We need to be aware before we can appreciate, and as Tara points out, as our awareness grows our appreciation will, too. Meditation of any kind can be a powerful way to increase awareness of the present moment and open our soul, heart, mind, and body to help us appreciate more.
Appreciate the Unappreciated
Just as it can be easy to appreciate people who are nice to us, it can also be easy to appreciate the beautiful aspects of Mother Earth. Can we go deeper and appreciate the complexities and the unbeautiful aspects of ourselves, others, and our Earth as well?
I remember a meditation teacher asking the class to raise their hand if they loved their city. This class was taking place in a city that currently has many challenges—terrorism, crime, etc. No one in the class raised their hand. He laughed and said, why wouldn’t you love your city?! You live here!
Can we apply this love in a similar way to aspects of life that are difficult to love? Can you love the shadow parts of yourself and others that challenge you? Can you love your city? Can you extend your Earth appreciation to include loving the unbeautiful parts of the planet?
Can you have Earth appreciation for:
- The garbage truck that picks up our trash
- The landfill that holds our garbage
- The gas that uses Mother Earth’s fuel and enables us to travel in our cars, trains, planes, etc.
- The water that holds our sewage
- The electricity that enables us to see in the dark, connect with each other through Wifi, use our smart devices, and power innumerable areas of our life?
Other Ways to Cultivate Appreciation
- Write a Love Letter: Nurture Your Relationship with Mother Earth
From Tara: The first step to caring and taking positive action for Mother Earth is to have a relationship with her. We are her (Mother Earth, ME= ME!) and we all come from her; she sustains our lives in every moment. So take a ‘pause on the planet’ to simply say thank you and appreciate anything that comes into your heart (for example, food, clothing, fresh air, a moment of peace, flowers, etc.). Just notice what you are noticing as you contemplate during this brief pause. The next step could be writing her a love letter. You can find additional guidance in this blog post.
- Extra credit: Write a love letter to yourself.
- Here’s a simple handout to get you started. (You can use this with the kids in your life, too.)
- And here’s another handout with affirmations you can use for the Earth and yourself. You can turn them into a journal prompt for deeper reflection in your self-care and Earth-care.
- Best Books for Meditation
- Further ways to cultivate Appreciation from Tara.
Get your Vitamin N
It’s been shown in research that many people are suffering from ‘nature deficit disorder’ or the lack of ‘Vitamin ‘N’ (nature). There are many benefits to being outdoors–calming emotions, regulating heart rate, increasing dopamine and serotonin feel-good hormones, and reducing overall stress. Spending a few minutes in nature each day and increasing to several hours or more each week will help you to align with your ‘true nature’—your joyful, peaceful, loving self.
- Here’s a site with great infographics and literature on the benefits of nature from the Children’s Nature Network.
- Here are some ideas and notice how things shift
- Go for a walk
- Breathe with a plant or tree
- Lean against a tree and imagine the roots of the tree grounding down, imagine roots extending from your feet
- Indoors: be with your plants or rest with a favorite nature object (such as a rock, pine cone, feather, etc.)