Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. Victor Hugo, French poet
We have friends visiting from Boston, MA who are birders. It is their great joy to observe birds in nature and discover unusual species. Yesterday, we took them bird watching in the Everglades where we discovered hundreds of birds nesting for the evening along with a couple of alligators.
It’s wonderful to see seventy-somethings light up like children as they discover new treasures. Nature holds abundant wonders. We just need to make the effort to get out there and see what lights us up.
Affirmation: I enjoy the abundance nature provides.
Coaching questions: What in nature lights you up? What keeps you from exploring the outside world (besides the current cold and snow)?
Flowers always make people better; happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank, American botanist
Yesterday I took my out-of-town friends to Naples Botanical Gardens, a magical land of plants and flowers. Being there, we felt relaxed, happy, in tune with nature. Flowers truly are medicine for the soul.
If you’re living where it’s cold and snowy, take yourself to an imaginary garden. Look at photos of flowers, buy a blooming violet plant, or look through a seed catalogue. You’ll feel better about yourself and the world.
Affirmation: Flowers feed my soul.
Coaching question: What will you do to let flowers work their magic on you?
- I took this photo in the Orchid Garden.
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. Muhammad Ali, Professional boxer, activist, philanthropist
The Dead Sea is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west. It is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. The Dead Sea receives beautiful fresh water from rivers and other sources but it has no outlet so no water passes out. With no outlet, the water in the sea goes dank, it goes bad. That’s why it is called The Dead Sea. It is dead because it receives but doesn’t give.
We are a part of nature just like the Dead Sea. As we receive, we must also give in order to not turn dank, shrivel up and die inside. In other words, generosity, caring for and about others is what gives us a joy-filled, healthy life. When we focus on ourselves…our own misfortunes, grief, slights, guilts, trials and tribulations…we lose the thread that attaches us to joy. We begin to unravel.
Affirmation: I find joy in giving.
Coaching questions: What keeps you from becoming a “dead sea?” What is one new way you can serve? What difference might it make in your life?
Walking in a leafy area for 90 minutes can keep you from dwelling on negative thoughts. Stanford resarchers
Are you a ruminator, “worry wort”, or anxiety-laden person? If you are, you might want to try shinrin-yoku, the Japanese stress-reduction practice of forest bathing. That’s right…bathing…soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of the woods or other tree-dense environment.
Yesterday I finally had the chance to walk to my favorite nature center. The most exhilarating part for me was the spring flowers along the way…iris, peonies, flowering trees. But the tall ancient oaks in my little northern town of Itasca were the real, “Ahhhh” of the walk. It was a short stroll taken late in the day but upon returning home where the jets fly low on their way to O’Hare Airport, I felt calmer and more peaceful. Perhaps not a “forest bath” but at least a refreshing “wash up”.
Affirmation: Nature soothes me.
Coaching questions: Research says that the typical American only spends 5% of his or her time outside. Is this your experience? What would a walk in the woods…a forest bath…do for you? Are you willing to check it out?