A few months ago, I attended an event that was encouraging people to plant one tree, and take care of its growth. Just one tree! With all the construction coming up in a world threatened by climate change, and deforestation and, the decline of air quality among many other issues, our children (and adults) are getting further away from establishing any connection with nature.
This summer, we had the opportunity to offer an activity which helped build on this thought (at a Family Camp in the Ananda retreat outside Pune). We started by painting our own little pots and each member came up with some very interesting & unique designs. I loved watching the bright colors carefully fill the outside of the pots and how immersed each person became! Sometimes a parent and child became co-creators! After the pots were dry, we each planted 2 seeds and learned how to do this from scratch (yes for some it was a totally new experience, including myself :))!
All the finished pots looked wonderful of course, but what was most interesting was watching each person form a connection to nature in their own way. Through the process of taking the time to finish a beautiful design, or holding lose mud in our hands, planting seeds and learning to water them delicately, we started to form a relationship to something bigger than us. These simple activities can make a deep impression on a person.
I have been thinking about one’s relationship to nature, and how long it can take to establish this. I myself was a city person for a long time, until pretty recently when I got to live outside the city for a few years and only then did I begin to appreciate the value of nature and the role it plays in helping us connect to ourselves. Watching a plant grow is fascinating as you think about what a miracle emerged from a tiny seed! But also, we know that roots take time to establish themselves, and it is only when those strong roots have formed that a sturdy plant will be able to survive. Our journeys are so much the same, and any process of transformation also takes time. As we are progressing along our journey, why not give our children, as well as ourselves as colorful a pot and as beautiful a space to grow!