The name says it already: you can protect nature on a spiritual level, too. Because we protect what we love. I don't know anybody who doesn't like nature. All of us can feel that nature is the basis of our life, that she touches something deep within us, that she's full of wonders. But the problem is that we view ourselves as separate from nature and that's where spirituality comes in.
Don't worry you don't have to be particularly spiritual to practice spiritual nature conservation, but just be motivated to bring nature conservation onto another level. A level that rather takes place on the inside than the outside. We need people that are active and loud in order to be heard, but we also need the more silent, more individual tones and that's where my work begins.
In this post I share some thoughts, exercises and habits that aim to inspire you to integrate the quiet level of nature conservation into your daily life. I invite you to try different things, but to also find your own way.
Questioning your habits
We humans are creatures of habit and therefore we often don't even notice that some of our habits could be changed fairly easily, which would already be a small contribution to the protection of the environment. I'm especially addressing our consumer behaviour. We live in exuberance and that has a massive impact on our planet. Perhaps you can be more mindful when you go shopping next time. Walk consciously through the supermarket and ask yourself what you really need, what you can perhaps make yourself and if the product really is the best choice for the planet and your health. It's unfair that buying organic, local and seasonal is mostly more expensive, but if you look at the bigger picture the higher price probably is worth it if we can support nature in that way.
Not only with your food choices you can influence your decisions concerning your consumption, but also with everything else: buy second hand clothing, so that no new product has to be generated; choose taking the train instead of the plane; create car pools, so that fewer cars are on the streets; question your meat consumption; recycle; renounce some things once in a while and so forth.
Changes are uncomfortable, I know, and in the beginning it needs a certain effort. To incorporate a new habit into your life, you need to give yourself more or less a month.
Time in nature and for yourself
In order to feel deeply connected to nature, you need to spend time in and with her. It's like with a relationship with another person: you have to get to know each other, listen, give time, devote yourself, be interested. Mindfully spending time in nature means being here with all your senses wide open. No earphones on your ears, no phone calls, no quick-quick. Take in your surroundings, lean your back against a tree trunk, talk to the flowers, listen to the birds. Be mindful and present. In the best case you're in nature every day, even if it's "only" half an hour. But find out how this conscious time in nature fits into your week.
It's the same with the time you take for yourself. Perhaps the time in nature is also the time in which you focus on yourself. Of course that can also happen on the yoga mat, while jogging or even while washing the dishes. For it's again the intention and the mindfulness that matters. Ask yourself how you're doing in that moment and what you need. By being in touch with yourself, you get to know yourself better and you'll become more content, because the waves of life won't throw you off that easily anymore. Working on yourself is also spiritual nature conservation because people who are more content make more content decisions, recognize the beauty surrounding us and focus on what is already here.
Recognizing the rhythm
We are rhythmic beings, which we have forgotten. In our society it's expected of us to always function in the same way, namely: fast, efficient, extroverted and like everybody else. Meanwhile we neglect the phases of rest and taking breaks and not seldom we burn out. Like the different seasons in nature we are asked to invite various qualities into our lives in order to live our lives sustainably. Often the emergent and active energy of spring and summer is already present and that's why it's important to let the qualities of fall and winter in: reflection, slowness, retreating, resting, dreaming.
If you are familiar with the phases of the moon, you could find those qualities in the course of a month and notice if you could be more extroverted when the moon is waxing and full and more introverted when the moon is waning and new. Furthermore I would like to invite all readers who have a cycle to really get to know the different phases of the menstruation cycle and to bring more awareness into those impressive functions of our body.
Our fast-paced world yearns for slowness. Looking at nature we can find slowness at once. A tree takes its time to grow; mountains are created over the span of millions of years; water doesn't hurry to reach the sea, it takes many bends, is collected in lakes or flows into the ground to then be evaporated again and restart the cycle; if the conditions for growing aren't optimal, mosses can fall asleep for hundreds of years and then just carry on growing after that. In order to grow we need breaks. And while becoming slower, we become more mindful and more aware. We elevate our energy budget, because we are able to recharge. We are more content, because we are not stressed out. But to invite slowness, we have to let go, listen to our needs and oftentimes also start living according to the motto "less is more". It's a question of priority: do you want to keep on doing what you're doing because you're used to it? Or do you start to make your wellness your priority and therefore live healthier and more connected in the longterm?
I have already written about it, but simple living is part of spiritual nature conservation, too. What can you do on a day to day basis to support nature? Perhaps it's some of the above, maybe not. I leave you with a few suggestions on what simple living might look like for me. They are suggestion that can help Mother Earth along the way:
- Learn how to make things yourself: bake your own bread; fix things that are broken; sow your own clothes; cook all your meals, even those you take to work; plant your own vegetables.
- Work less (if you can): you might earn less, but in my book your time is much more important, especially if you aren't happy with your job. You might have to do without one or the other luxury item, but instead you will have time to rest or to do what you really want to do.
- Renounce certain things: don't buy new clothes; sell your car; vacation close by; don't just buy from big supermarket chains, support your local businesses, in the best case those who sell their items without packaging.
- Use what you have: your gym can be the forest; find out what plants can be foraged and incorporate them into your meals; learn about the method of the capsule wardrobe and shop the clothes you already have; swap things with your friends or rent them.
- Get inspired: find people who have already gone the path you want to be on or that live in a similar style as you. Maybe there are zero-waste-groups in your area or you take part in a women's circle. Maybe you get inspired by videos from people who build their own house or maybe you find a few great content creators on instagram that might help you find your way.