Nurturing Whole Health
Nature-connection has a powerful effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Wellness is not only about clean air, water, exercise and good food; it is also about feeling, seeing, appreciating and deeply connecting with ourselves, others and the beings and gifts of the natural world. We all share the same mother- Earth.
There are many ways to stay balanced and healthy. It's not only about nutrition and food or moving your physical body. The physical, emotional, nutritional, spiritual and environmental aspects of your life create your big health picture. In the frenetic activity of life, we often miss what is taking place daily in front of our eyes. Nature-connection has a powerful effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual health. Wellness is not only about clean air, water, exercise and good food; it is also about feeling, seeing, appreciating and deeply connecting with ourselves, others and the beings and gifts of the natural world. We all share the same mother- Earth.
I was given guidance a month ago to "Look up and pay attention to the birds." It was advice that made me grateful for the abundance of the diverse life I am surrounded by. The day after receiving this directive, I was taking a walk with my sister on a warm, spring evening. As we passed a spectacular blossoming, ornamental plum tree, we both looked up to see a brilliant gold finch sharing a branch with a ruby-throat-ed, emerald-green hummingbird. Both birds were glistening in the evening sun.
Two days later a powerful rain storm rolled in and I was warm and cozy in my little cottage. I am blessed with vaulted ceilings and high windows that lend themselves to looking up and out. I took a moment to stand at the high window in my loft. The rain was blowing horizontal. I looked out and up. On the wire extending past the front of my cottage, were two Crows. One was quite a bit larger than the other. The large Crow had it's right wing spread open, covering the smaller bird, protecting it from the heavy downpour. It warmed my heart to see such love and caring in the bird community.
I've been looking up for almost a month now. When I practice Snake Qigong by the creek, the meadow Crows come to watch from high in the trees. When I do, "Flying Snake", with my arms flapping slow and smooth, the Crows squawk at me. Sometimes I hear them asking why I keep flapping without taking flight.
Looking down is something else I've been doing. Specifically out my bedroom window to the nesting box below. Two Starlings moved in last June, as soon as three owletts fledged the box with their parents. One of the owls returned last October, at 5 a.m., on my birthday. She slept in the nest box for the day and I watched her pop out at dusk take flight over the meadow. She didn't return and the Starlings reclaimed their home the next day.
I've never been attracted to Starlings, but I have learned to love their hauntingly beautiful singing. The Starling pair hatched some babies a week ago and I've been listening to the hungry little chirps as mama and papa alternate with the constant early morning feedings. I quietly look down, out my window to peek at the Starlings and observe their morning life.
I felt a lump in my stomach, knowing the baby birds did not survive the night. At the same moment, I felt the hope of more new life in the box- a clutch of little Screech Owls. I simply noticed and felt the rhythm of life and death and life.
Last night was very warm and I slept with my window open, nestled next to my tiny stuffed animal owl, tucked close to my belly. Just as I turned out my light, I heard an owl hoot. My heart fluttered with excitement at the thought that an owl, my spirit totem animal, was close. At some point after dropping into a deep sleep, I was roused by thumping and the sound of loud bird tweets and squawks. In my dream-state, I knew the owl had taken over the nest box. About 6 a.m. I awakened to the sounds of Crows, Blue Jays and Starlings. I knew immediately that an owl had moved into the box and was settling in for its day-long sleep. All morning the distressed Starlings hopped about chirping on the branches of the oak tree that reach out toward the nest box. I felt a lump in my stomach, knowing the baby birds did not survive the night. At the same moment, I felt the hope of more new life in the box- a clutch of little screech owls. I simply noticed and felt the rhythm of life and death and life.
This evening I heard the Starlings tweeting and chirping, just before sunset and then they were gone. I kept making trips outside to see if the owl was awake and peeking out of the nest box. First there was nothing to see and I entertained a moment of doubt. Had I actually heard the drama and trauma in the nest box during the night? I waited and returned as it became a little darker. I looked up, and there was the face of a little Western Screech Owl, flush with the small opening in the nest box. I stood below and spoke to her. She eventually relaxed and popped her breast through the small opening in the box, preparing to swoop across the meadow, to her new hunting grounds.
This past month has been a powerful time to step outside of myself and the multitude of places where I tend to get stuck or lost in my work, making future plans or dealing with daily stresses. Looking up and seeing the abundance of awesome life in my environment has offered me a potent sense of balance and joy.
The Owl arrived on the New Moon; the darkest night of the month. Owl comes to teach about wisdom, strength and the ability to see through the darkest of nights. Owl, protector and seer in the night. Look up.