Guest Writer Cindy Coe Outdoors
“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”
Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl (written after nearly two years of hiding indoors)
Go Outdoors, Find the Peace of God
Since moving into air-conditioned dwellings and enclosed, air-tight work places, people have been cut off from nature to the point of having “nature deficit disorders.” Humans need time in the natural world. Our brains work better when we are outdoors in nature. We are calmer when we spend time outdoors. Nature makes us feel better. But in the twenty-first century, we are spending less time outdoors than perhaps any other humans in history.
We face a barrage of information and digital notifications, emails, reminders, and demands on our time and attention as a result of our new dependence on computers and the internet. We’re constantly reminded and aware of problems all over the world, including both traffic snares a block away and bombing of entire cities thousands of miles away. News of events we wouldn’t have known about years ago is now delivered to our pockets or in front of our faces minutes after these events take place.
We have never needed peace, quiet, and a sense of calm more than now. We might stop, look around us, and realize that time in nature is a spiritual practice we can do virtually anywhere we are, on our own time, and in our own way. Time in the wilderness is both an ancient and “new” means of healing, of connectedness with God, and of harmony with the world around us.
Time in the wilderness requires no words, no divisive doctrines, no organization, and usually little or no cost. Anywhere we live, we can likely find just a little patch of grass or sand, a small bit of forest, a tiny garden, or maybe just one tree. “Nature” includes both national parks and the house plant in your home or office.
If we try just a bit, we can usually find true wilderness in our lives. This wilderness might be a stand of trees at the end of a country road. It might be a tiny flower garden wedged between two town houses. It is in this wilderness that we might find our own sense of peace, our own answers to questions of life, death, and new birth.
This post is an excerpt from Considering Birds & Lilies: Finding Peace & Harmony with the Everyday World Around Us by Cynthia Coe. Text and photo Copyright 2017 by Cynthia Coe.