It was great news to hear Governor Wolf change the status of the state of Pennsylvania from strict yellow regulations to much looser and relaxed green regulations. So many things have changed in our world over the last four months since Covid-19 became a word in our daily conversations. Masks and social distancing are the current norms. But how can many of us think about the words “Going Green” in other terms, like nature?

Many Americans are having feelings of sadness, anger, grief, apathy, numbness, and anxiety about what is going to happen next. What does this do to our health? Evidently, the body is fascinating in that we have a limbic system that kicks into gear when such feelings engulf us. We can take on the choices to either fight, flight, or freeze. Our bodies cycle through all of them trying to decide which is most beneficial. A fight can be seen as anger, anxiety, or an adrenaline rush. Flight can be seen as overexcitement or anger. Freeze can be seen as depression, sadness, or even ambivalence. Being a mindful observer during these cycles can help improve both mood and health.
Living with nature and allowing the sounds, smells, and sights fill one’s soul relaxing one’s mind is crucial during these trying times.
I tried a moment of mindful observation. Closing my eyes, I could hear the melodic beat of the red-headed woodpecker sending out his rhythmic sound for all to hear. I hear the stream rushing forcefully after heavy rains have created swollen river banks. The sound of the water sends a comforting humming of how alive the stream can become. The sound of the water flowing is interrupted by the steady crunching of stones under the feet of a lone runner taking in the sun and shade of the park’s paths. As my eyes reopen, I observe two squirrels wrestling together. Running halfway up the tree and then coming back down the trunk to immediately jump on each other in a rolling wrestle. Is this a dance, a playful tumble together or have two squirrels found love?

During this exercise in being a mindful observer, I was totally able to forget the pain and anxiety I was feeling and be conscious of the peace that nature gives unconditionally. The paths at Kalmbach are busting with so much to see, hear, smell, and feel. Life is abundant and visitors will be rewarded greatly.
Let us be reminded that “Going Green” can be an indication that there are numerous benefits in getting out in nature and observing what is happening around oneself. There are five great elements, according to Ayurveda, the science of life, that helps keep one’s well-being. These are space, air, fire, water, and earth. Finding time each day to direct attention toward our senses in the context of these five great elements allows us to more fully appreciate our lives and giving our attention and appreciation for these elements allows balance and healing to emerge.

Stay well, stay healthy, and stay green.

See you along the path…