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When you connect with nature, what makes it meaningful?

Phase 1: Rule of Life & Rhythm of Nature
Workbook Exercise: Other Garden Plots

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Transcript of Video:

Why live by a Rule? For most of us, it is a matter of necessity. Living by a Rule and the desire to live by a Rule is the equivalent of acknowledging the fact that we need help, which is the beginning of spirituality. It is the greatest prayer. And so many of you know that Evensong is the first prayer of the day because in keeping with the Jewish tradition the new day starts at sundown. The first prayer of the Evensong is, “O God, make speed to save us. O Lord make haste to help us.” The first word of the day is, “God, help me.” It is the beginning of spirituality. God cannot enter into a life that does not acknowledge the need for God or acknowledge that on my own I can’t do this. And so we set out to write a Rule, recognizing that we need a little something to give us the impetus to get on with our lives, to sort of set parameters on what we might like to achieve and do and the way we might like to live our life, because most of us would have to admit that we need a lot of reminders about how we want to live. It is easy to fall back into old habits or to become… rest on our laurels, so to speak, and sort of let up on – whether it’s going to church, or praying every day, or whatever it is – those things that we know we desire deeply,but somehow find ourselves cutting out or not able to stick with the program, and the Rule sort of sets a backdrop as a sort of reminder. Remember that this is how you want to live. Remember the benefits of living this way. So keep with it, stick with it, continue to do it, and always having that Rule there to fall back on and to look and say, “Yeah, this is the way to live.”

– Br. John Braught

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110 Comments

  1. Richard A Dixon on August 18, 2017 at 08:09

    When I connect with nature….Most mornings I look out of my study window, and am touched by the beauty of the trees, the sounds made by the wind as it passes through them, the different shapes and colours. I smile at the great fat pigeon that clings to the very topmost stem of a conifer tree, the stem that’s barely strong enough to hold it!
    And I give thanks to God, knowing as I do so, that beautiful as it is, the view is a pale shadow of God’s beauty.

    Wonderful.

  2. Andre on May 26, 2017 at 08:12

    When I connect with nature I realise that I am part of something much larger than myself and, consequently, there is something much greater and much more powerful than my concerns, my problems and my sadness… It’s all about staying still and knowing that He is Lord.

  3. Nancy on March 24, 2017 at 08:52

    When I am in nature, the world is larger somehow. I have allowed time to “be” and am awed again by the creative capacity of God in the most minute creation to those that are grand and breath-taking. It’s all there for the seeing, and I see differently each time I have that opportunity. I feel most fully alive then, and I am attuned to thin spaces.

  4. Sue on March 19, 2017 at 18:13

    When I walk in the bushland near my home,it takes a while,but the trivial worries start to disappear and I feel more whole
    I also notice the difference as the seasons pass, from shimmering heat in summer, to greener and crisper in autumn ( now) to frosty and cold in winter. This makes me feel more connected somehow,more part of a larger whole.

  5. CKF on March 10, 2017 at 18:02

    Usually I have to coax myself to get out of the house and take walks, because I often worry about how much time it’s going to take and how I should be doing something more productive. On my walks, I feel more alive because my senses are more alert–the texture of leaves, the pattern of sunlight, the smell of sea air, the feel of a velvety seed pod. I feel more open to the other people I pass, as if my compassion is also awakened. As I finish my walk, I wonder why it was so hard to get myself motivated to have such a glorious experience. Invariably, the walk ends up being the best part of my day.

  6. Stan Lewis on February 13, 2017 at 10:46

    When I connect with nature, I feel I am accessing God’s peace at the most basic level. God created the heavens and the earth before creating us. This fundamental peace I experience when I am in the woods, on a mountain, in a field, in a stream, or somewhere on the water, simplifies things for me. At this point in my life, and on my spiritual journey, as I consider my rule of life, I find myself coming back continually to the need for simplicity–and the beauty that exists in that way of living.

  7. Jaan Sass on August 29, 2016 at 12:15

    To have the Rule to fall back on and to continue even after failure. The rule for needs to be a guide to how I desire to live.

  8. Lynda on February 27, 2016 at 04:59

    I love to connect with nature by spending time in my garden, turning over the soil, tending to the plants and harvesting vegetables or herbs that I am growing. The warmth of the sun reminds me of God’s love, it is all embracing. The soil is like my own heart, needing to be tended to and sometimes that means some hard work too.
    But most of all I enjoy the solitude of being alone in the garden because it is then I can talk with God and commune with nature all at once. Thank you for this series. I am getting so much out of it.

  9. Mir on February 26, 2016 at 12:48

    When I connect with nature, what makes it meaningful is that I am actually connecting with what’s meaningful instead of running around like a hamster on its wheel in its glass cage.

  10. Patti on February 23, 2016 at 20:09

    Whenever I connect with nature I am in awe of the beauty and the wonder of the world. Enjoying the warmth of the sun even in winter and the full moon that is so bright you don’t need any aid to see. I feel grateful I have the ability to see and feel and am free to enjoy. When I’m driving and have difficulty seeing because of the glare I thank God for the sun and say just not in my eyes too much. I love animals and look for two dogs that I often see on my way into work on their morning walk. It always makes me smile.

  11. Donna on February 22, 2016 at 22:55

    Paying attention is key. Can’t connect and see God’s hand in it all if I don’t make effort to be outside. Really hard in winter as I detest being cold.

  12. Cindy M on February 20, 2016 at 21:58

    Connecting with nature almost always evokes a response of gratitude – gratitude for the very gift of life itself and all that surrounds us, gratitude for beauty, for God’s infinite love and grace for all of creation. It also serves as a reminder to slow down, to look and listen deeply, and to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” When walking in my neighborhood or in woods up north, I periodically see deer. They are such creatures of beauty and gracefulness that each time I see them it feels like a personal touch of God’s grace. I never know for sure when they will appear or where they will be, but I try to stay alert enough that I do not miss them.. They are a reminder to keep my eyes open for glimpses of God’s grace in all of life.

  13. Alan Rollins on February 20, 2016 at 14:18

    My connections with nature have usually been when I am alone on a trail, in a forest, on a rocky ridge, along a brook or river. The love I feel for all that surrounds me is so profound, I often stop to take in all that I can to the point of losing track of time. I return home with as much of the sights, sounds, smells, and joy that I can hold in my head, and my heart. I’ve been away from those experiences far too long.

  14. ROBERT on February 19, 2016 at 17:23

    Gerard Manley Hopkins.. one of his sonnets begins
    The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out like shining from shook foil.
    Ít gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
    crushed. Why will men then not now reck his rod?

