This weekend I went for a hike in Topanga Canyon amidst the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s about a 20-minute drive from where I live. So close to the city, yet it seems so far away. It’s a completely different world out there.
No honking cars, no sirens, no crying babies, no barking dogs, no pollution – none of the hecticness of urban living.
All I heard was the sound of the wind and the singing of the birds. All I saw was the rocky soil, green grass, dancing trees and blooming wildflowers. And all I felt was the gentle touch of the breeze, the warming rays of the sun, and the calming beat of my own heart.
Removing myself from the busy neighborhood, standing on the top of the mountain and watching the city on one side and the ocean on the other, I had a flash of insight.
It occurred to me that it is this vast natural land and the body of oceanic water that are counterbalancing the concrete, the cars, the noise, the smog, the businesses and the millions of people living in a gigantic city called Los Angeles.
And thank God for it!
Ancient Taoism believes that yin and yang is the way of heaven and earth. And it’s the balancing of the yin and yang that creates life.
Nature is cool, moist, quiescent, peaceful, solid and nourishing. Quietly, it balances our life in an urban environment, which is busy, noisy, unsettling, aggressive, always moving, and even disorienting at times.
Personally, I have to get out of the city and into nature at least once a week – to recharge my body, mind and spirit. Living in a big city driven by competitiveness and consumerism can be exhausting. I can feel the tension, irritation and agitation building up in my body in less than a week’s time.
After a couple of hours in nature, however, all those feelings seem to dissolve into the accommodating and all-encompassing Mother Earth. There’s no worry that she can’t resolve. There’s no fear she can ease. There’s only the present, and the timeless time.
If you live in an urban environment like me, I hope you visit and spend some time in nature regularly. Go for a hike in the mountains, take a scroll on the beach, have a picnic in a park, or do some gardening in your own yard.
The nourishing soil of Mother Earth is what balances the high energy of urban living. She’s always there, waiting to embrace you…