are natural. Floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, and all other natural forces have a purpose: to remind us that nature is nature — we cannot control her–and she will always follow her own rhythm to keep the planet in perfect balance.
• We breathe. Breathing is a part of our human being — the first thing we do when we enter the physical world, and last thing we do when we leave it. Nature gives us oxygen in the form of photosynthesis. Without nature, we couldn’t exist. Learning to honor the nature of our breath has profound impacts on our mind, body, and spirit.
Once we understand that nature constantly gives us clues and leads us toward the natural balance within us, we can breathe, relax, and move back into balance more quickly and easily.
The next time you’re having a down day, try taking a walk outside. Look at the flowers. Smell the air. Listen to the wind in the trees. Experience the perfect harmony that nature has to offer, and remember that you are also a part of it all. You can do this anytime, and it’s free.
So what are you waiting for?
Learn more about finding your natural balance in Balancing Work, Relationships & Life in Three Simple Steps, or another book in Michael’s collection at michaelsunnarborg.com/books