Breathe With a Tree
I'd like to tell you about my experience in nature, nurturing myself yesterday.
In the morning, I sat in meditation. My practice in sitting was to simply watch the busy mind as it played on the playground of thoughts, and without judgement, to bring it back to the present moment. Sure, it's classic. And it never gets old. With tears accompanying the words, I shared heartfelt feelings with my meditation community and was met with support. Feelings of vulnerability came up and I was warmly received. I came out of the building, a bit emotional, and found a parking ticket on my vehicle but with compassionate communication, the parking enforcement officer tore it up, admitting he gave it to me for something that was not my fault.
Walking along a muddy path in a local Pacific Northwest State Park, I decided I needed a nature-reconnection exercise that was calming, stress-reducing, relaxing. I decided on a very simple breathing meditation I learned from a teacher and colleague, Rabbi Mike Comins of TorahTrek, called "Breathe with a Tree." I sat down and started the practice, feeling connected with my own breathing and physically close to the tree. Exhaling when it’s cold outside, the water vapor in your breath condenses into lots of tiny droplets of liquid water. It's a process is called condensation in scientific terms. It was a beautiful thing to observe happening in slow motion, without distraction. Just as I noticed this happening with my own breath, I looked at a fallen log in front of me...
In a hole in the tree, as the sun warmed the air around it and light illuminated the surrounding moss, the same thing happened with the water that had accumulated inside. The water came up as vapor and became part of the air. Instantly, I felt connected to all that was around me. The cycles of water, going inside of me and everything else, felt cleansing and renewing. It was beautiful.
At night, I danced, which is a profound practice for me and indeed something that's improved my life in extraordinary ways since I discovered it in Los Angeles around 5 years ago. I am sure I'll write much more about it over these two weeks.
And today, I look forward to my time on the trail with my dog, commuting on bike, and spending time in water. I hope you too do something for yourself, to reconnect to nature, to nurture your self. Please share it with me in the comments below!