There’s nature, and then there’s NATURE! I haven’t been planning to evacuate because of a hurricane, flood, tornado, or a wild fire! As I’ve written this many hunkered down for Hurricane Irma, Jose and Maria. The truth is that in light of so many having faced or facing the destructive power of nature, my 30 day challenge to explore and play on the land – the land I live and work on – seems somewhat trivial. However, the final twelve days of the challenge offered up some new or re-learned understandings around communication, change and personal leadership:

    • Nature invites us to engage, as leaders, in the moment where we are with all our senses. What we experience depends on where we are and what calls our attention. Are we near the ground? Standing still? Moving slowly or quickly? And, in what direction are we and our stories going?
    • Experiencing nature in a car is like a handshake with gloves on, or receiving an air hug from your best friend. Other filters such as houses, windows, sunglasses, fears about ticks, dirt, germs, etc. can all get in the way. This was most apparent to me when driving by the field near my home – it’s beautiful. There the insects and birds sing, the terrain rolls, the sky is vast, but in a car it all recedes including the smell, feel, and sound. It’s more difficult to experience nature when we are removed from it, and isn’t it pretty much the same when it comes to connecting with our friends, family, co-workers and community – sometimes we need to take off our filters, set them aside, engage in the moment, and then have the conversation.
    • Change happens and when it occurs the earth and sky respond in any number of ways. The earth seems so accepting of change. Is it possible the less resistant we are to change, the easier it is to grow and develop individually and collectively?
    • The land always seems prepared. For humans beings planning can often be helpful, but to be flexible like the tree, able to bend, dig deep, and dance with the wind helps us grow.
    • Exploring and playing in nature is a real break from taking a walk and continuing to “think”.

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How did I fulfill this 30 day challenge? Did I as intended …

    • walk everyday in community with Mother Earth and Father Sky – in awareness – in my neighborhood … at least outside somewhere? First, I found that I wasn’t walking, I was really exploring and playing on the land – this is totally different than walking! But, no I didn’t end up outside everyday, and I was pleased with my efforts – this was totally worth doing.
    • write about the experience? Yes!
    • read 6 pages in my new book every day? Almost! But I have finished Ann Pelo’s book, The Goodness of Rain ~ Developing an Ecological Identity in Young Children. The book is about how Pelo and a toddler she was taking care of spent the year exploring the land they lived, her story, as well her belief in the importance of developing an ecological identity in young children.

Dusk is a magical time of day, and the final day of the challenge found me exploring and playing almost in the dark. There is less to see and the other senses hone in to complete the picture, and we trust ourselves to find our way.

Enjoy the stories and have a playful day,

– Mary

P.S.  I’ve wondered if the leader within enjoys the wildness of the human spirit? And is it heard, honored and respected?
P.P.S.  This challenge ran from August 11 through September 9th, the writing of the blog took place over the next 11 days.

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