Remember that line from American Beauty, when that kid says “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it”? I know what he meant. There are times when I sit outside among the trees or the sand dunes or the river, and I try to take it all in but I just don’t know how to process it. It’s during those times when I am filled with wonder and there’s no room for anything else in my consciousness. I want to make that beauty a part of me, somehow. I want to truly appreciate it by creating a permanent store of gratitude within myself.

When there’s turmoil in my life, I go outside to be soothed by the world. Sometimes I try too hard to make that happen. I will sit on the sand, watching the ocean, and think: “Okay, what is so amazing about this? How can I wrest a new perspective on life from this situation? …… Why isn’t this doing anything for me?” Of course I’ve come to realize that nothing is going to heal me on the spot. The healing and calming really come from inside, and I can’t explain the role that nature plays in it. Today I took my poor physical and emotional condition to the beach. I didn’t try to force myself to feel better, but something subtle happened. By the time I left, I was feeling pretty tired (due to being sick) and yet a little bit stronger.

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