I spent my formative years in the mountains of North Carolina. A place so rural I couldn’t see our closest neighbors and people burned their trash or buried it because trash pickup didn’t exist and they couldn’t be bothered to head to the dump. I used to take walks on the mountain behind our house and brush snow off the limbs of the tree saplings because I worried they would bow under the weight. It was a pretty existence, but also a lonely one.
Being in the country, I yearned for the hustle and bustle of the city. The people, the activity, the culture. Give me the complete opposite of what I experienced growing up. It’s no surprise I’ve spent my adulthood in one city after another: Washington, D.C., London, San Francisco. I started to disparage the charms of nature, associating it with boredom and isolation. But then something funny happened. As I hit my Saturn return, a time when a person heals all of their childhood stuff and really comes into their own as an adult, I found myself wanting to be outside again. I wanted to walk among the trees and brush snow off the limbs of saplings. Cities started to become symbols for all that’s wrong in the world. Places filled with destruction, selfishness, greed. Places that brought out the absolute worst in humanity.
I started to hate cities, even though I live in one. I started to look upon all that the city offers with disgust, viewing every piece of trash and graffiti as a personal affront. Give me nature and beauty and the great outdoors. My life though is all about integration and learning the middle way, so now I’m coming to love both nature and cities. To see the benefits of both. Last night I saw “Arcane,” a contemporary ballet in San Francisco. It was stunning. My inner child exclaimed with joy and wonder and I was reminded, there are great things about the city. There is art and music and connection. There are things in the city that I cannot find in nature.
Originally, this post was going to be about how nature is awesome. How it can improve your outlook, and your focus, plus strengthen your immunity. But really what this post is about is finding beauty in all things. Understanding no person, place, or thing is all good or all bad. That everything has its pluses and minuses.
One of the things I love about my spiritual path is how it emphasizes that everything is God and everything comes from God. That means nature is the divine and cities are the divine and emotions are the divine. We cannot escape God nor can we find God because that’s like saying we found air – air was there all along, we just didn’t realize it or weren’t still enough to feel it.
What I’m coming to understand is the importance of embracing everything, of accepting everything, of allowing everything. The more I do that, the more I move past duality and start seeing everything as an expression of an infinite, loving consciousness. The more I do that, the more I’m also able to embrace all parts of myself and experience what unconditional self-love really means. And there’s nothing more beautiful than that.
I dream of a world where we embrace all that is. A world where we understand everything has its pros and cons and no person, place, or thing is perfect. A world where instead of looking for perfection, we accept things as they are because we are able to see the beauty in everything.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.