How Reconnecting with Nature is the Starting Point to a Mindful Lifestyle
A wise man once said that what we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. The Amazon is burning and what a heartbreaking metaphor that is about what is happening to humanity. We´ve evolved so much and have yet learned so little. We´ve drifted away from nature, forgetting and ignoring it, foolishly thinking we can engineer ourselves another one.
For many years we´ve turned our eyes away from oceans, forests and mountains, only to be awakened now and find out we weren´t having a bad dream and the oceans are indeed full of plastics, icebergs are actually melting and rainforests are burning away along with all the wonderful species that call it home. And I´m not even saying we´re now fully aware. We aren´t. At least the vast majority of us aren´t. We have a huge knowledge deficit. We don´t fully understand what´s happening. And that´s partially because we don´t care but also because our brains are overwhelmed by so many more problems that are easier to understand. Like crime, poverty or disease. And if anything, we focus on those. We don´t focus on something that does not have a more or less immediate and palpable impact on our lives. We think small. We think about the right now and too little about tomorrow. And oh what a trap that can be.
We cannot continue with this apathetic stance. Not towards nature, nor towards our fellow human beings whose only fault for being ignored is that they don´t attract media coverage. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to fix the planet we all contributed to spoil. No superheroes will save us. No scientists nor politicians will proudly announce one day that they figured out the algorithm to humanity´s problems. It´s on us.
So what can you do? Every path to a solution starts with the acknowledgement that there is a problem. So start with a walk through nature. Pick a forest or even a local park if you can´t get to a forest. We´ve been hiking through the Sintra forest for the past two weekends as you can see in these pics. Give yourself the chance to reconnect to nature. Breathe in the fresh air, observe the light making its way through the tall trees all the way to the ground it´s trying to nurture. Climb a tree and remember how when you were a child, you and your friends claimed trees as your houses. Now imagine that many people do not have that luxury. Many people do not benefit from green forests all around them. From the shade of trees and the fruit of the bushes. Many people walk through the desert (be it an urban one or an actual desert) only to hear it whisper "Let this be a warning. Protect your forests." Then go home. Educate yourself and let what´s happening to nature really sink in. No matter how painful or shameful that might be.
Start small and dream big. Recycle. Your trash, your clothes, your furniture. Reuse. And if you have to buy new, be mindful about what you´re buying. Choose quality over quantity. Research the products you´re buying. Waste less. Share more. Donate. Find causes you believe in and help as much as you can. And finally, educate others. Because if you give a man a fish, you´ve fed him for a day. But if you teach him how to fish, you´ll have fed him for a lifetime. Educating others is the biggest way of widening your scope of impact. And boy, do we need scope of impact. Our forests, our oceans, our animals and birds and our fellow humans´ life depend on it.