I want to share one of the most powerful concepts I know of about the human relationship to plants: biophilia. Biologist and naturalist, Edward O. Wilson popularized the term in the 1980s. It states we have an innate desire to seek out and be with other life forms and living systems. We crave life on a gut level. As this amazing thinker who’s studied living organisms, especially ants, for many decades says, we distinguish “life from the inanimate and move toward it like moths to a porch light.”
And since plants and nature are a part of those other living systems, we have a strong need to be in nature. It makes sense, after all, nature was our first home on earth. Sometimes we take the connection for granted, but it still manifests in small ways. You may not like gardening or camping or living in the country, but you might like cut flowers or taking a walk in the woods or the square of lawn in your backyard. We all vary in our preferences.
Nature Can Heal Us
The really great news is time in nature can heal us from the stresses of life. Ever lazed around in a park and felt utterly relaxed? Or got super excited because a bulb you planted finally flowered? Those moments, to me, are the joys of life. And that joy, scientists say, happens because nature is regenerating our souls. Our heart rate lowers, our breath relaxes, our attention restores itself. More and more studies are proving it.
So today, I encourage you to indulge in your own biophilia connection to nature. Try it for a half-hour. It doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming, it can be as small as drinking tea while looking out the window at a tree or trimming the dead leaves from a houseplant or drawing a curly vine. The point is to be completely present while you’re engaging with nature.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how I transition from daily hectic life to nature time and how you might too.