These days, the world seems a little bit topsy turvy, inside out, crazy town, doesn’t it?
I’ve been trying to find the right words, to find some peace, and to figure out what my role is in this whole madness.
And it hit me: my role, right now, is right here. With my family, with close friends, and here in this online space, with all of you. This is where I can make a difference. Maybe this space won’t change the world, maybe my parenting won’t affect the future for the greater good, maybe my friendships won’t bring world peace… but if I can bring light and goodness and inspire one person to see the amazing good in this world – even if it’s just one of my own kids today and my other kid tomorrow – then that’s something.
Kid snuggles first thing each morning.
Early morning workouts, even when I think I am too exhausted to get out of bed.
Breakfast and my favorite Starbucks Pike Place coffee before starting the work day.
And getting out as much as possible to immerse myself in nature with friends and family.
These are little de-stressors that make a big difference in my life right now.
We call them walks in the woods and day hikes, but the Japanese have a more specific term for them: forest baths.
Forest baths are the Japanese art of contemplative walks in the woods, which are supposed to reconnect you with nature and help wash your stress away.
We are so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, where a forest is usually just, literally, a stone’s throw away. We have so many heavily forested city parks that make you feel like you’re far outside of the city. We have wildlife nature parks, trails that connect towns and cities and follow rivers and lakes, all within short bike rides or drives from our front doorsteps.
One of those beautiful places is the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge.
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Sherwood, Oregon, a few miles southwest of Portland, Oregon, the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge is one of only a handful of urban wildlife refuges in the United States. Onsite, there’s an education center, and you have about 4 miles of designated walking path that is mostly flat and super easy for adults and kids of all ages.
It’s a calm, beautiful, open space where you get to experience a little bit of everything: a little wooded forest here and there, open fields, little creeks and streams with frog sightings, the Tualatin River running through it, gorgeous old trees (one that has resident eagles!), lots of pretty flora and fauna to identify and admire, and plenty of bird watching (over 200 species of birds!).
My favorites are the massive groupings of daisies along the trails.
Daisies are my favorite flowers. I just love them so much.
Oh, and dandelions, too. Huge, perfect, sweet, full-of-hope-and-wishes dandelions.
It’s a great place and time to make a wish, don’t you think? When you’re on a nature walk, in the middle of an urban wildlife refuge?
Most of all, there’s just you, the sky, the ground, and your thoughts.
And maybe more coffee. Because: coffee.
So this space, and this space, and this space… these are my contributions to the world. However small they are, however insignificant they may be in the larger scheme of things… this is what I can do right now, for my friends and family, for myself, and for, I hope, you too.
A little peace. A little something to make you smile. A little hope. A little inspiration. A lot of bliss.
Because the world is full of beauty and bliss. We just have to let it shine more.
Do you take nature baths regularly? What else do you do to find centered peace when the world around you seems all off-center?
This post is sponsored by Starbucks Coffee. As a longtime Oregonian, I grew up with Starbucks as my local craft coffee, and I still love Starbucks to this day and am proud to be a Starbucks blogger. They sent me the Pike Place coffee shown above, but I buy a pound on my own each month. And hubby and I both love the Iced Coffee bottles. They’re so great to take on outdoor adventures and road trips during hot summer days!