As the first of our guest bloggers, we’re delighted to share this post from Jen Grange whose approach to the natural world, and our relationship to it, is both gentle and inspiring.
Jen is a self-confessed tree hugger with a passion for the environment and connecting people with nature. She works for Natural England and has her own business, Lakeland Well-being, offering holistic therapies and coaching. As a qualified forest bathing guide, Jen understands the benefits that being in nature has for emotional and physical well-being and uses this as a method for transformation and healing. A mum of two young children, who are always out and about in nature, she is keen to inspire others and has a Facebook page ‘Outdoor Mummy’ giving parents and carers ideas and inspiration to get outside and engage with the natural world. It’s a pleasure to have her share her thoughts with us.
Each Act Counts
In October I was delighted and humbled to spend a weekend in the beautiful Duddon valley with the Somewhere Nowhere Associates; 7 people (plus the wonderful Harriet & Rob) with huge passion for the environment and our landscape, and the drive to make a difference.
My gift of the weekend was a beautiful Monterey Pine seedling planted in a coloured book; yellow for the solar plexus chakra, symbolising personal power and self-belief with the words ‘Every Act Counts’ on the spine.
This got me thinking, how can I make a difference to our environment and our planet? Just one person amongst many; often we can feel so powerless. But, I believe in the Ripple Effect, like ripples expanding across the water when a pebble is dropped into it. One small act can have a great impact!
In his book ‘Love Letter to the Earth’ The Buddhist Teacher Thich Nat Hahn says that real change will only happen when we fall in love with our planet; when you love someone, you want to take care of that person as you would take care of yourself.
But, he says, the first step on that journey is to love ourselves and only when we are free of suffering can we be open to respond to the threats of climate change and beyond and take action to protect the Earth.
So how do we begin to love ourselves? Perhaps you already do? But with all the stresses we (and society) place on ourselves, it is often hard to find the space to look within and connect.
I spend a lot of time in nature (although not enough for my liking). This is my healing time, the opportunity to get the nourishment I need, to connect with the earth, to feel grounded and at peace. I run, walk, sit and meditate all of which help me to appreciate my body and my connectedness with everything on our planet. This makes me calmer and kinder and gives me the space to connect with others in a more meaningful way.
When we are kind to someone it makes them feel valued and appreciated. Their elevated mood and their acts of kindness then transpire to others and so on… As Thich Nat Hahn says, (can you tell I’m a bit of a fan?) when we are happy and free of suffering we have more capacity to love others and our planet.
So, take time for yourself today. Stop and appreciate what you have. Find your own way to unwind and nourish yourself. Be kind, smile, help someone else have a better day. Because your one act of kindness (even to yourself) will spread around the world and make it a better place for us all. J