Last night it snowed in Chicago and I braced myself, not against the snow, the wind, or the cold, but from the onslaught of groans and moans heard throughout the neighborhoods, broadcasted on Facebook, and heard on every TV station. Yes, it snowed and yes, it’s April, but I feel like everyone needs to cut Mother Nature a break.
I am looking forward to the warmer months ahead as much as everyone else is. I can’t wait to see the flowers and walk outside without a coat or jacket, but I’m kind of okay with the fact that it snowed. First of all, it was beautiful. It clung to every branch and outlined every blade of grass turning the world into a fairytale. And also, it’s going to be completely melted by the end of today, so there is no need to complain when next week you won’t even remember it as a consequential event.
Living in the Midwest, we are used to unpredictable weather and come to expect we have no idea what one season my have in store for us from the next. But for some reason we feel we haven’t truly lived through it until we’ve complained about the cold, the snow, the rain, the wind, the heat, the sun, the lack of sun, etc., and I feel that this is because we are so utterly disconnected from nature and from our truest selves. Most people would rather believe the natural world lies outside of us instead of inside of us.
There have been so many times in my life in which I gazed upon a meadow, canyon, or mountain and been in awe of all that surrounded me. Even the smallest things in nature can be completely enchanting. The tiny buds starting to form on the branches of the trees and small shoots of green starting to break through the soil can help you breathe deeper and focus on the here and now if we take the time to pay attention.
Often we hear we need to get outside in nature once a day – that it’s good for our health and state of being. But what we don’t hear is that we need to be out in nature because we are nature. When we connect with the sky, the trees, the birds, the life of nature, we are connecting with ourselves. Perhaps, the truest part of ourselves in every way.
How often have you looked at a sunrise and thought, “How beautiful!” to then have looked in the mirror to see all of the flaws within your natural beauty instead of with the same awe and satisfaction at the grandest rise of the sun. We fail to see the perfection of nature within ourselves and because of this disconnect most of the human race chooses to be nonchalant about the health of our planet, as that it is something outside ourselves, instead of something we are a part of.
When I look out from the podium at my students practicing their yoga I see nature in motion. I see beauty and perfection at every stretch and compression within the series. My only wish is that they would see their own reflection as one that has no flaws, but has been created with nature’s perfect plan in each and every one of their cells. Of course you come to the yoga to improve, to get better, to heal, but it can also be a celebration of being in this body, having gratitude for the experience, and choosing to see all of the good, instead of complaining about what you feel you have not been blessed with. To be nature is to be beauty. You are that. I am that. We all are that.
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