One of my favorite authors, Andrew Boyd, has a book called Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe. My favorite lines from his book are the following:
“when you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
This book, and this quote especially, resonates with me for a lot of reasons. I once burst into tears in front of a group of my peers because my friends were stressed about college applications. I had already decided where I was going to college, but the overwhelming anxiety that many of my classmates had about where they would continue their education felt suffocating at times. You might be thinking about how college applications are not a life or death situation…which I am aware of! However, sometimes it’s the smallest things that get to me. In his book, Andrew Boyd addresses what it’s like to be a highly sensitive person in a world that endures a lot of hardship. Second, he uses his writing as a way to affirm empaths, reminding people who have sometimes been labeled as weak or who have been told their sensitivity is a weakness that they are actually quite strong and resilient.
I love being empathetic. It allows me to easily connect with others and it’s guided me to realize what I want to do with my life. It’s great when you are supporting someone, but when their emotions start to become your own, it gets overwhelming. In times of distress, it can be especially hard to turn away from what’s going on. Even if I don’t physically come in contact with what’s happening or even read about it in the news, I soak up the energy around me. While it may make tough times harder, it also allows me to feel intense contentment with others’ happiness or with things around me. Nature has always been a sanctuary for me. Pair that with exercise, which relieves me anxiety, and a run through the woods is often exactly what I need to feel grounded again. This is something that’s truly kept me at ease during this pandemic and something I’m really thankful for. I’m grateful for the nice weather in Austin that makes running/walking outside possible on most days of the year. However, I also deeply enjoyed watching the seasons change the scenery around me in Ohio.
While nature is ever changing, it’s always there and it never loses it’s healing energy. The stillness of it allows you to connect with how you’re feeling internally without anyone else’s emotions surrounding you. It aids in better sleep, quicker recovery from illness, restores your energy, and helps your overall well being.
So, whether or not Andrew Boyd’s words resonate with you, taking time to spend in nature this week will benefit you in all sorts of ways. If you have a furry friend, consider taking them along; they’ll love it just as much as you will.