“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” – William Shakespeare
Hello spiritual warriors! And welcome to another week of Life Tools. This week we explore the magnificence of nature. The dictionary defines nature as the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth. And it’s easy -as we race through the wild month of December- to be more focused on things, sales, stuff, products… but rarely the products of the earth.
A few weeks ago –at my annual Five Realms Retreat in Maya Tulum on the Mexican Riviera- I had the privilege of witnessing one of the most profound feats of nature. It was a bit before midnight and under the darkness of a new moon, a volcano of freshly hatched baby turtles burst from the sand. Hundreds of them bubbled up, poured out onto the beach to begin their trek to the sea where they would head out into the ocean to begin their new life. But because of the blackness of the night sky, they wandered aimlessly heading away from the waves lapping the shore only 20 feet away.
Unlike baby alligators, which are liberated from their nest by their mother, sea turtle hatchlings must do it all themselves. Digging out of the nest is a group effort that can take several days. And once they decide to burst out, they erupt from the nest cavity as a group. The little turtles orient themselves to the brightest horizon, and then dash toward the sea.
But there was no horizon… it was pitch black. So I turned on the light of my iPhone and began filming. They reoriented themselves to the light and began following it. I slowly backed up into the ocean and they chased the light until they reached the edge of wall of seaweed. Two meditation teachers at the retreat played the role of midwives, ferrying the stragglers over the seaweed wall and into the ocean.
Once in the water, baby turtles typically swim several miles off shore, where they are caught in currents and seaweed that may carry them for years before returning to nearshore waters. There are many obstacles for hatchlings in the open ocean. Sharks, big fish, circling birds and of course the man-made challenges of tar balls, nets, garbage, pollutants, and plastic threaten them in every moment. The obstacles are so numerous for baby turtles that only about one in 1,000 survives to adulthood. It is my hope that in that one isolated evening, we made a difference and somehow increased those odds.
But that’s just one night out of 365 and in a very unique situation. There are hundreds of opportunities throughout the year that each of us gets to make a difference and we shouldn’t squander those chances. Humans have a very sensitive relationship with nature. We have the power to make certain species extinct through poaching, carelessness, greed, and laziness. And we also have the power to elevate the human-animal dynamic by taking small actions each day. We can start by simply recognizing that we are all connected… that we ARE nature not separate from it. That all life is precious and we have the power to celebrate it, conserve it, and nourish it.
We can use less plastic, buy reusable containers, recycle, avoiding beauty products made with plastic scrubbing beads. We can also make efforts to clean beaches, adopt our pets, support animal rights organizations, and eat less meat & dairy. And we can start in this moment by simply being kinder to ourselves, to each other, being more present with those we spend time with, being more forgiving, and showing more compassion to those in our lives.
Let’s treasure our humanity and in the meantime…I’ll see you in the gap!
Live in the Los Angeles area? Join me this Wednesday night at UNPLUG Meditation Studio for an intimate meditation class. Let’s connect with the stillness & silence that rests within.