Nature, Our Teacher
Everybody I know gets energized when we spend time in a forest or somewhere where nature is predominant. The lush green of leafy trees, the bright shades of colors in flowers, or the observation of wildlife offers us to look at our lives with open eyes. And they can even teach us a thing about communication.
I recently read the book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben, and the messages on how trees work in their ecosystem was astonishing. During a visit to nature, we usually observe the entirety of a forest, ocean, river, or field. We notice how much more is going on underneath the surface if we start using a magnifying glass. In his book, Wohlleben describes how trees have families and how they communicate with each other when one shall bloom their leaves, when it is their turn, how to help a tree in need, or how to restore water to survive a drought. Also, how they prepare for the cold season and when they know warmer weather is here to stay. Walking into a forest or just our backyards, we don't realize what happens while doing our own thing.
What is interesting to me, when reading this book, was how similar we are to trees and the natural ecosystem. We both have emotions and experiences that change our lives, and we both prepare for new seasons ahead of us. We, too, have a lot going on underneath our surfaces. There might be stories we never shared with a soul, and we worked very hard to keep them hidden from the people we love. By opening up and bare witness to how we feel in a particular situation we might get the care we need.
Receiving the care begins with communication. Be it internally or externally; communication is what makes all the difference. Not any kind of communication will do it. We need to know what is happening below our appearance. It is essential to understand our tendencies and narratives we told ourselves to make sure we have a valuable conversation that doesn't lead us to new challenges.
But how do we do that? Isn't it impossible to control our emotions? How will I remember at the right time to implement a relevant tool? There is only one answer: practice. And not just any practice. After exploring and learning about the concept of our breath, it is clear that this is the only tool that we can always access. It is a tool that teaches us about our internal conversation, especially connecting our mental activity to the physical expressions, from heart racing, sweaty, cold hands or feet, and many other indications. When we include more awareness of when and how we are breathing throughout the day, we begin by being more present and noticing when a particular comment or reaction is causing us to overreact.
After reading about the trees' stories and life cycles, I realized how to increase my awareness of life and not miss out on little nuances throughout the day that could give me new meaning. Going into a forest, I see each tree and bush for being an individual as part of a community. I begin to realize that by understanding myself better, I can have a more significant impact on my community. There is a balance between what I need and what the community could receive. So if I can be more accessible to my needs, I can cater to everybody around me. Let's start by raising awareness of each breath we take.