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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from the Publisher, July/August 2022

Jul 01, 2022 09:00AM ● By Jessica Coffey

As I sit here enjoying a slightly cooler and less humid summer day, I find myself reflecting upon the year thus far. We are more than halfway through 2022 and I don’t know about you, but it has felt like a long six-plus months. Globally, nationally, personally there has been a lot to process. Highs and lows. I am doing my best to acknowledge all of the feelings I am feeling and to let them pass, but that is sometimes easier said than done. I find in my most anxious moments, I seek what grounds me—one of my cats on my lap, deep breathing, a meditative walk in the woods, a conversation with a loved one, watching the bees buzz around the hive, enjoying a delicious Agriberry berry or cherry tomato from the garden... Sometimes we must get out of our heads and into our bodies to really work through our emotions and our traumas. The article, Healing Trauma, touches more on that. And this issue contains a lot of great information about connecting more with the natural world around you not just for your own well-being but for healthier food, pollinator-friendly yards, better soil, and more.   

I am excited to share that we are celebrating 20 years of publishing in the Greater Richmond area! Thanks to all of the businesses and readers that have supported this magical resource over the years. I still remain one of its biggest fans; every issue contains content that informs and delights and connects me with invaluable local resources for living a healthy life on a healthy planet. 

So, I invite you to find a confortable, cool spot and settle into the pages of this magazine. Find something interesting to share with a friend or a neighbor. And when you’re done, maybe you’ll consider spending a little time just doing nothing. One of the reasons why so many of us feel scattered and anxious so often is that we spend far too much time do-ing than just be-ing. Marlaina Donato expands upon this in her piece, The Art of Doing Nothing: 

Most of us can remember having the glorious ability to do absolutely nothing of practical significance as children. We rolled in the grass, laughed ourselves silly with friends on the street corner and happily squandered away Saturdays. 

Somewhere along the line, someone planted a seed in our brains that programmed us to believe that we must earn our existence. We became self-conscious perfectionists that equate leisure and "be-ing" with laziness. As adults, we see "non-doing" as something trivial, something forbidden, unless we become ill or injured, and only then can we shrug off the societal guilt trip. Somehow, well-being has become a luxury, and our physical bodies are paying for it. We feel old before our time and suffer Monday morning blues every day of the week. The Yiddish proverb, “The hardest work is to go idle,” rings truer than ever. 

We envy our beloved pets when they stretch out in a patch of inviting sun or dream away rainy days, not realizing that we, too, can curl up with the idea of doing nothing. Even foxes and squirrels pause in the survival game to soak up an hour of summer. Unplugging brings us back to our breath, aligns us with our true North and prompts our blood pressure to drop a few numbers. Taking a little time to exhale and watch the clouds overhead can also kickstart our immune systems. If need be, we can appease the to-do lister inside of us by scheduling half an hour of inactivity into the weekly calendar, and when we realize how much we like shooting the breeze, we can increase it to an hour. 

Consider the last time we gave ourselves permission to sip a little freedom and watch the grass grow. Poet Winifred Druhan noted, “Wasting time is being free.” We won’t win any accolades for doing nothing, but we’ll surely be happier. 

Happy Reading! 

Warmly, Jessica 

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