Finding Dog in Nature.
In a recent post, I mentioned that I now schedule time in my calendar to “spy on the divine.” This isn’t easy to do while in quarantine, but one day I chose to just study an indoor plant for fifteen minutes. I used four of my five senses (didn’t taste it) to build a relationship with this plant whose name I didn’t even know.
If you’re stuck at home, here’s another option: a new, 3-minute PBS video of a hummingbird drone spy capturing slumbering butterflies coming alive.
Fortunately, we live in a part of the world that has allowed us to be out in nature more often than if I still lived in San Francisco. The Baja Peninsula has almost as many miles of coastland as California and Florida combined. Yes, you read that correctly. And, nearly all of this coastland is people-free. One of my favorite spy-partners is our dog, Jamie, who was with me on this recent walk down to a secret beach just a dozen minutes from our home and the MEA campus.
Whether you find God or Dog in the divine, there’s no doubt that nature is a cathedral for the soul. Not only does it remind us that the ghetto of our minds isn’t just occasionally dangerous, but it’s tediously dull. Whether it’s studying a houseplant or crabs scurrying on the rocks as the waves come in on this second short video with brave Jamie, when you connect to everything you escape feeling nothing. So many of us have numbed ourselves to the anxiety and pain we’ve felt during this lockdown.
I learned about animism in Bali nearly thirty years ago. It is the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Many Balinese perceive all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork—as being animated and alive. The venerable seniors org AARP spelled backwards hints at the start of the word “prana,” a Hindu way of describing breath or life force.
“Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old”
- Franz Kafka
Could you become a little more alive by seeing the aliveness in everything else? Could you take an “awe walk” in a healing forest this summer?