By Michael Traynor
Do you sense that our modern civilization is becoming less civilized? Is our society becoming less social? Two out of every three of us today say the answer is yes. When we feel stuck in such a malaise, it’s important to try new ways to summon a renewed sense of vitality and purpose within ourselves. Taking even the smallest baby steps forward in a new way offers an opportunity to rediscover great joy. Let me tell you about my own favorite baby step, and express the renewed vitality and meaning it has meant for me and many others over the years.
My own baby step is located on Fullerton Avenue just east of Stockton Drive. Fullerton is jammed with cars, buses, and people heading for work and play. Look to your right for an unobtrusive doorway leading into the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pond. Crossing that threshold feels like entering sacred space. Here it’s quiet, hushed, verdant, solemn, and joyful. Stroll its paths. Connect deeply with nature, and rediscover in it who you really are and your own true nature. This place, and its sense of belonging and unity, is your birthright as a human being. Claim it. Sense the quiet and powerful vitality here. Recognize it as your own. Feel part of a vast sense of meaning summoned by the sheer simplicity of this place being alive and present now, and its critical part in holding society together. Perhaps you may sense that this is who you really are as well? That deeper understanding can summon a renewed sense of vitality and resolve.
A healthy civilization and society begins with each of us finding our own baby steps. Whatever baby step you choose, involving nature in some way is rarely a bad idea. The psychological and physical benefits are well documented. People who identify as connected with nature also say they feel more vital and sense greater meaning in their lives.
I feel optimistic about our civilization and society. I have visited the Lily Pond for over 40 years, and it has been a great place to summon my own personal resolve to become part of the solution to societal malaise. Take a look for yourself!