by Jen Sellers
Wow. Think of how much time you spend inside, disconnected from the natural world. I say this not to discourage you or disparage you, but to encourage you to reflect.
For example, it’s about 65 degrees outside and gorgeous here in Tucson. I just opened my window. That’s because I reflected for a moment on how much time I spend inside. And then I thought, “Okay, I work from home, for crying out loud – why couldn’t I go sit on a bench in the yard?” So that’s where I am now, a mesquite tree shading my laptop screen. That’s the power of internal reflection. It changes external actions.
There are a bunch of reasons to get outside, as we all know.
I feel more alive just sitting out here. I feel more clear-headed, more connected to myself, and more in my body. Several varieties of birds are singing, the trees are waving gently in a slight breeze, and a small neighbor girl is doing outside chores with her Mom. I am more connected to the world.
When I walk the dog every morning and evening, my body moves, which benefits my mind and my spirit. The left-right motion is good for my brain. If I pay attention, I see patterns of beauty and sometimes patterns of pain. Both connect me with the world outside myself. As I let my mind go, ideas come to me and problems sometimes solve themselves. Wisdom seems to find me. I have more vitality, not only physically, but also emotionally and intellectually.
What stops us from getting out more? I think we all know that, too.
Some of what stops me is pure habit. My laptop is plugged in inside and that’s where I go to use it.This habit comes from the story in my head that work happens in the office, a story about what it means to work and a story about where I have to be.
I know, I know. Your situation is not the same as mine. Your office is in a manufacturing plant or a call center or a corporate complex. There’s still snow on the ground or it’s fall where you are now and it’s getting colder. Your calendar is chock-full of meetings, all of which happen either on the phone or in conference rooms. You don’t have time. You don’t have flexibility. The logistics of actually going outside just won’t work.
I invite you to look again.
Recently, I’ve been outside with two different clients. In one case, we took an easy hike on a desert trail and in the other, we walked briskly on a paved trail beside a river bed. Somehow we all made that happen in our schedules.
Like me, you’ve probably thought of the ways you could move your proverbial laptop outside and yet haven’t done it. My theory is that it’s what’s in our heads that’s stopping us rather than what’s in our circumstances.
So make a plan to take a small step to get out of your head and out of your workspace and into the natural world. You don’t have to leave your job and become a naturalist – just choose something you can do, and then go do it. Take a walk with a colleague instead of having a conversation via email. Sit outside for lunch. Stand or walk with an employee between buildings for that check-in talk. Set it up for this week, today, right now. What is waiting for you right outside your door?