It is amazing how much you can learn about life by watching nature. My husband and I took a week to rest and relax on the beautiful beaches of Florida. Each morning I got up and walked along the shoreline. Afterwards I couldn’t have felt more relaxed. It was a perfect exercise of mindfulness, gratitude, and life lessons.
I’m convinced that if we all had the time to take an hour walk in nature daily, our mental health would greatly improve. Alas, life doesn’t work that way. However, we all can spend 10-20 minutes practicing gratitude and mindfulness wherever we are.
So you may be wondering what life lessons I learned from a 1-legged bird. One of the mornings I was walking the beach, an elderly gentleman pointed out an amazing little bird he had just passed on the beach. Like the rest of the birds, he was hopping along picking out whatever birds eat out of the sand. As the waves would wash ashore, he’d hop away. As they receded he’d hop towards the water to get his food. What was so amazing is that he was just like the rest of them and didn’t let his handicap get in the way. What a life lesson that is.
We are all one legged birds
We all have something we could call a handicap. It may be physical or mental, or some other type of weakness that we might have. We don’t need to let our handicap get in our way. We can adapt to meet our needs. This little bird didn’t sit back and say, woe is me, or have another bird get his food. He just jumped right in there and ate with the rest of them. What a lesson in resilience.
Now this isn’t to say that life was easy for him. Nor would I ever say that life is easy for anyone. But he just did the best he could with what he had. That is all any of us can do.
Waves of emotion
I had also mentioned that the bird dodged the waves that came toward him, as they would knock him over if he didn’t. He didn’t let them get in the way. We can make several analogies about life lessons and the waves too. The waves didn’t stop him from getting what he wanted. Life is like this too.
What are the waves for you? Could it be anxiety? Just like the waves, sometimes anxiety comes in little ripples that we can ignore. Other times, they are a little stronger and can push us around a little. In some moments they seem to come out of nowhere and knock us over.
Many people think that something is wrong with them if they have anxiety. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that we are wired with. It helps us stay alive. Think of the fight or flight response. Our bodies react the same way with anxiety as with the fight or flight response. Heart rate and breathing increase when we get anxious. This allows us to act quickly.
Do the large waves last forever? No, and neither does anxiety. They both might be uncomfortable in the moment. Don’t fight the wave or it will make things worse. The little bird was no match for the waves. Just ride the wave and it will be much easier than fighting it. Over time, both feelings and waves calm down and relax.
So the next time you get anxious, just remind yourself that just like that big wave, it will pass. Just like the bird, get out of the way of the wave, and enjoy the things that give your life meaning.
Urges and addiction
Perhaps the waves in your life are something like some type of addiction or suicidal thoughts. Do these urges last forever, 24 hours a day? No. They are urges. Just like the waves, they come and go. You do not have to give into the destructive urges. It helps if you give yourself some time before acting on your urge. Many times the urge will pass.
I’d never suggest that you act on an urge to commit suicide. If you have suicidal thoughts, it helps to have a coping plan-who you will call, what you can do, etc., so you don’t act on those thoughts. Remember, your urge to end your life will go away and quiet down. The problems of today will most likely mean very little in the future. They will work themselves out.
I’d highly recommend that you use nature as a healthy coping mechanism to deal with your problems and addictions. By being mindful and in the moment while in nature is healing. It’s a great place to think and let your problems melt away. Doing so will help you solve your problems. Giving in to your addiction only adds to the problem. The relief you get from using will be short lived. Nature is always there and can help you long term.
Those are a few of the life lessons that I learned. If you struggle in life and need some tools to help you through the difficult times, please give me a call at 713-304-6554.