different by nature

Effecting positive change with the principles of nature

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.

Thomas Merton, 1955, No Man Is An Island, “Being And Doing.”

To truly get in touch with nature is to abandon the limitations of the human mind. It is to encounter a mystery you’ll never fully understand, yet are intrinsically linked to. It is to surrender to the rhythms of an underlying intelligence completely out of your control. And it is to acknowledge that real fulfillment comes when equilibrium is achieved between many moving parts.

But we live in a world that is afraid of nature, a world that doesn’t trust what she knows―she knows timing, she knows life and death, she knows the creative process, she just knows―and she can support us, her creations, in our own personal growth. Nature is wild, yes, which contributes to our fear, this inability to control and master her, but she is also wise. At times she awakens us through destruction, but she also nurtures our growth as we cycle through the seasons―a part of, not apart from, an ongoing process of collective change.

The truth about human nature is the same truth that exists in all of nature. If you look closely at the state of the natural world, you can see your own inner experience reflected back to you. But not only is nature a mirror, it is a blueprint. There are a set of Original Instructions for how to live in peace. These instructions are not written in books or religious treatises, as many claim, but rather they are inscribed in the heart, and they can only be known through the observation of (and the contemplation on) the basic tenet that all is interconnected. You and I are but one small aspect of the complexity of life.

We are affected by and, in turn, affect all life around us, and any ignorance about our place in the grand scheme of things disrupts the sustainability of the continuum. When you are disconnected from nature, it’s easy to remain oblivious to the brilliance of her laws. Her guidance eludes those attached to human-made ideas. But hidden in her design are solutions to everyday problems great and small: crisis resolution, forgiveness, how to survive, how to think. And it is when we intentionally return to her―when we trust her and in the lessons she has to teach us―that our own restoration begins.

Nature knows that people are a tide that swells and in time will ebb, and all their works dissolve ... As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves. We must unhumanize our views a little and become confident as the rock and ocean that we are made from.

Robinson Jeffers