    There are times when I encounter this grandeur, not necessarily in magniicent sunsets or waterfalls or in something that appears stupendous, but in smaller scenes, when a flash of insight penetrates my consciousness and I comprehend that there is so much that is amazing and astounding in something that is, by other measures, simply ordinary.

  15. Tammy on February 18, 2016 at 14:54

    When you connect with nature, what makes it meaningful?
    The moment I notice that I am but a speck in the continuum of life; and that God is Immense and I am so lucky to be able to participate in His breath. It usually takes my breath, mind, and being away to another level that connects intimately with God my Father. It’s a cherished hug from the Holy Spirit and I am cocooned in purpose.

  16. Vicki on February 17, 2016 at 21:32

    Some of the times I have most fully experienced the joy of connection to something more than me and my own life are in Nature seeing dozens of swans resting in a cove the sun sparkling on the waves of the ocean wind blowing cottonwood strands in the waving grass. Moments of exquisite perfection allow me to know that joy peace love are possible and often seem to come to you when you most need them to refocus your energy.

    I am also reminded of sitting at a mountain overlook observing the waves of earth and patchwork of planted fields. Recognizing a pattern and plan in the biggest pictures can give your perspective to pull out of hopeless or dark places and move forward.

  17. Debbie on February 17, 2016 at 14:09

    Going to the ocean, walking a sandy beach and listening to the waves crashing to the shore. There is no greater peace than this. I have to touch the ocean water. That is my connection to that. I become part of it. Getting away from the everyday needs of life. Focusing on what that means to let those cares go. Hopefully putting thoughts in a new direction.

  18. CH on February 16, 2016 at 21:05

    When I connect with nature, It brings out in me a sense of wonder – the shapes of plants, the parts of a flower, how caterpillars become butterflies, the patterns and actions of squirrels and chipmunks. I am struck by the peace of it all, and the sense of harmony therein. By contrast, I sense my own fight with nature – not allowing seasons in my day and in my life to patiently play out, my desire to fight back against such rhythms, my impatience with God and with myself. I am now thinking how I need to let the fruit of Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23 – develop, and be sensitive to keep in step with the Spirit.

  19. Christopher Buckley on February 16, 2016 at 13:40

    Nature is honest.
    Nature is entirely herself.
    God’s creation never tries to be anything other than itself… apart from humans, that is.
    This is why the world can teach us so very much about the Creator – it will only ever act in accordance with its createdness.

    The spindly little pear tree in my yard will not puff itself up and say, “I am a mighty cedar!” Likewise, the cedar will not bend low, hand you a prickly seedpod and say, “Here, have a pear.”

    Nature is ever true to its identity.

    And what a grace that we are given the hourly opportunity to live in the same way.

  20. Mimij on February 15, 2016 at 23:01

    Beauty, wonder, surprise

    God is everywhere evident

  21. Lezlie on February 15, 2016 at 12:40

    For me, connecting with nature, provides a clarity of feeling. A direct connection to the world at large and all the possibilities of creation and the evolution of life. God becomes intuitive, something I can breath in. Separation feelings dissolve, thought becomes pure, clean and clear.

  22. Debbie McMahon on February 15, 2016 at 07:45

    What makes nature meaningful to me is that I am closest to God, to those who have gone before, to creation, to the unity of the spirit, to wholeness. I am most at peace.

  23. susan zimmerman on February 14, 2016 at 18:37

    …one of the first ‘rules’ i learned in my Christian theology classes was that the Infinite God cannot come into the finite world because ‘he’ then ceases to be God (the Infinite) and becomes just another object in the finite world to be examined…the Infinite uses mediators such as Jesus, who enters the finite world…HOWEVER the ‘the nature’ of the Infinite can be seen in the world ‘he’ created for himself.

    …this first rule changed my life as i looked more deeply into the Absolute Nature that surrounded me…at first it was difficult sorting out all the Absolutes later i could do it quickly and prided myself in being able to do identify these Absolutes…eventually i experienced the ‘static’ nature of the same…only when i studied nine years with the Jews did i learn about the polarities that accompany each of the identifiable Absolutes of Nature and no longer saw them as static, rather in great tension!

    …the Jews taught that God, every now and then, does enter into the finite such as the Exodus and parting of waters (theres something of Nature!) and then I also reflected on Jesus’ last Passover/Resurrection and my entire being has been changed by this one rule…

    …now under the guidance of רוח (she), who awaits with us the return of God to his world, one senses a vigilance to care for the garden…

  24. Virginia B. on February 14, 2016 at 11:08

    I often recall the words of Blaise Pascal when I observe nature –
    “For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.”
    Blaise Pascal, Pensées No. 72

    I try to remember my place when I observe nature – to lose my self-centeredness and to look with awe on the beauty and the complexity that surrounds me, in the infinite and the minute. I try to experience gratitude for all that God has presented us with, the colors, the aromas, the scale. I find that I often feels closest to God ehan I am in nature.

  25. Bertita Graebner on February 14, 2016 at 00:20

    ‘Evensong is the first prayer of the day because in keeping with the Jewish tradition the new day starts at sundown . . . ‘
    The movie “Waiting to Exhale” comes to mind. Some understand that at birth the exhalation of the anionic fluid in the uterine tract is the first act of birthbreath, not the inhalation of air upon exit from the womb.

    The metaphor is of — waiting to begin living —
    Even in life we find ourselves — waiting to begin – to live.

    And Eliot: “in the end is our beginning.”
    I think I like this idea of starting my day a little bit better by beginning with prayer and then rest and then awaking into the daylight of the living . . . the rhythm of nature beginning at sundown and then around again to dusk . . .

    • Sarah M. Braik on February 14, 2016 at 08:20

      This is a wonderful idea. I don’t do well evenings–tend to get depressed. If I reframe evenings as the beginning of the day, and ritually mark the transition that may redeem evening for me. Thank you.

  26. Alice on February 13, 2016 at 18:41

    The mystery, majesty, magic of nature and cycle of seasons and life stun me with the magnitude of God’s creating. To envision all of this and then to bring to life; leaves me in awe.

  27. Eva on February 13, 2016 at 17:06

    “What makes it meaningful?” God!

  28. Wendy on February 13, 2016 at 15:48

    Beauty, simplicity and the sense of being in God’s presence.

  29. Linda on February 13, 2016 at 15:19

    Being still, looking, listening and open to all that is around in this world, good and bad and know it is part of a greater plan. Being open to being, being perceived, and being enough and being for whatever calling somes.

