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Nature and Relationships

Human hand shaking with tree

When we think of our connection to nature, we usually speak in terms of protecting and caring for the environment. But nature teaches us that our human relationships might be a part of its larger drive toward unity and balance.

In the exchange of energy in the world around us, nature shows us how it is composed of a type of interaction that is built on a pattern of interconnectivity. Since all things influence each other, this might be a clue that there is a deeper meaning to our human relationships.

Molecular interaction resembles the charge that we bring out in each other during an argument. A chemical reaction occurs because of the type of charges that come together. Anytime elements meet in the molecular world there will be an exchange of energy. The charge is released and balance is returned.

We may be brought together for the same reason.

Imagine a traffic jam on a freeway. A driver becomes impatient and uses the on-ramp lane to pass other cars. In a sense, this is a positive charge to move forward. A similar type of energy exists in another driver further up the road. They too, are impatient and when they see the car coming, they purposely block it. This is similar to a negative charge. The two individuals offer expletives to each other in a very natural exchange of energy.

Their opposing charges and unbalanced energy states brought them together. After the release, each continues on their way with less frustration, and both are somewhat depleted of the need to move outside of the flow of events.

Being in Nature Brings us Back to The Present

Spending a day in nature is the best remedy for civilization overload. I am not referring to the noises, and hustle and bustle of city life. Civilization overload is the way society and its conforming influences pull us away from our authenticity. No two trees are alike and each creature is unique in a web of mutual sustenance. We are reminded of our uniqueness and can explore the part we play in its design.

When we meet the powerful forces of nature, we are stripped of anything that might block our sense of awe and wonder. We experience the sounds and sights of an enormous eco-system. Sunlight filters through the trees to orchestrate a chain of abundance, while ice-melt creates swollen rivers that sustain cities hundreds of miles away. Nature’s power extends from one end of the universe to the very ground where we stand. It encompasses everything – why would we believe we can be separate from its interconnectivity?

Where our sense of time gets distorted in a busy work day, nature is always timely. It brings about the exact conditions that will lead to regeneration and growth.

We breathe in the fresh air and are brought back to the place of our birth. After all, we are natural creatures in a natural world.

Our place of birth is always in the here and now.

What Conflict in Nature Reveals About Relationships

Nature is not without apparent conflict. Weather patterns, molecular activity and even the drive for sustenance reveals the larger organism of life seeking balance.

One summer, I noticed how the blue jay population seemed to explode, and I worried because they were eating the robin eggs. I especially love the onset of Spring accompanied by the beautiful song of the robin. The next summer the crow population grew larger than normal and they were eating the blue jay eggs!

There had been a season of wildfires in the Sierras and an abundance of mosquitos and yellow jackets. Crows transport seeds and consume more insects than smaller birds. The black bears also eat yellow jacket larvae and our bear proof garbage containers makes trash inaccessible to them. Left to its own devices, nature will balance out the unique needs of its creatures.

What we may observe as conflict is how nature evens out its extremes.

What Nature Teaches us About Relationships

While nature provides a great homing device for us as individuals, its pursuit of a type of balance that transcends good and bad can also teach us about human relationships. Surrendering judgment to experience a moment with another human being, the moment becomes much more profound.

Nature shows us how our desire to defend the truth through misguided judgment is part of society’s conditioning. When two people argue, each is attempting to justify some form of truth. The argument is based on differing opinions influenced by outlooks. While either side holds firmly to the idea that only one form of truth exists, this lack of balance brings about a reaction.

Nature honors diversity while driving unity. This means there will always be two sides with unique needs, although nature will always strive to balance these needs.

Judgment is Based on Assumptions of the Past

One party can be blamed for what they had perceived as an innocent action when the other party passes judgment. People can feel misunderstood and insulted when their integrity is questioned. An argument can become an opportunity to discover the importance of another on our path. This is especially obvious when a casual relationship moves into the commitment stage.

Just as cold and warm fronts are brought together, and unnatural dams are loosened through torrential rains, anything that would impede nature’s drive toward growth and abundance will be torn down.

Our desire to hold to ideas of the past are no match nature's power to return us to NOW.

The Benefit of the Doubt

Nothing in nature can be judged as malicious. Rushing to judgment in how it balances supply and demand is short sighted. Only by suspending judgment can we see the reason why something unfolds the way it does. During our greatest moments of crisis, we later see the silver lining breaking through our cloudy outlook. The sun always rises and we access greater depths within. Self-limiting beliefs are no match for the power of nature to break us free.

In approaching any misunderstanding, seek first to understand the dynamics that created the situation. Give the other party the benefit of the doubt. This means you “believe something good about the person, rather than something bad when you have the possibility of doing either.” When you assume malice behind someone’s actions, you are basically saying they are a bad person. Passing judgment is the same as trashing another’s integrity.

In our limited perspective, we sometime miss the reason things unfold the way they do. When we give each experience the benefit of the doubt too, we move away from the idea that life is ever working against us.

From the moment of our birth, nature has been committed to our growth and well being.

Unconscious Motivation Behind Behavior

The underlying motivation behind behavior reveals how an event can be used to unearth an unprocessed resentment that has nothing to do with the present. Something hidden away in the psyche demands expression. Just as nightmares are the first sign of this internal quaking, crisis can bring about the same opening. We blame the other when it may be our own misunderstanding breaking through for clarity.

While two people argue over an event in which one or the other will be able to assert ‘their truth,’ it is better to understand the underlying issues. This requires a discussion where the ‘charge’ is removed so underlying feelings or misunderstandings of the past can be explored. By stepping back, we observe the bigger picture.

