Albert Einstein: Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.
David Whyte: Preservation of the Soul (excerpt from David Wagoner poem: Lost): If what the tree or the branch does is lost on you, then you are surely lost. Stand still, the forest knows where you are. You must let it find you.
Dr Joanna Macy: Coming Back to Life : Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World; Joanna R. Macy, Molly Young Brown; New Society Publishers (1998); ISBN 0-86571-391-X and World as Lover, World as Self; Parallax Press (2005); ISBN 0-938077-27-9.
These amazing authors, thinkers, scientists and poets – among others – touch a chord in most. We are entirely part of nature, and we have been sheared from it by modern life. In so doing, we are sheared from a part of ourselves – our core. Interestingly, the definition of shear makes reference to a ‘structural strain’ that causes the shear or break. Like sociologist Anthony Giddens I believe that structure can constrain agency, but never entirely prevent it. So in this hopeful vein, societal norms and the strains of modern life can make it difficult for us to reconnect with nature, but they cannot entirely prevent us from doing so.
“Stop and smell the roses” may not just be a trite cliché, but wise advice to regenerate our (in Karl Marx’s words) species-being.