  30. Nancy Walter on February 13, 2016 at 15:10

    To me, Nature is God’s glory, abundance, creativity, and mystery all rolled into one.

  31. Damon Hickey on February 13, 2016 at 14:47

    I like the quotation from Goethe to the effect that I like to study nature because nature is always right, and so the mistakes can all be on my side. I need to be kept humble, and “nature” does that for me, at least a little. We’ve traveled to some awesome places, and it always troubles me that some people in the groups I’ve been with often seem to lack any real reverence for their surroundings. I’ve walked around Bear Butte, a mountain sacred to the Lakota people in South Dakota, trying to ignore a geologist holding forth in a loud voice to a group of friends about the processes that formed the butte. I’ve been on nature walks with college students where everyone was talking to friends while walking fast and ignoring their surroundings. I’ve been on wildflower hikes with botanists who pulled up flowers to tell everyone else about them, and gotten into arguments with other botanists about what species the flowers were. To me, that sort of thing prevents the experience of awe, wonder, and humility that nature has to give. It’s not that scientific investigation or getting outdoors with friends for a fast walk or learning from naturalists are bad. I’m sure hunter-gatherers did the same sorts of things, in their own way. But for me, it’s important to stop, look, feel, smell, and listen–not to be the noisiest animal in the forest. I agree with what Thoreau wrote in Walden: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

  32. LaurieR on February 13, 2016 at 11:19

    Nature is the backdrop to our lives, the stage on which we play our part. It is the most obvious way that God reveals Himself to all. When life is overwhelming, I cannot hear God speak, and I just need to get perspective, I go to a rocky cove nearby where the waves of Lake Ontario crash onto the beach and their sound echoes off the cliff behind me. The rest of the world fades into the background, I watch the water ebb and flow, and each receding wave takes away with it some of my stress. It is now that I am able to let it all go, begin to feel at peace again, and can listen anew for the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit.

  33. Rhonda on February 13, 2016 at 11:04

    How the hand of God is ever so prominent. The hope and consistent synchronization of the seasons, sunrises and sunsets. The awesomeness with the hibernation and resurrection of all living creatures, the plants, Grass, and plants. The dependability of each season and direct impact it has on human behavior and all living creatures, its sounds and smells, the touch of the earth and changes in vegetation that is always all around us. Nature commands our respect and thanksgivings. I feel the imperfections of natures is what makes it so perfect. Nature has its moods: sunny, cloudy, rainy, hale blizzards. storms, tidal waves, earthquakes, mud slides, warm, cold, hot, humid, frozen, thawing, on and on.
    Praise God for where all blessings come
    Praise Him all creatures here below
    Praise Him above our Heavenly Host
    Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost

  34. Julia on February 13, 2016 at 11:01

    When I connect with nature, what makes it meaningful is beauty. And the beauty always reminds me of love. The thing that comes first to mind when I think of connecting with nature is birdsong. Especially Spring birdsong. Especially Spring birdsong in the morning. It has a different sort of sound, that spring morning birdsong. I suppose to me it has a hopeful sound. The other connection I often have with nature is at the other end of the day. Nothing like a beautiful sunset. Such a cliché.

  35. Stan on February 13, 2016 at 09:38

    For me, my connection with Nature means coming home. I become one with my surroundings. I feel very close to, in fact in communion with, God. It is when I most feel the presence of The Lord within me, and God, myself, and the nature which surrounds me are One. I often find it difficult to pray in my “normal” environment, but immersed in Nature, I find it easy to pray. And prayer comes fluently here. So I think that the meaningfulness of connecting with nature, for me, is something “felt” deeply within, rather than something intellectual which can be put into words.

  36. Shane on February 13, 2016 at 08:33

    What makes connecting with nature meaningful? I feel more complete. Why do I feel more complete? I feel connected with the creation around me. I suppose I feel closer to God who is the ultimate creator. Connecting with God is meaningful. It is satisfying something deep within me that is missing when that connection is broken.

  37. Deb Almy on February 13, 2016 at 07:20

    When I connect with Nature, its like coming home. There is a revitalization of Spirit, a Peace that fills my soul. Sometimes the connect is so powerful and over something so simple, like the sun shining thru an oak tree or the brilliance of flowers, the intensity of eye to eye contact with a Bobcat or a Hawk or a deer, or the power of a thunderstorm or the dance of the dragonflies. Its is both the joy of the moment and the acknowledgement that, as an active member in society, that I too sometimes forget this interconnectedness and being humbled and the awe of the moment that cause the tears to just flow. That moment becomes a part of me, and I am once more a part of it all.

  38. Dee Dee on February 12, 2016 at 23:56

    I think when I am truly connected to the natural world around me, it is because I am paying attention to all the wonderful things that God has done right here in my little corner or the world, and marvelling at the detail, the handiwork. And so it is meaningful to me because I am appreciating all that I am experiencing, and thanking God for it. For me, thankfulness creates meaning.

  39. a city monk on February 12, 2016 at 23:22

    What does humility require….
    whose garden is it? what are the gifts given this garden? and how to recognize real fruit …

  40. Ginger on February 12, 2016 at 23:01

    joy

  41. Molly on February 12, 2016 at 22:15

    Living in a major metro area it’s difficult to find time to be alone, in silence, in nature. This morning on my walk though I was fortunate to have relative silence (except for the birds letting me know they are ready for Spring). I allowed myself space to be – just be – and observe the loveliness of the living creation around me. I appreciate today’s post – the concept that we need some scaffolding to help us grow. Thank you.

  42. TainuiTony on February 12, 2016 at 20:59

    When I connect with Nature I realise that it is different from me and yet I feel at peace there especially when I become aware of some of the interrelationships between the various communities that co-exist there. I am conscious of being the younger sibling in a world of other non-human elders and this requires an attitude of respect not domination. I don’t buy the view that we should exercise dominion over the created order. We don’t know enough to do anything approaching that. There is good reading on this in the recent papal encyclical Laudato Si.

  43. Betty on February 12, 2016 at 19:45

    Rules are important to me because I find that without them I fail to understand my place in gods world…

  44. Donald Sutton III on February 12, 2016 at 19:17

    Living out a religious life is what makes my live meaningful. It took me a while to realize this and be drawn to a religious life style. This lead me to the formation process with BSG which didn’t work out because the counsel felt it wasn’t working out evendors though several of them believe I am being called to the religious life.
    On top of this I ended up switching from St. Annes in North Billerica to The church of the Good shepherd in Nashua nh because that’s were I live and work. As well as the fact that church is a huge part of my life and church of the good shepherd gives me more opportunities to get involved which I am starting to do just that.

