Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Importance of Fresh Air and Nature

Throughout the years I have tweaked and played with different variations in our lives to find our sweet spot. We all have such widely varying personalities and needs. It can be hard to find the balance leading to harmony in our family. I love harmony. I love peace. Therefore I have pursued this modern day Elysian Field with great vigor.

There are many important factors. We all need good nutrition. I am a huge believer in diet for health and wellness. If I feel off balance the first thing I examine is the foods I have been eating. Spending the time to nurture and grow our family relationships is something not to be ignored. I cannot stress the importance of this. It all goes back to the saying, "Grass is greenest where you water it.". Long story short, there are a multitude of things, small and large, contributing to our family health and wellness.

There is one thing pulling all of these individual aspects together resulting in the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, fresh air and nature. Even more important, physical activity in fresh air.

When we fail to have adequate fresh air the results descend upon us almost immediately. Everyone is cranky and impatient. Learning slows drastically. We are more tired and bored. The restless feeling permeates the house. We all start looking glassy-eyed and distracted. It just ain't good.

Years ago, children were able to get plenty of outdoor exercise with neighborhood friends. It just isn't the case anymore. We can argue about safety versus free range, being over-scheduled versus free play, the influence of technology, or really a myriad of events culminating in the change of childhood as we know it. We can argue it or we can do something about it. Our family has decided to just do something about it.

Summer, spring, and fall is relatively easy. All of the following occurs but minus the factor I am inherently resistant to going out in the cold. I admit it. Winter is not my forte. But for the sanity and health of my I have committed myself to pull on my big girl panties and DEAL WITH IT.

One of the elements that greatly eases this process is we are an active family. My husband and I love to go out and try new things. We love to be active. We are intrepid explorers. The children have just grown up with this being their normal. I truly think it helps a lot.

Trying out new hobbies together gives us a focus. 

The added benefit is many outdoor activities help my children find their inner confidence and competence. Actually, it is the same for me as well.

The exploration of unknown paths is a favorite. 

There is always the option of bundling up and walking around our small town together. It isn't exactly nature filled but it will do this trick in a pinch. Besides, it is always a lot of fun. They usually get hot chocolate at our local independent coffee shop towards the end of our wanderings. 

But our favorites adventures are through the woods alone or with friends. Brief moments in time to get out and listen to the sounds of nature and in the quiet, perhaps hear our soul a little bit more clarity. 

I love how my children are in nature. They seem to be just more, more curious, more adventurous, more engaged, more imaginative. Nature brings out a calm energy in all of us. Laughter comes more easily and love seems to flow more naturally. These moments are terribly precious to me and I am not exactly sentimental. I know when I think back to our early days as a family, these are moments I will remember the most. 

It is out in nature many of the unnecessary layers fall away for me. It is there I can best see the simple and raw beauty of life. Life is messy and painful at times but the ultimate reality is we are here to love each other and connect deeply and truly with at least a few other people. We are here to stand witness to each other's lives and stories. This is ultimately the most important reason being outside matters deeply to me. Hopefully, I am passing on this glorious experience to my children as well. 

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,
 to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, 
and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

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