Connecting Volunteerism With Nature

Dec 8 / Guest Contributor
By guest contributor Suzanna Koeller

Where do you find peace and abundant joy in your meditation? Is it through dance, song, chant, movement, prayer, silence? For me it is found in nature….

Have you ever walked in nature and observed the birds flitting about, the bugs buzzing by, or the leaves blossoming or falling from the trees with the seasons? Have you ever had the sudden thought or realization that you are connected to everything around you and then felt this sense of euphoria come over you? Speaking for myself, this is where I feel most connected to all things in my environment that which connects me to that universal energy that floods me with love, light and a feeling of oneness.

I recently had an amazing opportunity to joyfully connect two things I value greatly; my love of animals and the environment. I took a trip to Kanab, UT to volunteer at the Best Friends Animal Society, which is nestled in Kanab Canyon, a breathtakingly beautiful landscape of wind-swept sandstone, sage brush and vibrant red earth. A magical place situated close to three iconic national parks and a major national monument. A perfect backdrop for a sanctuary for rescued animals. As always when I am in nature, I am overcome with immense gratitude and a feeling of abundance, but this time my heart felt even more expansive as I stepped into the Adoption Center and was greeted by half a dozen happy faces with wagging tails, along with half a dozen little purring furballs peering through the massive window. This felt like home, I never wanted to leave.

My first task…walking every single dog in the center, each equally excited to take their turn as the leash was clipped onto their collars. Feeling the gentle tug of the leash, the joy in each face and the enthusiasm in their gait, my heart overflowed with appreciation for all of life expressed through these lovable four-legged beings. As we followed the dirt path through the natural environment, where the Pinyon Jays jumped about and the lizards scurried by, I felt a deep heart swell of love, peace and harmony, and most profoundly connection to it all. I felt the souls of each being, as if my soul touched theirs and as I gazed upon each pup with their unique personalities and individual journeys through this life, I was reminded how dogs live in the present moment. There is never anything else, with every pause to sniff a blade of grass, a shrub, a rock, the quizzical look as the lizard scurries by or the insects buzzing about, as if for the first time, every time, even if they have been there before…they explore with zeal and enthusiasm. They are our teachers, if we are aware enough to pay attention; nature is also our great teacher, if we just stop long enough from the ‘doingness’ of life and just step into the ‘beingness’ we then truly ‘see’ what is around us and appreciate all that our natural world has to offer.

What a gift and a blessing to have spent a week in such a special place. Oh…………and I did not come home alone, I am now a proud cat mom to not just one but TWO kitties!
In every walk with nature, one receives far more than one seeks.
John Muir

Community Connection

Our Community Connection article provides an opportunity for members of the community to share experiences exploring and expressing their connection with the Earth. If you'd like to learn more or share one of your adventures, feel free to contact Simon at sshadowlight@milehichurch.org