  45. Sarah M. Braik on February 12, 2016 at 19:07

    Setting aside for a moment the fact that we humans are nature become conscious of itself, or actually because we are conscious, what makes nature meaningful to me is that the creatures–plant, animal, mineral are so genuinely themselves. They are not duplicitous, they don’t hide behind facades, they don’t worry about what others think of them. They live out their nature, while we humans seem to have to work so hard to discern what precisely is our nature, and what should we be doing? We constantly second-guess ourselves, constantly find ourselves acting in bad faith. Not that I regret being human. Consciousness is a precious, Godly gift, but it is taking us hundreds of generations to get used to it! 

  46. NA on February 12, 2016 at 18:00

    Nature reminds me that I am not in control. Being in nature nudges me to be in the moment, just to Be.

    When I see a fierce storm bending the limbs on our massive elderly trees, I am reminded that many storms have been weathered without me there to see them or worry, and that once I am gone, more storms will come.

    There is a comfort in the continuity, in being a small part for a short time in the midst of Creation. I am part of the universe, not the center of it. I do not need to fret; I can let go, do my part, and leave the ordering of the things too big for me to handle to the One who loves me most.

  47. Shirley Schuette on February 12, 2016 at 17:51

    I live in a downtown area, and I work downtown also. There’s a lot of asphalt and concrete around my living space. But I do have a nice view out my window of the Arkansas River. Sometimes when I wake up early, the sun is coming up, and the slanting light catches the railroad bridge. When I looked at this question this morning, I thought of that view. Sometimes I get caught up in looking at small things in the natural world, but for a setting that feeds and nourishes my spirit, I need distance and light. Those are the things that are the most meaningful to me.

  48. brent on February 12, 2016 at 16:29

    I feel myself pushing back a little against all these quite lovely evocations of nature. Yes, I have had similarly moving experiences hiking in the north woods, or just tending my garden,and so forth. But living in a dense urban neighborhood, these are not my daily realities. Even my favorite ‘natural’ spots along the Charles River are man-made perspectives along a basin, not a river.

    But we humans are part of nature too, and certainly a big part of Creation. Our works have influenced nature profoundly, and not always for the good. To imagine nature obeying its own rhythms, without invasive species and genetically modified organisms, without an altered climate and damaged ecosystems, is to imagine Creation without the creatures God made in God’s own image. It’s a lovely thought in one way, but escapist in another.

    Maybe that’s it: we escape to nature (or something like it) to escape our own worst tendencies to dominate, exploit, make over in our own image what might have been made originally in God’s. I guess I am grateful for the chance now and then to escape to something that seems simpler, more pure, and surely more beautiful than our messy human environments. Yes, I am grateful to the God of Creation. But then I feel called to re-immerse myself in our messy and I suppose unnatural human part of Creation.

  49. Mike Seymour on February 12, 2016 at 16:25

    Psalm 121King James Version (KJV)

    121 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

    Nature has always been a source of consolation, wonder and rest for me. Taking in the largeness of life all about me is immensely peace-giving. Beyond words, resting in the silence with whatever of nature is around me..sun, grass, distant views, sky, birds. Contemplating nature has always been a healing experience for me.

  50. Eugene Wright on February 12, 2016 at 15:53

    The quiet; the peacefulness; the unhurried performance of everything around me. This connection makes me realize how awesome God is. I see God in all His Glory. Whether snow is falling or its raining I always get a feeling of serenity. Looking at the stars at night I cant help but feel what the psalmist wrote in Psalm 8…”When I consider your heavens, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you care for them.” I feel the love of God. I feel how much He loves me and takes care of me and provide for me without fail everyday.

  51. gwedhen nicholas on February 12, 2016 at 15:17

    Nature grounds me. It makes me friends with the earth, with God, and with myself. It gives me thankfulness, and a feeling of self-worth that I wouldn’t ordinarily have.

  52. C. Romine on February 12, 2016 at 13:19

    I am connected with things only God could create. The beauty of His earth puts me in touch with the God who loves me even though I do not deserve it. That unearned love is meaningful to me. How could I not love Him and all He created?

  53. Jane Anne Gleason on February 12, 2016 at 12:53

    When I walk in the woods or along the beach or sit quietly in my sunroom hearing the bird songs, I am aware of the beauty of the world God has given us to till and to tend. God has given us the responsibility to care for God’s creation. I am also aware of our failure to meet that charge and my need to challenge the government to live up to God’s charge and not cave in to those who wish to profit from miss using the creation.

  54. Robin Weisbrod on February 12, 2016 at 12:49

    When I dig in the dirt, getting it prepped for whatever I am going to plant, I breathe in deeply, enjoying the rich earthy smell. It brings peace and quiet to my soul. Watching my flowers and sometimes those, Oh too strong weeds, reminds me how talented and plentiful He is. Sometimes, my husband and I, will comment when we are driving down the road, about how beautiful He made our world, and how He is the greatest of artists. Connecting with nature brings contentment, peace and appreciation.

  55. Tal Day on February 12, 2016 at 12:18

    An arresting quotation:

    “Nature is often not friendly. Nature can be terrifying and wild and dangerous. This is the only realistic perspective. And yet, as Thoreau and Muir and so many others have felt, Nature’s peculiar value lies in these untamed facts about it. Nature is about death as much as it is about life, about terrible sublimity as much as it is about soothing beauty. We all intuitively seek from Nature the opportunity to be intimate with both dark and light things, things we are normally busy running away from and that we often need solitude to experience properly …”

    Claudio Campagna and Daniel Guevara, Conservation in No Man’s Land, in G. Wuerthner, E. Crist, and T. Butler (eds.), Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of the Earth at 59 (Island Press 2014)

  56. Tal Day on February 12, 2016 at 12:15

    I don’t connect with nature in only one way. During my childhood, I suffered seasonal allergies and run-on infections that inspired me to see nature as a hostile force. It was only after living in Hawaii that I came to appreciate nature’s beauty — and, in time, the relative ease with which its beauty could be destroyed by mindless human activity.

    There is another aspect of nature that I appreciate because it is there, and that I do not need to be there as well: wilderness. How we find ways for people and wilderness to coexist is one of the challenges in our global garden.

