My area got a bit of a reprieve from the heat and humidity this week. Though temperatures were warm, the drier air and continuous breeze made it feel much cooler and more comfortable. I had some really great runs and bike rides that left me feeling invigorated and hopeful for better days to come. On one bike ride, I let my mind wander and got lost in the feeling of the summer breeze blowing past as I pedaled. I felt so free, so far from the stresses of life, and so calm inside.
For years I wondered why exercise makes me feel so much better, no matter what seemed to be ailing me. The answer lies in chemical reactions in the brain that occur when doing physical activities. These chemicals are called endorphins, and they transmit signals to different parts of the body. Endorphins also act as natural pain killers, which can lift one’s mood and relieve stress.
Fortunately, I found out about endorphins many years ago. What I learned allowed me to use more natural ways to fight fatigue, depression, and stress. While I am far from an expert on the subject, I can attest to the validity of endorphins’ powers and positive effects upon the mind, body, and soul.
Wonders of Nature
During my runs, bike rides, walks, and other outdoor activities, I see nature all around me. I also feel its mighty powers moving me along the path of life. Each season allows me to find wisdom, perspective, and grace. Each sunrise and sunset allow me to reflect upon where I am, where I need to be, and where I wish to be in time.
As I look around, I see lessons in nature that allow me to adapt to life changes. For example, the shifting amounts of daylight throughout the year allow my body to slowly adjust to each season’s tasks, chores, and responsibilities.
The shifting from summer to autumn has always been especially helpful to me. As the leaves turn color and the days grow shorter, I feel nature slowly pushing me forward. When I was in school, this push allowed me to focus more on my studies, which allowed me to learn more. Now that I am older, the gentle nudge of the changing seasons allows me to reflect in a deeper way and find answers to questions regarding the journey called life.
Wonders of August
We don’t know how long our journey will be or where it will take us. As I contemplate where I have been in my life experiences, I find myself attracted to the light, the positive little things that inspire the soul, and the grace attained along the way. This year, August’s light has been a true blessing, for in it I have found comfort, reassurance, and energy.
As I rode my bike tonight, I watched the sun moving in the sky. The humidity returned to my area, so I felt sweaty and a bit drained as I rode along, yet something in the light drew me away from these feelings. I felt as if God himself was lifting me up after a fall, brushing me off, and encouraging me to try again. This experience, along with several sights in the skies this week, inspired the following poem:
The August Light
Misty morning, calm and bright
Spreading the glory of the August light
Amidst the fog as the dew on the grass
Rolls off slowly as the minutes pass
And the blowing breeze
Flows west to east
Taking with it the moisture and the clouds
As the fog lifts and God’s grace bounds
To and fro in the heavens way up high
Allowing the soul below to find
Hope in the light and strength in the breeze
As the August light rises above the trees.
Half a moon in the mid-day sky
Rises to greet the August light
Above the quaking aspen’s leaves
Fluttering and shaking in the breeze
Creating a whisper above the landscape
Asking the soul to come hither with faith
That all will be made well in due time
As the rains and storms of this life
Come to pass and move on
With the sun’s rays in the dawn
And the August light flowing steadily
From the sky and heaven’s sea
To the ground below
As the soul makes its way around and through many different roads.
Golden sunset in the sky
Taking hold of the August light
Long enough to set the stage
For nature’s song to play and play
On and on in the silence that surrounds
The love placed upon the soul coming around
To see the beauty despite the ugliness
That comes through life’s experiences
Made possible by the August light
And the many hues and shades in the sky
That carry the soul to peace in time.
-Lisa A. Wisniewski
May we all find what we are seeking in the light and in life. May we also share the light with those in need, and recognize the many gifts nature provides to us free of charge, without any strings attached, and with our best interest in mind.
Resources and Related Links
Endorphins – http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/endorphins.htm