Johanna Kern’s article “Embracing Nature and Growing Our Tree of Life” was featured in the April 2019 print edition of The Edge magazine.
The magazine has been printed in America since 1992, has over 40K readers monthly, and hundreds of thousands more online. It focuses on topics exploring the Evolution of Consciousness and supports the Holistic Community of the Twin Cities, Upper Midwest and beyond.
Embracing Nature and Growing Our Tree of Life
by Johanna Kern
Breathe in. Fully, until you feel the air tickling at the bottom of your lungs. And then breathe out, letting your breath “fly away” with your worries and unwanted thoughts. Repeat until you smile. That’s right: smile.
You just oxidized your body. Your body is happy, and your brain is happy. For no reason at all, other than your own conscious breathing that connected you with your surroundings.
Do we remember to breathe that way when we sit in front of our computers, spend hours on our cell-phones, rush to do the numerous things that need to be done each day, and lock ourselves up in concrete walls?
Do we still acknowledge nature as our true home, or have we invented an illusory world in which we dwell — disconnected, disoriented, with too many distractions from who and how we are?
Our Tree of Life is not just a symbol, a nice piece of jewelry, or a sporadic meditation about our direction and purpose. Our Tree of Life is real. It has roots, leaves; it is covered with bark and there are birds singing among its branches. There is a whole community of plants, mushrooms and all sorts of other species residing in its generous shade.
It is meant to support and sustain life. It is a part of a community that thrives because of its nature. Or rather because of nature.
It takes generations to create such community. It takes all of nature to support it.
In this 21st century, many of us forget how important being in nature is for our well-being. It’s not only that spending some time in nature helps us to reduce stress, makes us happier and less brooding, and relieves our so-called “attention fatigue.” Spending some time in nature directly affects our ability to progress – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. It helps our creativity and problem-solving capacity.
Our personal evolution is directly linked to our connection with nature.
How does it work? Being in nature induces the alpha brainwaves in our brain. Alpha is “being here, now, in the present.” It is the resting state for the brain, while at the same time helping our overall mental performance, alertness, our mind/body integration, focus, learning and — in many cases — a genius-like state allowing for creations of any kind.
Spending some time in nature supports the well-being of our Tree of Life.
It is no accident that we use the symbol of a tree to represent our life journey. Tree of Life symbolism has a long history, crossing many cultures and belief systems. It is a symbol of positive energy, good health, new beginnings, bright future, and immortality.
Perhaps the symbol was created when our ancestors saw themselves as the protectors of the land they lived on, or maybe because they observed that their family’s safety and well-being were possible only when there was an adequate continuity of the intricate network of its branches — their family members through all generations.
Or maybe it was because of their deep understanding that our own Tree of Life needs nature to survive, to thrive and to maintain its true happiness.
As we learn and develop through our life journey, so does our Tree of Life. We have more interest in finding the best ways to evolve, we seek the wisdom of our ancestors, and later — as elders — we reach to our depths to find the assurance of our own significance, to find out whether we have been following our Heart and fulfilling our purpose in life.
Just like an old tree that loses its bark but bears seeds that contain its very essence, we too want to make ourselves immortal via leaving behind our legacy. We want our own Tree of Life to contribute to the community which cherished its growth.
Embracing our Tree of Life can happen only in harmony with our origins, and tracking those always leads us to nature. Without it, we wither before our time, we lose our direction, our innate joy; we run in circles and — sooner or later — hit a wall.
Our very core belongs to and yearns for its most natural environment: nature. Embracing nature nourishes our Tree of Life, and nourishes our soul.
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