    It is a challenge that climate change exacerbates, with global pandemics, destruction of habitat, destruction of forests, agricultural land, water supplies, …

  57. marg on February 12, 2016 at 12:09

    The beauty of nature is the prompt that reminds me of a loving God who has created this beautiful world – the grandeur of a mountain, the intricacy of a small flower or a leaf, the uniqueness of each snowflake, the beauty hidden to most of us can’t see but that can be seen in telescope and microscope, light and dark and the multiple colours of sunrise and sunset, the changing seasons, the wonder of it all – that points to a generous and extravagant God who showers us with blessings.
    There is also great power and even violence in nature. God has great power but chose the way of service and self-giving. No lording it over the world. But what do we make of nature’s violence?
    There is also great persistence and patience – the small sprout that is able to break through cement, the towering tree that has taken many years to grow from a small seed. They teach us the value of hope, faith, persistence and patience.

  58. Robert on February 12, 2016 at 11:51

    Beauty. It is not contrived or artificial. Natural beauty.

  59. Amber on February 12, 2016 at 11:49

    I live on Canada’s beautiful west coast surrounded by ocean, mountains, evergreens and wildlife. Connecting with nature reminds me to stay humble; reminds me that there is a greater design at work – something powerful, mysterious, ever-changing yet always reliable. I can easily synonymize God and nature – not worshiping nature per se but viewing nature as an extension, an expression of who God is. Walking along a cedar-scented trail or alongside the ocean as salt spray caresses the air, is one of the best ways for me to enhance my spiritual walk also. The two just naturally go hand in hand.

  60. Robert Corey on February 12, 2016 at 11:42

    It seems the video didn’t really address the question. I don’t feel particularly elevated by nature. Occasionally challenged. But the video is about desiring help and adopting a practice which truly helps — which sustains growth rather than being a fruitless expenditure of emotional energy. I’m stuck in the latter, needing help more WITH a rule than FROM a rule. Follow your bliss, some say. My bliss is escape from loneliness. I’m not good at people things. But I’m not energized by solitary things. Many instances I’m more exhausted than energized by the company I keep. But keeping good company is one rule I keep going back to despite my stumblings. Whose company? Whose to avoid?

  61. jimpodolak on February 12, 2016 at 11:34

    I live in a beautiful place, at the cusp of the Great Prairies and the Rocky Mountains. The everyday drama of such a place is overwhelming. The view is a reminder that every moment, be in outside or inside is a spiritual cusp. Every moment I am on the edge.

  62. Kathryn Boswell on February 12, 2016 at 11:10

    Being outdoors, even just stepping out into my garden, allows me to step out of the rhythms and agenda of the world and into God’s rhythms – to be still and know Him.

  63. Michael on February 12, 2016 at 10:29

    As I watch the sun rise each morning I feel God’s hope enter the world. God gives us today to start gain and become to people he wants us to be and he announces it every morning sometimes in muted gray clouds and other times in a dazzling burst of morning light.

  64. Carol Luther on February 12, 2016 at 10:27

    Nature is where I am confident I will encounter reality.

    I turn to the natural world for all the usual reasons: beauty, solitude, the chance to connect to my soul. But above all, I know that Nature connects me to the mind of God, and that if I am able to conform to its rhythms, its limits, and its laws, I have a better chance of discovering the person God wants me to be.

  65. Penelope on February 12, 2016 at 10:04

    I recently spent 3 weeks in St. George, Utah, and went on many drives and walks in the surrounding lands, so different from where I have mostly lived: Vancouver Island and New England. In SW Utah the vastness of the landscapes, the starkness of the rock formations, the seeming emptiness of this mountainous desert country was at times frightening, almost overwhelming. Plant life, animal life, human life all but vanished and became puny. Such a silent and stunning statement of the bed rock of this planet. People have written on the vertical red cliffs: autographs of 19th century white men, pictographs of bear paws and deerlike animals by ancient peoples. I found myself in tears at times, or standing in silent awe. Or suddenly almost afraid when driving on a dirt track of a road in the middle of “nowhere” … I haven’t quite put my finger on the meaningfulness of this aspect of nature to me, but it felt profoundly moving. As if giving me another perspective or putting my comfortable life in a comfortable safe small city in perspective. Something about time: these rocks are so old, even the youngest of them are so old I cannot recall the word to say their age. Some bear the marks of dinosaurs who lived there when it was all different, when there was lots of water, a huge inland lake. I’m speechless.

  66. JV on February 12, 2016 at 09:59

    When I connect with nature, really connect, which sadly, has not happened for a while…I am reminded of how connected we all are with each other and with the land, the planet, the universe. I am also reminded of how small I am, and just a transient piece of the ever-changing life jigsaw puzzle we live in. I have lost that feeling of late, but when I have glimpses of it, it is usually in the night time, when the moon is out, telling me in its brightness to pay attention, look up, not down at my feet, hunched over, trying to get through the day. That’s when I feel God is extending that ‘shake’ that I need to be in the moment and alive.

  67. Jim Foley on February 12, 2016 at 09:57

    Rules are definitely a necessity because they provide us with guidance. There are rules with tending a garden. How far apart should seeds be placed in the soil? How much light should plants receive? How often should weeding occur? So, too, is the case for me and the tending of my soul. All too often I push the rules to the back burner because of more pressing issues, such as work. But, in a very real sense, tending our souls is just as important work as the remunerative work that sustains us. I just keep forgetting to maintain that perspective.

  68. William Spies on February 12, 2016 at 09:53

    When I need to think clearly I find walking in the forest that surrounds where I live with my two dogs as company allows me to see God’s creation through that experience and in-turn re-charge my faith.

  69. Susan on February 12, 2016 at 09:51

    Light, the feel of the air, changing color, the sense of the dirt under my feet, the sense that I am not the only inhabitant of this space.

  70. Lynne McCabe on February 12, 2016 at 09:50

    Connecting with nature is meaningful to me because it reminds me that it’s bigger than me, bigger than my daily preoccupations and aspirations. It makes me feel connected to God.

  71. Bob on February 12, 2016 at 09:38

    Inspired by the awe of nature, the fact that it was created in all its splendor and power. The beautiful sunset, the magnificent eagle, the frightening thunderstorm. We do not control it. Nature controls us. We do not control God in the way we live our daily lives. As part of nature God created us and controls us. To live life to the fullest we have to allow God that control. Not fight it but allow it. That is where the Rule of Life comes in. Our Rule of Life has to allow God the control of our lives.

