My husband and I recently returned from a long weekend kayaking and camping on the Broken Islands off the west coast of Vancouver Island. It is truly a magical place!
For many years I was a driven professional woman with a packed agenda involved in work I was passionate about. My mind and my body were constantly “on the go”. At this phase in my life, I’ve made the decision to take some time to reflect, spend more time in nature and notice what I’m “called” to do. Here are some of the lessons Nature can teach us based on thinking about our recent weekend “off the grid”.
Lesson #1 – Relax
Have you noticed when you’re in nature how much more relaxed you feel? The Japanese have done longitudinal research to show that when we walk among trees it reduces our blood pressure, reduces our heart rate and increases the number of natural killer cells our body produces. In other words, it strengthens our immune system. As leaders and change makers it is important to “get off the treadmill” and take some time out of our busy lives to truly relax, and nature is the perfect remedy.
Lesson #2 – Trust
One morning when I climbed out of our tent I noticed that the fog was down to the ground and visibility was extremely limited. I’m not keen on kayaking in fog and said to myself, this will burn off. I trusted that the sun would burn off the fog and the visibility would return, and it did! As leaders it’s important when things aren’t going the way we wish to trust that things will work out, and that we will learn something from the experience.
Lesson #3 – Presence
Last weekend I noticed that I was truly present much of the time. I was focused on what was in front of me while kayaking and when speaking with my partner. It is important to notice changes in the wind, clouds, tides and currents when you’re kayaking on the ocean. Likewise, as leaders it is important to be present in our work and personal lives and also to be alert to change or the need for it.
Lesson #4 – Playfulness
When I watch birds flying on air currents and humpback whales jumping, it reminds me of the importance of taking time to be playful and to connect with my inner child. It gets me thinking: How can I inject more playfulness into my life? What about you?
Lesson #5 – Courage
Most animals have predators. While off the grid, we saw an amazing array of creatures; from bears to whales, to dolphins, mice and tadpoles. When these animals show themselves, it takes courage, as not only do we as humans see them, but they open themselves up to being seen by their predators. How can you be more courageous in your life and work?
Lesson #6 – Creativity
We experienced an amazing sunset while camping. When gazing at a sunset and watching it change, it reminds me of someone taking a paintbrush and constantly adding and changing colors and tones. In our work, it is important to take some risks and come up with creative solutions to those issues that arise.
Lesson #7 – Beauty
When spending time in nature it’s difficult not to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and to be amazed by the diversity. In our lives as leaders and changemakers, it is important to recognize and appreciate the diversity among our teams and also the beauty in how we “dance” together
Nature is such a powerful teacher. To relax, trust, be present, playful, courageous and creative, are a few of the lessons we can learn from nature. These are powerful reminders for us as we navigate our lives as leaders and changemakers. I encourage you to spend more time in nature and to notice what YOU notice.
I’d love to hear from you. How does nature inspire you? I welcome your comments and invite you to share your experiences below.
Hi Pam, Thanks for sharing your glorious adventure of the Broken Islands. I hear it is a spectacular area; you did a marvelous job of sharing it with me as I sit on my couch with a broken foot!! You brought home just how much I am missing getting out there into BC’s natural beauty and allowing nature to heal and strengthen me.
Being stagnant and contained plays the opposite effect on ones energy. Until reading your post I hadn’t really put 2 and 2 together. I’m finding this stagnation difficult to deal with as I am generally on the go all the time, whether being busy with stuff, or walking in the forests and beaches of my area drawing strength and healing from the universe.
So thanks for helping me see that what I’m struggling with at the moment is my lack of tonic with life’s beauty. Until this containment is over with I have to spend more time being still within and drawing from my inner strength.
As with everything, this too will pass.
I hope you’re OK with me sharing your post with my son who is going through some life changes at the moment. I believe he will feel your energy here and draw strength from your message.
Hope to catch up with you soon. Ciao for now.
Sorry to hear you have a broken foot! I can feel your pain being “held captive” during this beautiful weather we’ve been having. I hope you’re healed and able to get out in nature soon.
I’m happy my post struck a chord with you and gave you some insight and support. Feel free to share this post or any of mine with your son or any other person you think might benefit.
Get well soon! Warmly, Pam
Great lessons to reflect on, Pam. I, too, am deliberately taking time to be present in nature to refresh and nurture myself. We definitely shouldn’t just wait for summer to do so. Thanks for the great post!
Hi Bonnie, Good for you to take time in nature to refresh and nurture yourself! You are so right, we should not only do this in summer. Happy you enjoyed the post.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom Pam. This is so enriching and inspiring. I have learnt some lessons I need to implement.
Hello Leila, I’m happy you found the article enriching and inspiring. Best of luck implementing some of nature’s lessons. Thanks for your kind words. Warmly, Pam
Nature has been my greatest teacher. Your lessons should be taught in schools along with reading and math! Great post.
Hi Barb, Thanks for your kind words and recommendation. It is true that it is important for children to learn the value of being in nature from a young age. You may be interested to know that Richard Louv coined the term “Nature Deficit Disorder” in 2005 and is doing some interesting research and advocacy work in this area. Here’s a link: https://www.childrenandnature.org/about/nature-deficit-disorder/ . Warmly, Pam
Hi Pamela. I love nature and in my student years in London, I’d escape from the city and go to more rural areas for walks with my friends (the benefits of British Rail). Fast forward almost 3 decades later and I still find refuge from the chaotic world while walking my Miss Coco. Our routine is to take a round in our complex and the reward is time in the garden. The little dog does her rolling in the grass while I sit and do nature meditation. It’s a true Zen moment.
Hi Vatsula, Thanks for sharing your experiences and insights regarding nature. It’s so true that sharing the nature experience with an animal friend is also an enriching experience. Warm Regards, Pam
Wonderful article celebrating a beautiful part of the world where one can still be really close to Nature. When I was called to New Zealand over 10 years ago, I had little notion of the role that Gaia would play in my life. I learned how to listen to and speak to Nature and how to stay calm in and yet be awe inspired at the Earth’s power during a major earthquake. Many of my a-ha moments have come from observing Nature and I feel my greatest lesson has been learning patience and that everything has its season. Thank you for sharing your beautiful insights.
Hi Trilby, New Zealand is a part of the world I’ve never been to that I understand is so beautiful! I love the lesson you have learned from nature about learning patience and that everything has a season. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. Warmly, Pam
Your title caught my attention as I know nature has so much to teach us change makers, thank you for sharing. The being present is one that touches my heart always xo
Hi Suzie, You also live in a beautiful part of the world. Thanks for sharing the lesson from nature that inspires you the most. Warmly, Pam
I agree with all your lessons. Nature is healing on many levels. I always feel better when I am outdoors. Thanks Pam for a great blog!
Hi Lisa, Happy you found the blog useful. I appreciate your positive feedback. Warmly, Pam
Nature is my greatest teacher and healer. Thank you for inspiring me to add another location to my bucket list of places to visit. Ah… I can smell the fresh air through the photograph. I love to kayak and always look forward to spending time on the water.
Hi Cindy, Nature is indeed healing as well as a great teacher. I’m happy I inspired you. Yes, Vancouver Island has many beautiful places to visit. Happy kayaking! Warmly, Pam
I find nature is a remedy for everything. Thank you for your post
Hi Heather, Indeed, nature is an amazing teacher and healer. Thanks for your comments. Warm Regards, Pam
I love the metaphors you present here! They will stay with me… a wonderful way to keep my livelihood in balance! And I am so happy to hear your adventures continue!
Hi Maggie, Happy you found the post helpful. Thanks for your kind words and positive feedback. Warmly, Pam