Moving in the Rhythm of Nature
It’s Our Nature celebrates its 20th year in business on Earth Day, April 22, 2016. My vision has been to promote products and experiences that connect our well being with the health of the earth. It’s Our Nature officially began on Earth Day 1996 as I guided a group of six women to Caladesi Island from north Clearwater Beach. Since that first walk, my focus has been to blend the enrichment of one’s mind with the wellness of one’s body and the spirit of our earth. Experiences encouraged participants to “Move in the Rhythm of Nature” through moderately paced walks, gentle kayak paddles and t’ai chi on the beach.
In an effort to cross market to the health conscious clientele participating in the outdoor activities, It’s Our Nature began selling organic cotton socks and palm frond hats. After becoming an educational partner with the state of Florida in 1998 on Honeymoon and Caladesi Island, I found my company involved in the rapidly growing market segment of eco-tourism. Along with teaching residents and visitors about environmental ethics and the heritage that accompanied the land, each ION trip continued to include the element of silence. I feel deeply that to re-connect with nature using all our senses brings us to a deeper place. That connection is the foundation of a passion that can make a difference in the preservation of our earth – especially our own backyard.
My experience of guiding women through the natural lands of Florida inspired my book “Great Women Exploring Nature …. How Wild Florida Influenced Their Lives” -GWEN celebrates her first year anniversary on Earth Day 2009. The book combines history, travel ideas, nature awareness and art. The reader will discover how a thread of Florida's wild nature wove itself into the lives of ten women. This connection is examined in the stories of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mina Miller Edison, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Zora Neale Hurston, Myrtle Scharrer Betz, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Jackie Cochran, Rachel Carson and Marjorie Harris Carr. This Earth Day will launch another edition of GWEN, as I have been given many names from my readers of remarkable women who have explored nature.
After reviewing requests for more organic cotton products, an expansion was made in 2004 to market additional organic cotton products including men and women's clothing with an emphasis on fair labor and eco-dyes. Healthy-Wear for People Who Care emerged as the primary focus of It’s Our Nature. All items are screened for the elimination of chemical application and absolute fair labor. Organic cotton, hemp and palm frond are the primary fibers. Minimal packaging, 100% PCW paper for marketing material, using no electricity during mobile store hours, going to where people are already traveling enhances sustainability as a business operation. It’s Our Nature sets up its portable store at a variety of fresh markets, festivals, inside existing environmental businesses and through the company web. There is a magical essence to creating my store in a new location each day. By following the ION mobile store, customers learn about unique community events. They not only experience a new neighborhood but mingle with different people while purchasing ION products.
ION is my journey …. I am honored by how many of you have accompanied me for so many years. Thank you for support and friendship. May we continue our exploration making this world a better place as we go.
GWEN ……… Great Women Exploring Nature …… As you get to know the women of GWEN, you will see that nature encourages us to rise beyond self. The ecology of the natural world often encourages us to explore the ecology of our soul. Throughout history women have felt the cycles of nature parallel their own. Many cultures have honored the intuitive wisdom that women cultivated from their understanding of Mother Earth. This connection faded as society drifted from the lessons of nature into the industrial and then the technical age. The women of GWEN at different points in history sought to re-connect to this powerful teacher in their own way.
A common landscape of GWEN is the natural world of Florida. I suppose I was drawn to this theme as I became aware of how my own re-location to this dense tropical state had affected my state of mind. Many of these women will be familiar. Perhaps their personalities and yearnings parallel your own. You may be surprised to learn about their connection to the sandy shores and wild land of the Sunshine State. As you become aware of their place in history, you will also see intriguing connections of one to another ….. evidence of how often our lives are drawn towards like minded energy.
This book evolved from a tiny slip of paper I called a GWEN fact. As I guided women on nature awareness walks, I would often slip these tidbits of knowledge into lunch bags. As we sat on the beach or in the woods eating our snack, each woman would share the GWEN fact she found in her brown bag. Faces glowed as they read out loud about a woman of history with feelings similar to their own. The magic of such moments inspired me to expand GWEN’s information. To my surprise, I discovered a personal conflict as I dived deeply into the research to expose more of each woman’s life. I began to feel that I was violating their story. --- a story that only they truly knew. It was so similar to how I guided our excursions into the wild. I never wanted to get too close. I wanted us to blend and just use our senses to feel. I provided enough information to add to the experience --- but I wanted to leave the mystery of the plant, rock, or animal to the moment. I was obtaining information from historians and journalists – from published books and articles. Who was I to pass on assumed feelings and connections to the natural world? I know that from my own experience the intimacy a woman can feel towards the shorebirds, a dolphin or the wind in a pine is hers. How it inspires her may change on any given day. So after a number of years of researching, I came to a standstill. I felt I did not have the right to probe and assume … yet I was fascinated by what I had learned about all of my GWEN women. So I shifted my focus to what I did know. How these women and their connection to nature inspired me and left much of the background history in the resource chapter.
My hope is that GWEN will inspire your own path. This book will guide you to the places that spoke to these women. I encourage you to give yourself an experience beyond the words and walk the earth they walked. Clear your mind in the outdoor world to feel the messages that spoke to their soul. Smell the forests and salty air that quieted their thoughts. See the landscapes that guided their lives. When you allow your body to move gently in the rhythm of nature, a new world may appear before your eyes. You may just discover your own Cross Creek as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings did at a crossroad in her life. Something inspired Rachel Carson to find the courage to describe to the world how close we were to a Silent Spring. Anne Morrow Lindberg was guided to find the perfect experience to reflect on before writing a book of inspiration that has guided generations. Mina Miller Edison and Marjorie Harris Carr vigorously supported activism for wildlife and the land and gained power through the support of their families. You can inspire generations in a local area, such as Myrtle Scharrer Betz did on Caladesi Island. You can demand that the world pay attention to the Everglades as Marjory Stoneman Douglas did into her 100’s. If you look beyond your ego, the horizon gets bigger. As you use your senses to really feel the experience of a walk on the beach or sitting in the woods, you will feel the wonder of nature. Learn from her wisdom.
If we find our natural rhythm, a movement that is reflected in the natural world around us, we can re-define our self and purpose. Nature helps us discover the brightness of our spirit and shines it on our lives, our relationships, and our deeds.
Thank you for taking the time to meet the women of GWEN …… you just may get to know yourself a little better.