  72. Russell on February 12, 2016 at 09:12

    I am fortunate to be married to a woman from farming stock. She is rooted deeply, earth-bound in the extreme. Upon entering a new place, her first inclination is to remove her shoes and dig both feet and hands into the soil, to immerse herself in the nature of it. When we work together tending our gardens, both fruitful and beautiful, we seem to understand the cooperation that is required. Being in nature, then, is meaningful to me because of connectedness to life, to God, to one another.

  73. gwedhen nicholas on February 12, 2016 at 09:04

    When I connect with nature, I am amazed at the incredible beauty of everything God created; their colour, shape, form, texture, interconnectedness, harmony. We are just one element of what God created. He made so much more; everything with a richness and a being which I am humbled by. Everything is just as important as human beings, if not more so. It connects us to God.

  74. Darla on February 12, 2016 at 08:38

    When I connect with nature, I feel the presence of God in a special way. I feel a sense of care that leads me to a peaceful place. I can set aside the need to do and just be and listen as God speaks to my spirit. I come away energized and renewed. Being in nature I see how a radical dependence on God rather than self can lead to peace and beauty.

  75. Marje Sullivan on February 12, 2016 at 08:31

    I grew up with both fresh and salt water around me. My parents’ home was on a Pond, and the family had a boat building business on a tidal river. Early on, my father taught us that we are all a part of God’s creation as is all nature around us. In the latter part of each summer, we would travel “up the pond” to see where the muskrats were building their houses. The deeper the water around the houses, the colder the winter would be. Equally, the health of the tidal river could be gauged by what we could see flowing downstream from the freshwater feed when the tide was going out, and what flowed upstream on the incoming tide. Through the latter part of the 1960s and early 1970s, it wasn’t often pretty picture. My father would explain what killed the fish, why the birds were dead and soaked with oil and why the marsh grasses never turned a health green in the spring. It was the damage we were doing to ourselves; the fish, birds and grass were only a sign. Forty years later, we’ve all taken steps to nurture that river to make it “healthy” again. They’ve been small steps, almost indiscernible at first, but meaningful as I look back over the chunks of time. The marsh grasses are green in the spring. If the outgoing tide is brown or black, it’s just runoff from a rainstorm upriver. Rarely, only rarely, if something is amiss three miles down river in the harbor, does the incoming tide bring us fowl water. For me, it’s like that in my spiritual life. The Lord will help me “get healthy” in my slow, gradual, clumsy steps when I am open to Him. The Tidal River of my life needs to be a healthy flow in from the Holy Spirit, with an ebb out to be the Lord’s servant in my duties to others. A Rule of Life is one of the tools in the process of creating and maintaining a healthy tidal river of my spirit.

  76. Rod McDowell on February 12, 2016 at 08:20

    When I connect with nature I feel a deep peace. God is present in creation and the Holy Spirit is there.

  77. Kit on February 12, 2016 at 08:06

    I will be hiking in the Jungle for 3 days next week. I have now taken many multi-day hikes. Each of these helps me to reconnect, through understanding how much more there is to creation than myself, how God helps all of creation, and through the silence, which creates space to reconnect. This then helps me to have space to reflect on how my rule is working, are their changes needed, what parts have I been ignoring and thus need to return to.

  78. Kathy B on February 12, 2016 at 07:58

    I’ve taught science for 20 years, and just a small touch of nature is an open door for me. Not only is it all beautiful in its own right, but knowing how a plant grows, with all its chemical reactions and biological functions, makes it that much more amazing – that God created such physical beauty AND such beautiful processes. Knowing how nature “works” makes its beauty multiply; knowing how our bodies live and grow makes life that much more precious – and absolutely DEMANDS a pause and a quiet space in both the heart and the mind. The fact that I live in the country and my commute is mostly rural gives me so many opportunities for peace.

  79. Joan Millet on February 12, 2016 at 07:36

    Walking & connecting with nature is such a reminder of God’s creation beyond what man could do. It brings a lot of peace & solace as I picture walking with Jesus in His Fathers creation. I do daily walks as the peace it gives me is beyond description.

  80. Meneta Deaton on February 12, 2016 at 07:34

    Outside, in nature, is where I literally feel the breath of God.

    • Pam on February 21, 2016 at 12:18

      Well said! Ditto.

  81. Suzanne on February 12, 2016 at 07:33

    As I connect with nature I hear God speak. Before he does speak though, I must be centered, still, and intentional. Given the garden metaphor, I ask forgiveness – the weeds pulled and cast off. I read the Holy Scriptures – my mind, like soil needs to be turned and fertilized ready to receive. I wait, and in the waiting, praise God for he is the master – it’s like he is the sunshine warming the soil, encouraging the seeds & plants to develop deep roots & reach to something greater than what holds them secure. And when harvest time comes, He imparts a word – often only 4 or 5 – that provide direction, support, encouragement, and always love.

  82. Linda on February 12, 2016 at 07:32

    I LOVE nature and everything about it is meaningful, from the prettiest copperhead to the noblest of woodchucks and all that surrounds them. I love spending time in the woods, hiking, hearing the sounds of the birds during the day, the owls and whippoorwills at night. The smells of the woods, the smell of rain, the flavors of wild dewberries and blackberries. All of this is soothing, peaceful, so very far from the sirens and streets of the city. Yes, God is present in the cities, amongst all the peoples and events therein. But it seems that God’s presence can be more greatly felt when in nature since the debris of man’s modernity doesn’t get in the way. God’s greatest gift to us is nature and all that is within it. I don’t connect with it as often as I might want to but when I do, I am so much more at peace and soothed by it; I am wrapped up in its beauty and am replenished.

  83. Neil Ellis Orts on February 12, 2016 at 07:27

    I’ve begun to wonder about how we’ve always used the word “nature,” as if we humans were somehow unnatural and not part of the ecosystem. Of course we are natural, even if are sometimes like the locust that come along and wipe out a field without thought for the next generation’s need.

    Having said that, I live in Houston, a flat, humid, rainy city. My neighborhood is not what you would call “posh” and just a couple of blocks over from my apartments, there are warehouses and other more industrial type buildings and businesses. There are also deep ditches along the streets, where water can run to when we get our crazy dumps of rain.

    These ditches are my connection to the sort of “nature” we usually think about when we use the word. They are my grounding for a farm boy turned urban. There are wildflowers and a variety of grasses that grow in these ditches, reminding me that I and creatures like me are not the only life here. There are few creatures I encounter, mostly birds, occasionally a heron checking out standing water after a rain. The ways of the life in the ditches are not human ways.

    I’ve come to think of that which is not me, that which is different from me, are signs of holiness. When we we say “nature,” I wonder if we don’t mean “that which is not the human way.” Whatever that means.

