Being part Native American, I have always felt a very strong connection to Mother Nature. The Forest is my church, and the trees, the wisdom keepers. As a child, I would wander through the Pine of the Sierra Nevada foothills and ponder my future. As a college student, I would connect to the ancient Oak of the Santa Cruz Mountains to ease my worries and view the vastness of the ocean. Now, as a Mother, I take my children to the Great Redwoods of Muir Woods and Mt. Tam to not only see the wonder of splendor in their eyes, but to also remind myself that we are all connected to something much bigger than we can see in front of us.
As a parent, it can be very easy to get swept in the everyday hustle and bustle of family life. There are work and school obligations, children’s extra-curricular activities, community events and birthday parties, meetings, church groups, volunteer commitments and more; all while keeping up the household maintenance. These days, knowing more about our health, we are also expected to not only take care of our bodies but push them to extremes. Social media often highlights the ideal, and some of us may feel inadequate if we are not running marathons or gracefully balancing on a mountain top doing yoga. Parenthood is richly rewarding but is also extremely challenging, especially in this day and age where we set extraordinarily high expectations for ourselves and our children. With so many opportunities to better ourselves, it can be easy to forget that almost everything that we need is already within.
Nature is The Great reminder of our true, whole, divine self. The trees, ocean, verdant hills and meadows can steady us in the most dizzying times of parenthood, and allow us to slow down and appreciate all of the beauty in our world and within ourselves.
As a mother, wife, business owner and friend, there is still so much that I can be better at, but of anything that forest has taught me as a parent, it is that my children don’t want perfection, they just want me.
Happy Earth Day, today and every day.