This week I have been writing about the importance of connecting to nature for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Of course, it depends upon where you live as to how you do that – but rest assured that you can connect to Mother Earth no matter where you live – even on the 57th floor of a New York apartment building!
No matter where we are, we are held within the embrace of the Mother. I think of the air as her breath, the earth as her body and the water as her blood. In fact, everything that we can perceive with our senses is part of Gaia.
Everyone makes this connection in different ways. For me, living in a rural area on a large block, it is easy. Everywhere I look is nature. To live here is a choice that I have made, following my need to live in a natural environment. That may not be a choice that is available or desirable for you, but it need not matter. Wherever you are, know that you are in the embrace of the mother, feel that as a certainty.
Wherever we are on this diverse and wonderful planet, we are bathed in the light of the sun during the day and the moon and stars at night. Wherever we are, we experience the seasons and the cycles of that land. Wherever we are, we are surrounded by elemental nature – air, fire, water and earth. By enhancing our connection to the sun, the moon, the cycles and elements, we enhance our connection to the Mother, which brings untold benefits, and helps us fulfill part of our human duty – that of caretakers of the Earth.
A good way of plugging into nature wherever you are is to pay attention to the seasons and to eat accordingly. This concept is two-fold:
- In summer, we eat lightly. It is natural to eat salads, stir fries and other simple, fresh foods when it is hot. Often, we are not as hungry in the heat: honour that. We drink more water and eat more fruit to cool ourselves. In winter, we require heavier, more complex foods to keep us warm. We find ourselves craving soups, stews and casseroles. We eat more protein, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) and root vegetables: all of this is perfectly normal and appropriate to the season. In Spring and Autumn, the transition seasons, our bodies tend to want to cleanse. We may eat soup or juices or just rice for a few days to give our body a break and to help it move into the new season.
- The other way of eating seasonally is to become aware of what food grows when. We have gotten into the habit of wanting to have everything all the time. We expect a constant, all year round supply of things that naturally have quite short seasons. In order for us to have cherries in the winter, asparagus in the autumn or oranges in the summer, food has to be bought in from other countries, from other climates. Yes, I can eat asparagus from Peru, and cherries and navel oranges from the US – but why? The cost to the environment of flying this food in for our convenience is more than what you might think. The other aspect to this refers back to the previous point: sweet, juicy fruit is perfect to eat in summer, but not so good for us in winter. The fresh Asparagus points are an ideal spring food, but not so much in Autumn. The orange, packed with vitamin C and antioxidant, perfect for the winter, tends to be too acidic in the summer.
It is well worth while to educate yourself about what kind of food grows when in your country. Eating like this not only makes sense for your body, but it makes sense for the environment too.