Mother Nature: I love the idea of Nature as a mother, don’t you? It’s such a warm, cosy feeling to think that there’s an anthropomorphic personification looking after the natural world (and us, too: we’re part of the natural world, like it or not) in the same way as a stereotypical mother looks after a stereotypical family, with food, shelter, sustenance of mind and body at the appropriate time, and the occasional argument over whose turn it is to clean the loo.
Of course the concept of Mother Nature stretches back into pre-Christian days, when Mother Nature was worshipped as The Great Goddess who, along with the Horned God, were the original deities mostly worshipped in neolithic times, and who survived in one form or another right through other religions. In a society where watching the land and relying on it for food meant the difference between survival and death, honouring the source of that food made sense.
Even in Christian times, the need to honour a feminine persona persisted. Placing a high emphasis on Mary as the mother of Jesus allowed early Christians, who’d been converted from celtic or greco-romano beliefs, to have someone female as provider, care-giver, source of comfort and reassurance. The sad thing is that she wasn’t allowed to be a ‘whole woman’, but only the pure, clean virgin mother. I used to struggle with that in my youth: I didn’t see why, even if Jesus had been born by the Holy Spirit, God would want his son raised without the advantages that siblings bring. If he had no brothers or sisters to bring him down to Earth, how would he know how to negotiate for a better position, accept humility and service as just another aspect of life, or learn empathy? God’s Son as an only child, with power unlimited and a worshipping mother possibly wouldn’t have turned out as grounded as Jesus did.
But I digress. Mother Nature persists, even to this day when we’re too busy/technological/advanced to think that we need gods and goddesses. We still look to the idea of Nature as a super power. Mankind grows and increases in power, and yet a tidal wave, a great typhoon or an earthquake can destroy our work in an instant. And yet we don’t treat Nature with the respect she deserves. We take from the Earth, and don’t think of the consequences. We squander finite resources, and never think beyond this generation.
Living a hygge life has to involve being tied up with Nature. The restorative power of trees, water, living things is very often the best way for someone to push back against the stress of modern life. We live a man-made life of brick, concrete, plastic and glass. We fill our lives with stuff, we work to get money to spend on more stuff and we lose our hours in staring at screens. Modern life, it is said, is killing us (here, here and here) through a lack of exercise, an abundance of the wrong food and a stress level that never seems to fall. I know, because this spring I have been so tied up in modern life that I’ve forgotten to live.
I had to press the reset button on my life a month ago. I had pain in my breasts and there was a query whether I had breast cancer. I spent a Friday afternoon in the local breast clinic, dressed in a hospital gown and wandering from scan to mammogram to xray to consultant. I was fortunate, it’s just the result of a few extra stones and breastfeeding three children. When I got given my clean bill of health, it was like a weight had been lifted from me. And it gave me a fresh pair of eyes. How far along the rat race track am I prepared to go? How close to death can I get before I really live in the way I need to?
I came home and made a list of what I needed to do to live better. Top of that list? Spend more time outside. I need to spend my evenings in the garden, digging, weeding, pootling or best of all just sitting with a drink and watching life go by. Watching the birds, watching the clouds, watching the flowers grow. I fully intend to spend a good few hours every week just idling. I want to grow flowers, bright coloured flowers that make my heart sing. I want to encourage the birds and the bees and the creepy crawly things that move beneath our feet and spoil the pristine whiteness of a paved path by daring to live. We need them, just as much as we need the green plants that are our lungs.
This summer I mean to live in harmony with Mother Nature. I’m starting in the garden, but I want to tweak my life into one that lessens my footprint. Less car journeys, more recycling, less impulse buys, more creating. Less stress making a living and more joy in the being alive.
I’ve started small, of course… with a little area outside my kitchen door that was unloved and unused. It’s my morning coffee spot, complete with solar lights and (now) pots of red geraniums to brighten the summer ahead. And I’ve searched out the resources I need.
Live Green is a small book with 52 changes to make that will decrease your footprint without cutting your life
No More Plastic by Martin Dorey is an easy and basic guide to beginning to clear plastic from your life. We need to return to reuseable or recyclable materials again. First stop: no more plastic!
Lagom by Linnea Dunne. The Swedish principle of Lagom (just enough, never too much) is such a green idea that we all need reminding now and again to apply it to our lives. Who needs another gewgaw when we have enough already? It goes for food, possessions, clothes, journeys…. anything and everything in life can be lagom.
How to Hygge Your Summer by Jo Kneale. Blatant self-promotion, but I like to go back and read my old books to remind myself to slow down, take the space to breathe and be. I need to have another look through this one and remember my own advice! Be more gnome.
Living with Mother Nature is something we all need to do, or risk her not being there for us in the future. What’s your top green lifestyle change? Or what have you planned to do this year? I’d love to know.
I have a massive favour to ask….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
And if you’d like to receive a dose of cosy, happy, hygge love every other month, then you can sign up to the bi-monthly newsletter I write by clicking on the link below and filling in the form.