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  • Writer's pictureChicago Environmental Educators CEE

Nature: Mental Solitude

I am naturally comfortable in my solitude, I've always been. Naturally at peace, my own mental state have time and time again provided me with my own foundation--an understanding of who I am and where I should be going. This year, however, I've learned that that foundation is a privilege and it's not always celebrated like it should be.

I've struggled this keep focus, to not dive into the deep, to be me. Personally and professionally vulnerable in many ways. But I'm not alone in this feeling--many people in this country are deep within their thoughts, but unlike mine their mental solitude has not offered them a safe foundation, traditionally.

So this year...I have welcomed family and nature into my life more than ever. And as much as I value my solitude, I realized that I can't be alone...I realize I need to speak up more, be vocal about my mental state, cry, cry, and cry some more. For it's in displaying these emotions that you can find healing.

I have learned the power of friendship...a hug, a smile, a simple "I had a dream about you" and the "...oh shit, you think about me when I'm not around!" feelings of warmth it can disperse within.

I write this as a reminder to be gentle to everyone you meet. This world, we're in, is nothing to play with. A hug, a smile, a simple thought will go farther than it ever has before, sad to say and happy to say, at the same time. Give grace unto others, pour into their spirit, and welcome their emotions...welcome them and let them know they've been seen. That you see them and that they are wanted and loved. And by doing so, you'll give grace to yourself!

Picture: My favorite forest preserve -- Kendall County's Hoover FP in Yorkville, IL to go hiking and to feel kinship -- I'm glad I did.

Photographer: Noel Batres

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