Stillness. Patience. Presence.

Nature teaches us stillness, patience, presence, resilience, balance, acceptance.

What does the world teach us?

I have fibromyalgia. My central nervous system is hypersensitised, a condition that manifests largely as chronic pain. Pain is a warning signal and my body is trying to protect itself but it senses any kind of perceived danger as a higher threat than it should.

What heals me (and the only thing that has ever worked) is slowing down and coming back to nature. Breathing. Balancing. Reconnecting.

It is not accidental that the earth produces food that contain the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy, that plants are medicine, that the cycles of day and night trigger chemicals that regulate sleep, that we flow with seasons, the tides and the moon.

I often think that humans are the only species who actively create and cultivate a living environment that is so contrary to our needs that it’s counterintuitive to our existence. Everything else in nature seeks to work in and with the existing cycles, to learn and adapt in a way that gives them the best chance of healthy survival. Meanwhile, our world continues to get faster, louder and more removed, ignoring our innate needs (or worse, capitalising on them). The system is broken, but it moves so fast that turning it back now becomes almost impossible.

How then do I balance the needs of my body and mind in this current environment?

If we take the time to notice, nature is always speaking to us and there is poetry and healing in its ways. A moth takes shelter from an afternoon storm on my kitchen window, another waits for the morning light on the bedroom curtains. And suddenly, because I am looking, they are everywhere. One protects the front door of my house, one on the window of my doctor’s office gives me hope on a dark day. Moths, like butterflies, are symbolically associated with transition, change, and even death but the ones I find are teaching me peace. Stillness. Patience. Presence.

The earth calls me to ground, to dig my feet into the dirt. The ocean moves in and out like breath. The raindrops pick out notes like keys on a piano, a heartbeat. My body is like the wind. Some days it is a light breeze, often it is a storm. Both are necessary, but the balance could be better and I’m learning.

What I know now is that we are not (as society would tell us) supposed to live in a way that is so separated. Our strengths, weaknesses, beliefs and practices need to carry through everything we do, and like the ocean and the wind we need to embrace all sides. These connections I am building now will need to be an integral part of how I participate in the world. I’m still figuring out what that looks like.

Empathy. Creativity. Curiosity.

Stillness. Patience. Presence. Resilience. Balance. Acceptance.