Even hurricanes serve a purpose of regulating water temperatures and regenerating the earth. This type of cathartic regeneration also happens in our relationships with others.

What the 'Charge' in an Argument Really Means

Charge is the energy used to defend an idea. The more we feel our idea is not given merit, the more defensive we become. Whether we are the ‘accused’ or the ‘accuser’ we can remove the charge in the disagreement by letting go of the need to be right.

Charge is generally felt in the solar plexus, so a good practice is to respond without reaction and observe the shift of energy in the solar plexus. If the charge remains – we can explore it at a personal level. What are we protecting and why? Is our defensiveness based on the present or the internal critic? What are we trying to prove and why?

Defensiveness is usually based on a fear of inadequacy.

When we return to the root of the relationship, we observe why this person is walking with us on our path. Perhaps they challenge us? Maybe they are the only person who truly ‘gets us.” The other party may be going through personal challenges and exploring fears that have nothing to do with us. Removing the charge, we can put aside the current misunderstanding and explore a dialogue that truly seeks to understand.

Nature removes unbalanced energy in the environment through lightning and volcanic reactions. While an argument is never pleasant, it may actually be the first step in a real breakthrough to achieve balance and deeper intimacy.

Gravity is Like Commitment in a Relationship

Like gravity we observe in celestial orbits, commitment is like gravity that pulls us inexorably toward what we believe. The bigger our belief, whether conscious or unconscious, the greater the pull we exert over others.

We can say we are committed to a relationship but have a fear of abandonment or fear of intimacy. We unwittingly create the exact situation that will bring this fear out of hiding. This means while we believe the relationship won’t last, we hold to an unconscious trajectory that will make this happen. The outcome always reveals the true nature of our beliefs.

Saying we are in a committed relationship while we allow these fears to grow in the darkness of the psyche creates an unhealthy and unresolved internal condition. Nothing can hide from nature, and our fears can be brought out of hiding much like the imbalances that create storms.

If we are truly committed to the relationship then we take everything in stride as a learning experience. This type of commitment is always based on the benefit of the doubt. In a million years, we would never question the integrity of our partner. We can have disagreements, but we give each other permission to see the world in our own unique way.

Do We Harbor a Commitment to Go or Stay?

When we understand our fears and underlying motivations, we will begin to see whether we are committed to the relationship or living in the fear of losing it. Like any imbalance in nature, if we do not possess self-love, we put too much emphasis on our partner to validate it. There will be a repercussion geared toward balance.

In a job, we notice that if we harbor ideas of leaving, everything will begin to validate reasons to go. When we are committed to staying and growing, each challenge becomes a learning experience. In the same way we grow in abilities at work, we grow in our ability to be deeply intimate with another when we approach a relationship with the same open mind.

Erosion is a great example of how the hardness surrounding our mindset creates the exact conditions that will return life to our inner soil. When the ground hardens, storms become more severe. Anything that appears to be working against us, is actually reinvigorating life within.

There is No Truth Beyond Nature, Only Authenticity

Nature teaches us not to seek truth beyond what is. In nature, there is only authenticity. Behavior should be authentic rather than correct because it is through our mistakes that we discover who we really are. Adopting other’s behaviors or changing to meet their expectations leads us away from authenticity.

While we judge others, we are also judging ourselves. If you don’t believe me, spend a day believing in the goodness of strangers and you can’t help but feel better about yourself. Since we have no rules for ourselves, we don’t project rules onto others. Life is a journey of exploration and learning.

Attempting to fight through the world with a sword of truth leads to a road of many battles. Sometimes the battle breaks us open to our deeper truth. Sometimes the battle gives us nothing more than the ability to say we won. It is better to lay down the sword and respect another’s right to be unusual. Their behavior should never threaten our right to be unusual.

Without judgment, we find that life transforms from a place of battles to a place of joy.

The Human Journey is Tied to Nature

Nature shows us how it operates as one large system of inter-relationships. Its purpose seems to keep everything open, growing and balanced. Hard-headedness might be the reason life seems to want to break the mind open by bringing opposite outlooks together. The larger organism of life does not leave humans on the sidelines as spectators. We are deeply connected to its story of growth. We are never victims, but active participants in what unfolds. Life doesn't happen to us – it happens because of us.

To be authentic means to open and embrace failure with the same enthusiasm demonstrated toward success. Failure invigorates learning more than success will ever do.

Evolution is a perfect example of the trial and error necessary for success.

Nature teaches us about benevolence because it always is on the side of the greater good. Compassion is not so much a virtue as it is a way of diving deeper into intimacy – both with ourselves – and with others. Compassion is not something we offer others – it is living life with passion. When we stop in the middle of a disagreement to recognize how we can learn more about what life wants from us, we become part of something greater than ourselves.

Good and Bad are Illusions

Nature teaches us that judgment is a momentary snapshot of a much larger picture we fail to see. We measure good against what we deem to be bad until what we deem bad is recognized as good. Therefore, something and nothing produce each other the way clouds can appear from nowhere and disappear back into a clear, blue sky.

What was the point?

Perhaps a cloudy mood is the first sign that our inner weather is going to bring about the winds of renewal. Unhappiness can lead to a cleansing rain that reinvigorates the inner terrain to prepare it for optimal growth.

Unhappiness is just a hunger pain for change.

Cherish the individual who can awaken you to your connection to the larger tapestry.