A month ago, I took a trip with my husband to the French-Caribbean island of Martinique. My husband is from Martinique, so it’s like home for us. Each time I go, I am welcomed with the embrace of Martinique’s exquisite natural beauty – lush forests, purifying sunlight, cleansing rain showers, wise rivers and oceans. And when I leave, I take with me a new and deeper gift of inner-knowledge. It’s always a transformative experience.
On this trip, I spent some time at L’Anse Ceron, a small beach nestled within the Caribbean Sea on the North West coast of the island. L’Anse Ceron is not as known to tourists, so it’s the ideal spot for a quiet, contemplative retreat. Though I have frequented this beach many times, I always discover something new. My soul was being called for some seaside therapy, and I knew L’Anse Ceron would have just the remedy that I needed. Nature is intuitive and intelligent like that.
I have this ritual of silently saluting the water each time I draw near it. It’s my way of offering respect and clearing space to receive. Not doing so always feels uncomfortable to me - like entering someone’s home without a proper greeting. If we can greet each other, certainly we can greet the natural elements that ensure the livelihoods of everyone on this planet.
As a wave of the Caribbean Sea brushed over my feet, I was acknowledged with majestic benevolence. And in that moment, my soul was overcome by gratitude and adoration. I felt both colossal and microscopic all at the same time. All I could do was just stand there. All I could do was just pause. That moment felt as new as the very first time I experienced it. And then I realized the relevance of seeing everything anew.
Like many, I am habituated in “looking at,” but not seeing. Looking at the vastness of the sea is not the same as really seeing it. To really see is to see with the heart. The heart can see the same sea as something new and lovely. I learned that I have been “looking at” things in my life through the lens and perceptions of yesterday. By resetting the way that I see the daily events of my life to the present, I can allow my heart to invite more love in.
And it is precisely because of moments like the one I experienced at L’Anse Ceron, that I am reminded of why I love and appreciate nature so much. I love the new discoveries. I love the wisdom. I love how nature makes me feel. But mostly, I love how nature is always available to outpour love. Nature is like a Valentine’s Day gift that keeps giving.
Leondria (Lea) Taty is a clinical instructor and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), with board certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Holistic Nurse. She facilitates people on their journey of wellness through a blend of conventional and evidence-based complementary and alternative modalities. She also loves to write, and regularly contributes healthcare content within the medical community. She also loves “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” and is actively trying to live an adventurous version of her own.
February is the season of love. As cupid shoots his arrow into our hearts, let’s take a moment to celebrate something we all love for different reasons-nature. Here are seven reasons we may love nature. I would love to hear what you would add to this list.
#1 Nature Accepts Everyone
No matter what color you are, how many years you have tucked under your belt, where you live, what gender you call yourself, nature welcomes all.
#2 Nature is Free
Engaging in nature can be as simple as stepping outside and breathing in a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air (assuming you live where the air is clean), dipping your toes in the ocean, or planting a seed in the soil.
#3 Nature Is Fun
Think back to your childhood days. Does a smile creep onto your face remembering raking leaves into a giant pile and then jumping in them? Playing flashlight tag under the stars on a warm summer night with friends? As an adult do you enjoy living through a child’s eyes as they toss a stone in a pond and jump for joy as it splashes sending rippling circles from the epicenter? Maybe you just enjoyed a long bike ride through the country with friends. It doesn’t take much to have fun outside.
#4 Nature Calms Our Brains
Whether it is the lure of a gushing waterfall, the mesmerizing effect of watching birds visit the birdfeeder or leaving our cares behind to focus on finding the perfect shell on miles of sand, nature has a way of putting our busy, overactive minds at ease.
#5 Nature Is A Free Gym
We can leave our excuses on the couch and burn away unneeded pounds simply by engaging in nature.
Lawn Mowing: On average we burn about fifty calories every eight minutes of walking with the lawnmower.
Hiking: You can burn fifty calories in just six minutes of intense hiking.
Play fetch with Fido: Your pets love the outdoors too! Fifteen minutes of playing fetch burns an average of fifty calories.
#6 Nature Inspires Our Creativity
Feeling stuck, in a rut? New research shows that a walk in nature can help break our ruminating thoughts, the ones that swirl around and around like a cow chewing on grass. This opens the mind to new thoughts and ideas.
#7 Nature Gives Us Food
Deep blue berries, juicy strawberries, crunchy celery, tart apples-the list are endless and it all comes from nature. What’s not to love about that?
What reasons would you add to love nature?
Happy Valentine's Day!