Friday, April 8, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Get yourself outside

To me, living your life consciously and with purpose means always looking for meaningful moments. It's about finding places, people and pass-times that bring more joy to your life. It's also about finding efficient ways to deal with your chores and obligations.

One of the most potent ways to bring more joy into your life is in my opinion to slow down and simplify your life. The simple pleasures of life are all around us at any time and we are free to take them in and enjoy them whenever we want. I think that one of the best ways to slow down and really take in your life is to clear your schedule and get yourself outside.

We spend too much time inside in unnatural environments today. We work and play sitting in chairs and coaches almost every hour of the day. While I am sure it's possible to have some truly sublime moments on Facebook, we still throw away enormous amounts of our lives on empty time-killing activities. Watching TV is one of the worst time drains invented, but we are quickly becoming experts at throwing away our time online as well. My issues is not with TV watching or the internet itself, it is with how they have turned into sources of mindless and unconscious consumption of entertainment.

By unconscious consumption I mean that we turn to these things out of habit, not as a result of consciously deciding how we want to spend our time. The next time you sit down to watch TV, cruise around stumbleupon.com or read some rambling blog post do yourself a favor and think what you want to accomplish with that time. If your best answer is to unwind and relax get up and go outside.

In a time charred by stress and time crunching the simple joy of experiencing nature is becoming increasingly rare. This is a great shame, not only is nature always around us and completely free to experience, unwinding in a natural environment also has great health benefits.

If you are objecting that you live in the inner cities and don't have access to nature my advice is to look better. Even the densest city landscapes in the US are littered with small pockets of nature pearls. I have had awesome nature experiences in the middle of downtown Los Angeles. If you slow down and look up you will see that we share our cities with amazing wild animals and courageous trees and plants. As with so many different things in life, you will find what you truly look for.

While urban squirrel spotting can be a fascinating and joyful activity, nothing beats taking in a serene natural scene. It can be in a good sized city park, or a walk along the creek in the woods behind your house. No matter where you go for your nature fix, don't waste these golden moments. Let the experience of nature fill your consciousness, forget about that TPS report or the blog post you have planned. Instead, kick off your shoes, feel the earth under your feet. Breath in deeply of fresh air and be quiet. Listen to the many sounds around you look for animals or beautiful shapes and colors. Enjoy the feeling of moving in this space and fully embrace your place as an animal in the world. There is no better way to eliminate stress than to immerse yourself in nature.

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