For me, one of the proofs of the existence of a higher power is the details of the natural world. For example, the wings of a butterfly, snowflakes, seashell patterns and a zillion other tiny details just can’t be random as far as I’m concerned. These are the things that make me love nature. When I am in nature I can’t help but think about the larger universe and my place in it. I think about my relationship with God and how in all of the religious books I have ever heard of, so many important teaching moments and events occurred outside in nature. When I think this way, my whole world becomes a temple. Nature is the place I feel closest to God.
I have always worked indoors. I have seldom felt close to God at work. For years I thought these two worlds – nature and work – were incompatible. Nature was peaceful. Work could be negative and volatile. In my black and white world the outdoors and the indoors were enemies. Then I came to a point in my life where I felt a strong need to reconnect to my spiritual side. Part of this journey to greater spiritual well being included a commitment to bridge the gap between my spiritual practice and my day to day world. As a way to embark on this path I began a morning meditation practice. I contemplated how I could be more spiritually aware during working hours while still honoring my career responsibilities and the people around me. Then one day I had the most wonderful – and amazingly simple – insight that I laughed at myself for its pure perfection. My insistence that there was this invisible wall between my peaceful natural world and my hectic work world was just that, my own insistence on an arbitrary rule of my own making. It was not a law of physics, a legal issue or part of God’s plan. All I had to do was abandon my self imposed secular constraints and allow my creativity to fashion a way to bring peace to my working environment.
I discovered it’s fun and easy to bring the peace of God’s natural world into my everyday work space. The key thing that made it a spiritual practice for me rather than just plunking a potted plant on my desk was the intention that I brought to the activity. I meditated on what elements of nature were most symbolic of spirit for me and then got creative with how I could create a subtle altar at work that was deeply meaningful to me without infringing on the comfort levels of coworkers. I sought to create a space that would both hold my spiritual presence and serve as a reminder that I am part of a higher consciousness of community in the world and that everything I do whether it’s at home or at work is part of that community and must honor that connection.
The prayerful end result was a couple of smooth beach stones and a seashell strategically placed on my desk because the ocean is, for me, the place where I feel closest to and most connected with God, a family photo framed in natural materials that were both tactile and beautiful that reminds me of my larger purpose and heartfelt gratitude in life, a screensaver depicting a gorgeous and peaceful landscape that could be accessed at the tap of a button when I needed a moment of restorative thought and a couple of other small touches that I change with the seasons to help me stay present within the natural world.
Now, whether I have set time aside to pray outside in nature or I am at the office doing paperwork each moment of my day has a spiritual meaning and I am able to bring a higher presence to my own life and the lives of those around me.
The bridging of my two worlds of nature and work has brought a greater sense of peace to my life and a heightened sense of service to all that I do. My spiritual side is no longer relegated to brief moments of prayer and contemplation but has been released into the world. I found that by bringing together the outdoors and the indoors I have brought together my inner and outer selves in a way that makes me better at my work as well as providing me with a deeper connection to God.