    Applied to other people, I begin to think of the things that makes someone different from me is the aspect of the Imago Dei that I need to encounter. We say we humans carry the Image of God, but no one person can carry the entire Image (setting aside Jesus for the moment). What makes someone unusual to me might very well be the aspect of God I need to encounter.

    This is a hard word. I know. Oh boy, do I know.

    So, when I encounter nature, what makes it meaningful is that it is a reminder that my ways are not the paradigm. There are other ways of being and perhaps we can choose to try some, other ways are beyond our ability to take on, but somehow, all this otherness tells me God has infinitely more “ways” than I can ever begin to imagine.

    It is abundance.

  84. Ann Brackin on February 12, 2016 at 07:23

    The beauty.

  85. Kathleen on February 12, 2016 at 07:22

    In the moment I connect with nature, I go from doing (gardening, walking to the store, eating breakfast in my kitchen) to being. I not only stop my motions, but also my many varied thoughts still. For a moment, it’s just me and the ladybug shedding or the tree swaying and we just are together, both of us creation’s of our Creator.

  86. Lauren on February 12, 2016 at 07:07

    I was driving home the other morning while it was snowing. Snow was covering the trees, roads, cars –everything was white, calm, peaceful. So beautiful. I had to slow down to be safe– yet slowing down enabled me to enjoy and really see the beauty. I was so grateful to be in the midst of the beauty. Nature is always blessing us– sometimes we miss the blessings because we are so busy wanting to control nature. Just being present to nature is doing at the moment is life giving. Being Present to what is in our lives is Being Present to the Holy One who creates.

  87. Cathie on February 12, 2016 at 06:51

    When I connect with nature I like to be present, and in the moment. I like to be still, and listen to nature. I like to call to the birds, I like to walk in the woods or hike a foothill. Even when I have to shovel the snow from the driveway, I like to be in nature, and feel its presence with me.

  88. alma on February 12, 2016 at 06:49

    Before I can even see them, the first thing I hear when I wake up in the morning, is the melody of singing birds outside in the garden. What a great message of hope and a reminder of God’s unmerrited love and care. As I awake anew to receive that re-affirmation that God is always there overseeing and amidst His creation and that we need not be preoccupied about belongs to God’s domain. I am thankful and embrace each day anew and by the grace of God I will be open to be guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Matthew 6 vs 26 “Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow nor do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, and your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

  89. Pamela on February 12, 2016 at 06:40

    Years ago I read ‘God Calling,’ a sweet book by two anonymous, English, ladies back in the 1930s who felt they were channeling Christ through their writings. The passages were so loving, so exquisite, and I remember one passage stating, ‘all lovely things are the physical embodiment of a beautiful thought by God.’

    I live on a horse farm and that phrase runs through my head nearly every day, as I take in another breathtaking sunrise on a frosty winter’s morning, or inhale the dew laden fragrance as the roses begin to open in May or watch the berries of the dogwoods begin to turn dark red in the autumn. The massive oaks in the fields with their spreading branches remind me of God’s strength and shelter. And now, with all the leaves down, I see a spectacular, winter view of the mountains, and that never fails to remind me of God’s abiding presence- even when the trees are in full flush of summer, even if we can’t see them, the mountains, like God, are still there.

    • Diane on February 12, 2016 at 12:27

      Thank you for reminding me of God Calling. Wonderful book! And your quote is right on point for today as we think about observing nature.

  90. Jim V on February 12, 2016 at 06:26

    Nature impacts everything, it sets the background for the world. It is enormous and everywhere. Even when we try to cover it up with cities it pokes through the cracks and rains down on us. Connecting with nature is like connecting with God. God is always there and poking through and pouring light upon us. The meaning comes when we realize we are part of nature and part of God, a peace of the whole. Same molecules, same spirit.

  91. David Andrews on February 12, 2016 at 06:23

    The beauty, the silence, the wildness and the unpredictable.

  92. Kristi on February 12, 2016 at 06:10

    Everything about nature is meaningful to me. It’s the ultimate display of gods work & creation. When we take the time to really look around us & see what God has made for us, it can be so powerful. I feel very passionate about caring for the planet for this reason. Even on the worst, bitterly cold days where I live, I can be outside & feel incredibly grateful for the amazing nature aound me. There is a joy I feel everytime I step outside because it’s a gift!!!

  93. Scott on February 12, 2016 at 05:27

    I’m a long distance runner. During the peak of training, I’ll be outside running five days a week anywhere from five to twenty-five miles. Even when I was living up in New England, I would always run outside, dressed for whatever weather.

    Connecting with nature is connecting with God’s non-human creations. Be that a silent but mighty tree or a loud but small crow. Though a routine itself, it is breaking out the rest of one’s routines and witnessing others, how a crow scavenges or how a tree changes through the seasons.

    Running out in nature is passing by a neighbor’s house at a much slower pace and more fully taking in sights. You may see their view of your house or that they might need help taking down their Christmas decorations in February before the next storm.

    Running outside brings one fully into experiencing might storms, blizzards or rain, but learning to at times be humble and bow to God’s will.

    We must all find ways to connect with nature to remind us of the elaborate web that we are within. How countless Tony strands weave together the wonderful world that we live in and the potential dangers of willingly severing any of those ties.

  94. Carol Ward on February 11, 2016 at 17:38

    As a life long gardener, I know, much as I’d like, I cannot make a plant do exactly what I want it to do. OH, sure, I can ‘force’ a plant to bloom out of season but this does not work long term. Most things that you force to conform to your will, do not last. Therefore, I really do not like to speak of rules in my life. Where there is a rule, there is failure or guilt. If you do not perform according to the rule, you have to deal with consequences. Do you shy away from the effort because you’ve already missed the mark? Do you begin to feel like your work simply is not adequate? Many times rules make people feel just that way – like they are worthless because they cannot achieve perfection. That is why I tend to think of balancing my life by living by certain basic principals instead of specific rules. When you have a concept of doing good, you know that you will always be looking for opportunities to do good things. If you don’t see that an opportunity may have presented itself, this shouldn’t make you feel like failure because you understand that you’ll always be looking for the next chance. You won’t be overcome with feelings of inadequacy that can lead to paralysis & fear of making the same mistake again. In my profession working with people, I learned long ago, that there are very few black & white situations. Rules tend to look at life as either right or wrong. You are either following the rule or you are not. Black or white. So, I think it is far healthier to develop principles around which you base your actions. You know, when I place a trellis in the garden I don’t expect every bean plant to wind around the strings in the same manner. But, I do have the general expectation that they’ll use is as a basis of support. So, for me, developing an understanding of what your life should be like & then living each day as best you can towards that is healthier than saying, ‘I have this rule & that rule that I have to follow.’ When all you do is follow rules, it is easy to lose what you are really trying to accomplish. If I made a rule that said, I must pray every morning in order to get my life started right, I’d soon miss a day. Failure. But if I say, ‘I wish to live a life of gratitude’ I can manifest that in dozens of ways each day & each week. I can thank God for the beauty of the morning, the song of the birds, the light breeze on my face or I can be thankful for something mundane such as light traffic! Or I can say thank you to my wait person in a way that makes them understand that I really am recognizing their effort. It is all gratitude & it is all living into a life principle of gratitude. For me, these general principles allow me to find a myriad of opportunities to practice gratitude without tightly defining how & when I’ll feel or practice gratitude. I’d really hate to think that it would be better to say the correct prayer of gratitude every morning than to live each hour with a sense of gratitude in my heart!

