The natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living. Feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolute amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.
LAKEHAUS in Uptown Minneapolis offers a quick and easy natural oasis, an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. There are many parks close to LAKEHAUS including Mueller Park, Kenwood Park, Theodore Park and Lake Calhoun Park. Right on your doorstep is Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun), which is part of the Chain of Lakes, which is the second most visited site in Minnesota after Mall of America. Bde Maka Ska is popular for fishing, swimming, canoeing, and many other activities. Bde Maka Ska covers more than 400 acres and 82 feet deep.
The Westwood Hills Nature Center is a stunning nature park features prairie, forest, and marsh areas with hiking trails and an education center where people of all ages can learn more about local wildlife here in Minnesota. When you arrive for the first time at Westwood Hills Nature Center, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of nature including the glimmering lake, more than 3 miles of hiking trails, a peaceful water garden, an interpretive center where you can learn more about local wildlife, a rental facility for parties and gatherings, an outdoor amphitheater, and a playground.
A surge of scientific research provides evidence connecting human health with the experience of nature, especially in urban locales like Minneapolis St. Paul. The experience of being in nature, personal and deeply felt, commonly evokes feelings of transformation and contemplation. Literature and traditions recount the importance of nature in personal realizations of inspiration, deeper connections, mindfulness and extended social connections.
Spiritual experiences might include mindfulness and meditation, focused breathing, time spent in nature These elements are all major contributors to health and wellness. And nature-based, open spiritual spaces also contribute to large-scale community benefits such as reduced health care costs, reduced noise pollution, social cohesion, engaged citizenship, clean air, and environmental stability. As the human population becomes more urban and resource-stressed, civic spiritual in everyday life is increasingly necessary.
In today’s busy, demanding urban environments, there is increasing need for civic, spiritual spaces that provide opportunities for moments of quiet reflection and retreat. What is a vocabulary about civic spiritual that might be used in public dialog, planning processes, and decision-making of local communities? How might people find a common language to advocate for the quiet and very meaningful experiences that nature in the city can offer?
“The Spiritual and Nearby Nature in Cities” offers an extended set of ideas and language of the spiritual in everyday nature encounters. The sources of this information are the Nature Spiritual projects (sponsored by the TKF Foundation), scholarly and scientific literature, and focused interviews with public officials. Using the ideas presented, local planners and managers, civic leaders, and engaged citizens may be able to build support for parks, gardens, and open spaces in their communities as places that are open, valued, and provide many benefits for diverse users. We invite you to read this beautifully crafted publication and carry the ideas into meaningful projects for you and your community.
What is spiritual? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? The answer to each question is the same. Only love.
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