Remaining grounded while living in the city can seem like a paradox. Tied up with endless to-do lists and ideas, we finish one project only to take on three more. The constant movement of our minds, inboxes, and city streets is nothing short of engulfing.
While this pace helps on the quest to achieve our goals, the most potent power — existence itself — will never match this high-strung energy. It is the ultimate equilibrium. Consistent and balanced, even when wildly untamed. Without intentionally slowing down to meet its rhythm, we quickly forget that we are in fact part of this power. Being busy or rushed is not necessarily synonymous with productivity and accomplishment. Real strength comes from harnessing the energy in calm.
No matter which city I’ve wandered to along my journey, finding stillness outdoors has been my greatest solace. Its impact has tremendously shaped the person I’ve grown to be. Whether it’s through nourishment from consuming them or solely existing among them, plants are effortlessly therapeutic. Emphasizing the importance of nature is the only message I hope always shines through in my work (hence the birth of this blog, Among the Flora). Today, I’m going to talk about a few ways I maintain balance with nature regardless of how crazy my schedule is or where I’m at on the map.
walk or bike whenever possible
Going from an enclosed area (home/office) to another confined space which moves (transportation) significantly contributes to the disconnect. With the way our society is set up, it’s not surprising we drift from our true essence quite easily. Bridge the gap by choosing to walk or bike to your destination whenever you can. This change of perspective will likely have you seeing things differently, even along streets you’ve driven for years.
explore your city
Traveling constantly is not an option for many, but thankfully, there is plenty of beauty right where you live. Every city has its own biodiversity, and there is always something to appreciate. Make it a short trip and find a local park to visit during the week, or look up a hiking trail to explore over the weekend.
go at a pace that works for you
Don’t get too hung up on defining what it means to love nature. You don’t need to own hiking boots or make homemade granola to be valid, so don’t stress about making grand commitments that could ultimately create extremes. This planet has so much to offer, and it does not hold bias, nor does it pick favorites. Incorporate what you know will work for your life. Experience the beauty in your way.
do an outdoor workout
As much as I love the gym, I’m a huge advocate for getting active outside. Part of the reason I offer group training in the park is to continue emphasizing the importance of being in nature. Exercising outdoors is genuinely life-giving, and your options are limitless! Wake up a little earlier for a morning walk, run in the park after work, do some restorative stretching after your gym session, or, really get into it with some high-intensity interval training!
take your meal outside
Even if you don’t have much time in your schedule, start by taking your meal outdoors and enjoying it in the sun. Especially with this oxygen-rich summer air! Ground your feet if you’re seated, or comfortably ground your sit bones If you’re on the grass. Breathe between each bite. As you eat, consider putting the phone down. It is far more satiating to express gratitude instead.
change your thoughts, change your life
Simply releasing guilt about not getting outside as much as you would like is enough to strengthen your oneness with nature. Instead of thinking you must “connect to” nature more, acknowledge that you already are part of it, always. The word ‘connecting’ implies there are two separate entities — it creates a separation where there is none. We are not “connecting to” nature… We ARE nature. There is no skill necessary to feel it’s energy, it is already our very essence. This change in mindset alone will naturally instill a deeper appreciation for the world around you.
I hope this inspires the addition of mindful practices into your routine. I could go on forever when I’m passionate, but remember, just keep it simple. If nothing else, simply bring awareness to your senses when outdoors.
lift your heart.
relax your shoulders.
savor the present.
become acutely aware of
sounds, scents, sensations.
you are part of this.