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An Urban Hippy’s Toolkit: Nature

I adore the city. There’s something about the hustle and bustle, the lights, the energy and the eclectic culture of the downtown core that gets me going. Nothing beats a sunny day on a patio overlooking the sidewalk, lounging while people watching, beer in hand and indulging in a flowing conversation with friends.

I tried suburban living but it didn’t work for me. I need to be able to walk out and grab groceries for the night to whip up a hearty homemade meal. I thrive on the flow of people wandering Queen W with me, soaking up the ambiance and pulse of the surroundings. On my way back from Costa Rica, my heart skipped a tender beat as I caught a glimpse of the city skyline. As they say, there’s no place like home. And the city has stolen my heart.

Despite my love for the skyscraping architecture of the buildings around me – tall glass towers and sleek urban design – there’s another side of the city that I adore and find solace in.

Getting up at sunrise to jog the boardwalk down by the waterfront tops the list for me. The hue of a rising sun hitting the water is simply breathtaking. The city is different at 5:45am. It’s resting pace is calm and almost unrecognizable in comparison to the midday grind.

During the summer, I blissfully soak up the sun as I lean against a strong tree sitting in the grass with my journal and pen in hand, plotting how I’ll be pursuing my passion in this world.

Getting in touch with nature is vital to my sanity.

While I might grumble about the cold weather and the minus-something plummeting temperatures, stomping around in ‘I can’t feel the cold winter boots’ through a fresh snowfall brings out the kid in me. There’s a distinctive glow to the night sky when the snow is falling that almost makes you forget that evening has arrived.

Last week I spent 8 glorious days in Costa Rica rising at the crack of dawn for yoga in the middle of the rainforest, watching hummingbirds gently brush lush green leaves while the breeze cooled my hot skin. I fell asleep to the sound of insects and birds singing their delight in the heat. I stood in the ocean, giggling in glee while the waves crashed against me, engulfing me in its salty healing water, humbled by the vastness of its beauty.

Being there slowed things down for me. With limited wifi *gasp*, no TV and my iPod deliberately tucked away, I was enveloped by the sounds and sights around me. The chorus of cicadas serenaded me as I sat reading and journaling. In the far distance, I could make out the sound of the ocean crashing against the beach.

I was often left with nothing but my own thoughts and wow. It reminded me of how our thoughts can wander EVERYWHERE. With nothing else to do but experience the world around me, I had to remind myself that as long as I was present to the beauty and life around me, there was nothing to worry about.

Sometimes we have to pause, breathe and remember that there’s more to life than tight schedules and busy-ness. We have to catch our thoughts when they wander to the dialogue that tells us that we need to be worrying about something, anything, all the time.

Connecting to nature takes us back to basics and reminds us that our minds can often make mountains out of molehills. A tree doesn’t strain to grow. The sun doesn’t work hard to rise and set. If we can breathe and return to this sense of ease, we realize that the stuff that’s filling our minds and bodies with dread and anxiety probably isn’t as bad as we think it is.

Excuse me while I go hug a tree.

Much love, XXX

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