I signed up for the 30×30 challenge with the David Suzuki Foundation. I committed to spend at least 30 min with nature for 30 days starting May 1st. I thought it was a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy the park and the lake nearby.
Day 1 was hectic to say the least… It was the day of my mom’s citizenship ceremony, a big deadline at work, and I had class that evening. So I figure I can do 30 m after the celebratory lunch. I walked home and had planned to get to the park but that would take too long. It won’t do! As I headed south on Windermere, I heard a bird chirping very loud. Few minutes later another one… Ok I get it nature is everywhere! I spotted a beauty in a gutter and I pulled the cell phone to take a pic but he was gone! Instead of heading down all the way, I turned to Coe Hill Dr to walk by the river. To my surprise, I found a swan. Believe or not, he came over so that I can take its picture!
From that day on, I gave up on getting stressed out about finding time for the challenge and just enjoy what time I could afford with nature. During the following days I wondered in the park, the lake, the river, and my neighborhood. Sometimes alone, sometimes with company, sometimes just 30 minutes, sometimes longer. Everything flowing smoothly work, yoga, school, family, the challenge … But there were a few times, when it seemed impossible to find time for the challenge.
On day 5, I was on my way to class late in the afternoon thinking I wasn’t going to be able to do the challenge when I spotted a mysterious door. Since I was early for class, I decided to investigate. I headed to the last patch of undeveloped green land near square one. Suddenly, I saw a bunny! Just standing next to a fire hydrant. I stopped, pulled the cellphone and took a pic. I grew ambitious and I tried to get closer but he started hoping away.
The mystery door turned out to be a little Japanese garden donated by the city of Kariya to us. A truly little oasis in the middle of this concrete jungle!
Since that day I started to trust that the universe will provide time and a place for the challenge if I really need it.
Then again on day 12, I had too much to do so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and do qigong outside. It was warm enough to take my shoes off! I rejoiced in feeling rooted to the ground and so connected with nature. The energy soared around me.
Finally on day 14, I got overwhelmed and let my fears get the best of me. I stayed at home all day to study for the pathology final exam. Staring at the trees in the courtyard through my window, I hoped that a break in the weather will temp me to go outside. But it was cold and wet all day so I kept studying and getting more stress out. The next day after the completing the exam, I went home. I felt exhausted, drained, and unsatisfied. Wondering whether focusing on just one matter and throwing everything else overboard was all worth it… accepting that I am only human.
The following day, I headed outside like a junky looking for my connection with nature to help me regain my sense of peace and bliss. It totally worked! and I felt back where I wanted to be where I always want to be… There were a couple of days when I did not do the challenge but I did not gave myself a hard time for it. I accepted it as part of the experience too.
As I write this post today in Kariya park, I spotted a turtle! Basking in the sun. Immutable to the crow of kids that appeared out of no where. I even hesitated for a moment that it was real. But I saw it blinking its eye! I am growing more fond of this little park everyday.
Another benefit the challenge provided was time with my camera. Trying to document this experience and capturing those amazing sightings to share what I was privileged enough to witness gave an enormous amount of pleasure. I created an album to share some of the shots I like the most. Let me know what you think.
I feel that my connection with nature is stronger than ever. I hear birds every where. I see birds every where. I never noticed so many of them! The sightings of the bunny and the turtle felt like a gift and remind me that life is full of surprises if you take time to look, listen, and behold. I see the end of the challenge as the beginning of a renewed commitment to spend more time in the things that really matter.
I learned with this challenge that making time to connect with nature is possible . I learned to let go and not get caught up with this busy life we all think that we have to live. I learn to accept that sometimes you cannot deliver on everything you set out to do. I learned that this connection directly contributes to my health and happiness! If making time for this isn’t worth it, I don’t know what is…