It was ten or eleven on a cold winter night (yeah, yeah, this sounds like the opening sentence to a different kind of story but bear with me!). I was driving home after a meeting or book club and passed a little cottage whose front porch was brightly lit. There, pacing back and forth, with cold puffs rushing out of her lips was a mama comforting her infant.
I wasn’t yet a mom. And so the story I told myself that night was that that poor, tired mom had to leave the house in order to make sure no one else was bothered by whatever had the baby upset. There was nothing wrong with that in my mind; it would just take me becoming a mom for me to understand something else that mama must have known, too.
Being outside heals. One of the quickest ways to calm our upset babe a few years later was to step outside. Day or night, a little fresh air did the job better than my kisses and coos ever could.
There is nothing quite as soothing as a quiet patch outdoors, ideally with a little vista and some sun (if you are spending more than 20 minutes outside, don’t forget the sunscreen) to shine down on you.
When I was writing Beautiful You, I had the chance to speak to Jolina Ruckert, a researcher at the University of Washington, who said, “Many seem to neglect to realize how connections to the natural world are necessary for human to flourish. There’s a lot of research suggesting that experiencing nature is therapeutic. Being in nature helps us recuperate, relax, and reflect, among a myriad of other physiological and psychologiccal benefits. We need nature. For much of our evolutionary history, we have had deep, complex relationships with the natural world. A need to interact with nature is deeply ingrained in the architecture of our minds. Our relationship with nature is part of who we are and what it means to be human.”
Now, I try to get outside some everyday. Whether it is during my morning run/walk or later in the day at the park or riding bikes with my boy, I try to relsih in all that natures offers us.
Today: Step outside, find a peaceful spot, and just enjoy it—no matter the weather—for at least five minutes. Observing nature centers us while also reminding us of a very important lesson about self-acceptance: every single hydrangea bush is shocking in its colors and every single hydrangea bloom is beautiful, even though no two are alike, every oak tree is majestic in its stance while every oak tree is unique, each red cardinal that flashes by you is equally radiant. The appreciation we have for nature is the appreciation we should have for the beauty and variety of human life. Stepping outside helps us expand our thinking beyond the size of our thighs and the gray in our hair and allows us to really appreciate what matters.
1. Where did you spend your time outside today? What did you observe?
2. How did your observations inform your own understanding about self-acceptance and the beauty of all things (including you)?
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Excited about this journey? Want more? Pick up Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance for a year long plan and guidance.