The search which we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of any person, and the crux of any individual person’s story. It is the search for those moments and situations when we are most alive.
—Christopher Alexander “ The Timeless Way of Building”
This summer I have been working on a continuing education course for architects. The course is about biophilic design which simply means how to reconnect with nature within our built environment. It’s not about bringing potted plants into office buildings. It is about taking what we know about nature and how it makes us feel more alive (meaning physically, mentally and emotionally) and making sure it is woven into our lives.
I have been diving deep into over 50 years of research across many fields. The dots are not only connecting to show how much we need nature but also how much more nature has to give to us freely as an antidote for our stressed out, sedentary lives.
Richard Louv has been one of the prominent journalists who wrote an influential book in 2005, The Last Child in the Woods and coined the term nature-deficit disorder. It’s not a medical term but a way to talk about the fact that today we spend about 90% of our time indoors, and our health, hearts and spirits are suffering.
More recently Louve wrote The Nature Principle and Vitamin N. Both of these books focus on how can we balance our time indoors (much of that time engaged with our electronic devices) with time connected with nature to find health and wellbeing.
Louv’s work has brought together many areas of study and research and he offers a vision that is a win-win for us, the larger community of living creatures and our environment if we so choose.
What does this mean for you and me?
As we wrap up summer, many of us have spent more time outside, at your favorite beach, or lake’s edge, time camping, hiking or just walking. It feels good. When I think about why this is my favorite time of year I have finally realized it’s because these last few months have been a feast for my senses. The sounds, smells, tastes and textures of summer make me feel alive.
The simplicity of life is that when we feel alive we feel good, we think more clearly, we are more healthy, more creative, more inspired and life flows more easily. It is like being in sync, connected to the larger flowing, thriving energy of life.
As this last week of August flows by, what senses of summer do you like the most?
Which ones can you give your full appreciation to this week to imprint into your memory?
Which of these can you tuck into your pocket to bring into fall?
Wishing you a happy end of summer and cheers to feeling more alive.
Photo by Luke Michael on Unsplash(Link)