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Practical Spirituality

Make Time for Nature

Over the years of working to help people reduce stress and
imbalance in daily life, I have come to see very clearly that time is one of
the most common factors. Too often people place their attention on stress
“management” and realizing their dreams. The problem I see is that if you don’t
re-evaluate your relationship to time, you like will never achieve the fulfillment
and resilience you desire and deserve.

You can be doing all the right things  and even have the right intentions, but if you
cram too much into a day, work too much or misuse your time, you are likely to
end up stuck or depleted.

Consider this: there are 4 main types of time, work time, play
time, sacred time and natural time. A healthy life needs a dose of each, every
day – and larger doses of each over the course of a week. Take a moment to
review the definition of each of these four types of time and then ask yourself
these simple questions: do I have enough of each in my life everyday? every
week? Or have I lost some of these times altogether?

Work Time is
productive time.
It’s the time to be active, to build, to clean, to
make, to spend energy for production of results and goals. For most of us this
means our careers and occupations. But work can include busy work around the
house or work you do to help family and friends. The defining feature of work
time is that its goal is to produce tangible results.

Play Time is
recreation time.
It’s the time to be creative, sensual, playful,
exploring, enjoying, and entertained. The goal of play time is the experience
of fun and joyful engagement. Play time is self-fulfilling, it’s not about
goals or results, and winners and losers are ultimately inconsequential. True
play time helps us to feel re-created. Ideally play time is engaged – watching
television is not a great example of play time. Playing a sport, painting,
reading, talking and laughing with
friends, having sex and going to an art gallery could all be play time options
(as long as you enjoy yourself).

Natural Time is
receptive time.
 Natural time is
quite specifically restful or restorative time spent with nature. This could be
in a park, in a garden, or a backyard. Natural time could include meditating on
a cloud or sitting under a tree. Natural time also includes time with animals,
dogs, cats, horses, and intentional time spent with other domesticated
creatures are common ways to get some Natural time. The key to true natural
time is being in a receptive mode where you are open to listen, watch and learn
from what laws of nature and the experience of wilderness have to teach.
Scientists have shown beyond a doubt that human health is approved when we
spend regular time in nature (a great book on this topic is Last Child in the Woods).

Sacred Time is
intuitive time.
 
 There can be many ways to define Sacred time –
time in church, time in prayer, time doing yoga, time in silence, or even a
time that emerges during natural time. What is essential to sacred time is the
intuitive dimension. Sacred time is about listening deeply to your heart, to know
what your spirit needs. Sacred time is about listening to a higher wisdom or
power for guidance. It is not about figuring something out, creating something
or making something happening. Sacred time is about hearing the still small
voice within. All other types of time can turn into sacred time, but for true
health we need to set aside a little sacred time every day, and find a large
space of sacred time every week.

As a general guiding rule for optimum health, try to create
the space in your life everyday for at least:

5 minutes of sacred time

10 minutes of natural time

30 minutes of play time.

2 hours of work time.

Over the course of a week you should ensure that at
some point you have at least:

1 full hour of sacred time

2 full hours of play time

1 full hour of natural time

A total of 14 hours of work time.

Naturally, most of us spend way over the minimum time
suggested in one or more area of our life (like work). The significant thing
you will see by looking at time this way is just how little time you spend on
three quarters of what makes a person resilient and healthy. How will you
manage your time now? If you knew that these four times were essential to your
health, vitality and longevity what would you have to change?

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