Letting Nature Be with Me

A few weeks ago some friends of mine came to visit from the Midwest and we took them rafting on our beautiful Deschutes river. It was so fun to share the beauty of Central Oregon with them and for all of us to be outside for several days, rafting, camping and enjoying the outdoors.
I feel so connected in nature. In nature, I seem to remember to stop more often and simply appreciate where I am. I remember to look around and take in the scenery in a way I just don’t as I move around doing all my tasks each day. It is the place where I naturally breathe more deeply and relax more fully.
Except when I don’t.
On the trip I felt at peace and completely connected to the land, the river and the wind until I got super focused on my tasks and making sure everything  and every body was okay. I worked so hard to make things go well. And they did. It was a lovely trip. Still – I noticed myself getting tense a few times, worrying and trying to control what was going on – in those moments I was disconnected and not feeling the joy of being where I was.
 It would take a conscious effort to again look up at the canyon walls, or watch for a few minutes the river flowing by, or stop and be awed by the 100’s of little orange butterflies flitting about and without much effort nature could bring me back and I would remember that all my little concerns were not big enough to allow them to overshadow the immensity of joy and connection that nature was supporting for me. But then, there were tasks….
I watched my friend, Helen, who is 12, in that nature environment and I was so inspired by the sense of freedom and joy that she exuded. We cooked dinner together – it was a task of connection and wonder. She was completely present in making all the little decisions we had to make to cook stir fry for 8 on a camp stove!
One morning she was chasing butterflies – completely unconcerned with all the drama of adults packing up camp. Actually it was an adult who labeled it “chasing”, but butterflies were also surrounding her and even alighting on her. She walked around camp for the longest time with this butterfly on her finger – free to fly away but content being with her.
I wondered – what would it be like if I could not only be inspired within nature but be so totally connected that nature would seek me out?
What if I was so present that nature was just always with me? What if, like my friend Helen, I could just let go and exude the joy I so often feel in life, all the time?
What if I never let the tasks take me away from that?
What would happen in my life, and in yours, if we could learn from Helen? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think?
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