We all know that walking through nature can provide an opportunity to settle our brain noise, gain some clarity in our thoughts and provide a sense of peace or sanctity. I know being around natural landscapes definitely does that for me and I personally notice the effect it has when life gets tough and the challenges pile on.
By why is that nature has this effect on us? Why is it that once we walk through a huge park, spend time by the ocean, or trek through a forest or bushland, we begin to gain perspective on life and our problems?
It’s really simple. Nature is incredibly larger than us. The trees are taller than us, the fields run for longer than our feet can carry us, the oceans are endless – literally, and the bush harbours an infinite amount of life. Consider that for a moment.
The moment you place yourself amongst anything that is significantly larger than you, you immediately compare yourself to it and realise just how small you are. Through realising your size, you also realise and begin to come to terms with the real size of you’re problems.
If the ocean were to gobble you up, your problems are gone. If a 100-year-old tree were to fall on you, problems finished. We are merely tiny ants in the grand scheme of things. A tiny drop in the ocean, a small leaf on a branch, a blade of grass in a field.
It’s easy to think, well what’s the point then? Why do I bother putting so much effort into my life if I’m so small and insignificant?
The answer to that is also simple. Everything that exists, exists for a very specific and unique reason. Don’t believe me? Ask the dinosaurs.
Anything that is unnecessary, nature renders redundant. As though it’s the employer of all things living. That means if you’re unnecessary, then you’ll be made redundant. But you’re still here. I know this because you’re reading these very words. That means, you’re completely and totally necessary to the grand scheme and you’ve got more to get done in your time here.
We’re all a thread part of a larger tapestry, a rock that is part of a mountain, a drop part of a stream, a branch connected to a towering trunk. What happens to most people is that they get so caught up in the fact that they’re a branch, they forget they’re part of a 400-year-old tree that makes up a forest. They forget they’re a part of a stream that carries water through various borders of land to nurture life. They forget they’re the reason a mountain can stand 1000’s of km tall without fear of falling.
The reason why most people get caught up in the smaller picture is actually interesting. Look around your room, office or where ever you are and you’ll notice that most of the material items around you have been made to a size that is suitable for you to use.
For example, a coffee cup is small enough to wrap your fingers around, a chair ergonomically shaped to fit your bum, a pen designed to fit between to fingers, an iPad thin enough to mistake for a drink coaster, doorways, walkways, cars, shoes, keys and so on. I think you get my point here.
Our material life has been sized to make us feel in control and to make our lives more manageable. And while that’s great because it does, in fact, make life easier when we can fit it in the palm of our hand, it also has downsides. One of which is that we get so caught up trying to manage these human-sized lives, we begin to lose that grand perspective more and more, until we lose total perspective and begin to sound completely irrational – an experience I’m somewhat familiar with.
Get outside! Go for a walk, go for a run, go for a swim in the ocean, run through a field, sit in a park and look around (not down at your phone or book), stand atop a cliff and view outward at how grand the landscape is, look up the trunk of a huge 100-year-old tree.
Whatever you do, go and allow nature to show you some perspective. It’s incredibly powerful and the more that you do it, the more you’ll be able to maintain a healthy perspective.
Start today! Make no excuses. Your human-sized life can wait, believe me.