By: Shannon Gardner, Guest Blogger
I recently returned to the Midwest from a summer spent in Colorado, working as a camp counselor and gaping in awe at the beauty of the mountains. The experience was a dream-come-true!
Rewind to June when I first arrived in The West, outdoor explorations felt intimidating with the little knowledge I had of this lifestyle. Having grown up in a suburban environment for the bulk of my life, I had long considered myself a “girlie-girl” and had rarely been camping. Though a series of fortunate events had led me to this Western adventure, I still felt a tinge of doubt that this was the right job for me. I was straight up terrified to camp-out and go hiking—the idea of carrying a pack on my back while performing these activities was even more daunting!
Regardless of my uncertainties, once I overcame my anxiety and embraced this new world, I soon discovered that the out-of-doors welcomes anyone and everyone with open arms. As soon as I accepted the peace Mother Nature was offering to me, many doors open figuratively and literally! For every moment I spent with Her, I felt as though the world was greeting me with a big, hearty hug while whispering, “it’s all going to be okay. You’re in my hands now.”
I had ventured into this summer from a year spent navigating the urban lifestyle of a large city at a new university. Maintaining social relationships, keeping up with media, and delving into academics had exhausted me, as they had become my primary concerns. But out in the mountains, free of technological pressures and a lengthy to-do list, my mind and body could finally take a highly anticipated deep breath. And how fantastic that felt! Ahhhhhhh. In those quiet moments of peace, all worries from the external world were mystically separated from my consciousness. It was simply magical.
Photo courtesy S.Moeschen
Since returning to an urban setting, I have yearned for and missed those quiet moments spent with Mother Nature. I had felt how the beauty of nature has the power to make my heart sing and dance. So as summer turns to autumn, I am making it a priority to take time each day to appreciate the parts of the universe that are not manmade. Whether it’s a day-trip to a rural town on the outskirts of the city or choosing to exercise outside instead of the gym, we can find Her amidst the chaos; it’s worth that extra push to find beauty, no matter where in the world we live.
Nature has also become my living proof that authentic beauty is simplistic and present in every soul. Never do we need to feel like we must cover our own natural beauty---we are already intrinsically beautiful. Regardless of who we are or where we are, Nature will always be amongst us with open arms. She is a priceless gift, a loyal friend, and a healing remedy, as are you.
It's important to find places where you feel refreshed, recharged, and reconnected.
- Find your literal "happy" place--a favorite running path, the cozy cafe on campus, maybe your terrace with the little, white twinkle lights--and make a point to spend time there each week. Even 30 minutes in your favorite surroundings can totally transform your attitude!
Shannon is a psychology student at The Ohio State University studying to be a school counselor. An optimist, dreamer and traveler from Upstate New York, she loves leading I Am That Girl Local: Ohio State Chapter and working with young kids. In her free time, Shannon enjoys running, photography and coffee dates!