    • NeedlEcon on February 12, 2016 at 10:45

      These are important and valid points. Did not Jesus teach against depending on the strictures of the Law to guide your life and your relationship to God? When you’ve got to maintain the strictures of a rule, you can miss the messages God is sending through common events of life.
      Yet, I constantly struggle to maintain a daily “Quiet Time” of prayer and contemplation. I know from experience that this discipline helps me thru the ups and downs of my relationship with God, but maintaining the discipline is hardest in the downs, when I need it most.
      I think what’s needed is a balance between the discipline of a rule and the openness to life events of a non-rule.
      I must add “Be Forgiving” to my lattice. Forgive myself when I don’t keep the rule and forgive the vicissitudes of life when they get in the way of the rule. Let the rule help me as it can, but don’t get all bound up in the rule.

      • Carol Ward on February 12, 2016 at 17:20

        Yes, I remember Jesus railing at the Pharisees for missing the point totally. They were focused on a petty rule & not the intent of the rule. For me, the intent is what brings meaning into my life. I’m not much for rigidly observing a rule whose significance we may no longer remember.

    • Sally Baynton on February 12, 2016 at 10:52

      I wonder if it would help if you looked at a “rule” as a structure or a support? Rules do not have to be prohibiting. The workbook does a great job of reminding us that “rules” are simply ways of getting into a rhythm so freedom can grow. The workbook discussed a trellis. Without the trellis, certain plants cannot grow. They need the support, the structure, that the trellis provides. The same with stakes, some plants need to be staked to be productive. Those are “rules” in that they make sure the plant has everything it needs to achieve what it is meant to be. I used to think of rules as constricting, but I now can look at “rule of life” as ways that I can flourish and be the best that God make me to be!

      • Carol Ward on February 12, 2016 at 17:38

        Ah, but I think you miss the point. Not everyone responds the same way or needs the same things. And, unfortunately, I went to my sturdy dictionary & looked up the meaning of different words so I would be sure to use words that would best relay my comments correctly. For me, rules don’t work very well. If they do for you, then good. I don’t see any problem with living my life by basic principles instead of rules. Personally, I find it much harder to do because it requires intentionallity all the time. This is what works for me.

        • Meneta Deaton on February 15, 2016 at 09:38

          I like the perspective your comments have opened up for me…to think about when rules or principles might be useful approaches. I think there might be places in my life for both. Thanks!

        • Virginia B. on February 15, 2016 at 10:21

          I think there is a reason that programs of recovery call the suggestions for how to live a sober, healthy, fuller, more connected life Steps and not Rules. Semantics can be everything, and I know that for many dealing with addictions the word rules is a complete turnoff. Programs like AA would never have been effective if they talked about the 12 Rulesof Recovery. That being said, I think that SSJE has done a really fine job of defining what is meant by a Rule of Life, making clear that this is not rules in the strict disciplinarian way we often interpret the word, but rather that we are developing a plan for living life in closer harmony with God.

          • Julie C. on February 21, 2016 at 08:40

            I liked reading this string of comments. I do have a similar negative feeling around the concept of “rule” vs principle. And yet, I think rule is important, too, as a support. I think about the medications I need to take daily for my overall health and well being. I don’t always feel a difference, but I trust and believe that it is better for me over time. It isn’t a principle to take them, it is a rule. And, sometimes I forget, and sometimes I am lax, but the stronger the habit for me, the better it is, and the better I feel physically over the long run. So for that, I believe in having a rule. I am approaching the “rule of Life” series in much the same way as my rule to take my medications daily.



  95. Nicki Bourne on February 11, 2016 at 15:10

    On a walk in quiet, mostly wild animal inhabited woods, or on a beach, or in my garden weeding, sowing or transplanting, when I connect with nature I am reconnected to what’s most important in my life, to the intricacies of God’s amazing creation. I feel freed from daily busyness. I’m entrenched in co-existing with everything God has already put there. Observation, inspiring deep appreciation and love overtakes me, making it very hard to decide to leave, when the time comes.
    In the garden, although amongst surrounding reminders of my daily life, the escape into the natural world happens quickly, and my now 80 year old body’s fatigue is the commander of detachment when I must rest. The experience is so precious, that the connection and draw to return are always there.
    Working or spending free time with plants, trees and animals, wild or domesticated, is the most life renewing experience I know of. I’m happiest when working from my intuitiveness, and that really is open and forging ahead when I’m gardening, farming or out on the land or beach.
    Thank you for asking me to put this into words!

    • Ann on February 15, 2016 at 12:13

      On point Nick! My sentiments exact.

      • Mir on February 26, 2016 at 12:46

        Yes.

  96. Angela Peverell tssf on February 11, 2016 at 14:39

    God, have mercy on me, a sinner. (Luke 18:13)

    Lord, “If you will, you can make me clean.” (Mark 1:40)

  97. Jane on February 11, 2016 at 13:33

    I recently moved to New Mexico from the East coast after I retired. I have a great view of the Sandia Mountains right outside my apartment complex. Each time I take my daily walk and enjoy the beauty of the mountains, I feel connected to God and all of creation in a really deep, gut level way. I fully realize that I am one with God and God’s creation. I feel the same way when I see the Moon and stars, etc, at night (which is so much easier to do out here because there’s not as much air pollution!) I want to find a way to make that feeling of connectedness last, but I wonder if that’s possible…

    • LK Ford on February 19, 2016 at 10:39

      Please be encouraged – you will never lose that as long as you stay in touch with the Nature you obviously love so well.

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