In January I joined the Women’s March in DC. Last weekend I Marched for Science in NYC. This weekend I’ll be returning to DC for the People’s Climate March. That’s a lot of marching for humanity, Earth, nature, and other beings.
It’s not always easy to keep up all this marching (and other activities). Sometimes it’s just easier to get discouraged and crawl into a corner. But somehow I always get myself back up, dust myself off, and start all over again. How do I and other people accomplish this?
This week and in the next few weeks, I’ll be exploring how some of us nurture ourselves through nature, so we can keep doing what we can to make this world a better place. Specifically, we’ll be answering the following questions:
1. Do you have a practice of nurturing yourself?
2. How are you nurtured by nature?
3. What do you do to nurture nature?
This week I’ll begin with myself and in the following weeks members of One Earth Conservation’s Advisory Team will also answer these questions.
Do I have a practice of nurturing myself? Well, yes, I actually have a few different practices that I’ve developed through the years. They vary as to how often and when I do them, but they all help to keep me energized, focused, and motivated to do what I want, or have, to do. One of my favorite practices is also one way that I nurture myself through nature (question #2), which is by taking morning walks. When the weather is mild and clear (or at least not stormy), I love to take a 30-minute walk to, through, and from a local greenway near where I live in Queens, NY. The fresh air, the lovely trees and plants, the birds, the small mammals, and the diversity of other people who are also walking all provide me with a wonderful way to start my day (not to mention to get my minimum amount of aerobic exercise!). I often wear headphones and listen to digital books or music, and by the time I get home, I’m raring to go.
Another way that I am nurtured by nature is to take “Dusty” breaks. Dusty is a 26-year-old cockatiel (and honorary avian member of One Earth Conservation’s Board of Directors). He lives in my home office and we keep each other company during the day. When I need a break from the computer screen, all I have to do is swivel my chair around and converse with my feathery friend. His sweet birdy talking and singing also provide a fun and soothing background for my work.
I was interested to learn recently that being in and around natural beauty has been proven by science to be good for you! It has been demonstrated that it can improve your health, your mood, your attention, and reduce stress, among other benefits.
To nurture nature in return, I provide “hands-on” care for Dusty, my houseplants, and, from spring through the fall, my organic garden. I am also a long-time and active advocate for and educator about environmental issues, especially those related to the climate crisis and wildlife conservation. In fact, in addition to caring for my family and friends, I consider nurturing nature my life’s work.
Perhaps you’ve found some ideas here that resonate with you. Or maybe you have your own way of answering these questions. We’d love to hear your stories, so please feel free to post comments with your answers to the questions. And check back in the coming weeks for other people’s stories about nurturing themselves and nature. Let’s all learn from each other.