Gonzalo Cordova is a graduate of the 2005 Newfield Certified Coach Training Program.
There is a world before our eyes that we are blind to.
Only when we see through different eyes can we begin to uncover this other world… one that holds keys to an enduring peace and happiness.
The ‘different eyes’ that I’ve been looking through are those of the Huichols, an indigenous group located in the northern part of Mexico. The more time I spend with them, the more I realize our modern culture has a distorted relationship with nature. For us, nature has become simply raw material to be used and exploited.
Oceans are just a lot of salty water and marine life waiting to be conquered, and trees material products to be chopped down with nothing to teach us.
We ourselves are part of nature, so when we separate from it, we begin to feel separate from ourselves. It is perhaps why we have become less resilient to emotional challenges.
Despite conquerors, violence, and humiliation, many indigenous cultures have remained in conversation with the jungle, the stars, and the animals. They can hear nature both when it is loud and when it whispers to them.
I invite you to look through the eyes of the Huichols. They see the elements, Earth, Water, Fire, & Air, as forces that influence our lives and our interactions. Fire is what moves us to make a decision. Air allows for breathing and being inspired. Water allows us to flow when things get complex. Earth births our generosity—after all, it provides us with our food and shelter every day.
How does this relate to us and our busy lives? It invites us to reflect, to live from a place of experiencing and connecting to what surrounds us rather than of doing or fixing.
I work with a lot of executives and leaders and one of the exercises we do is to walk together by the ocean — it gives them the opportunity to breathe, pause, embrace, refresh, and then share with me what they are experiencing. I am always pleasantly surprised at how this connecting practice can be so nurturing in the executive world. My clients report feeling joy and surprise that something so simple can shift their perspective on issues that had them stuck.
Relaxing and Reconnecting Practice
- Find a nature practice that calls to you. It could be a walk along a beach or simply admiring the beauty of a flower.
- As your mind relaxes into connection, ask yourself these element-inspired questions. Allow yourself to feel and observe emotions and body sensations that arise:
- When was the last time you talked about yourself from a place of generosity? (Earth)
- What would it take for you to flow when something unexpected/unplanned/undesired happens? (Water)
- What drives you to take action? (Fire)
- What inspires you? (Wind)
- What changes when you let this obstacle be an opportunity? (Sun)