Home Mind Body Relationships Environment Image Map
Wednesday, 20 April 2011 11:12

My Love Affair with a Mountain

Written by 
My love affair with a mountain began just over ten years ago when I first moved to the East Bay of San Francisco. As soon as I laid eyes on the 3,849-foot beauty that is Mount Diablo, I knew it was love at first sight. Since that time, I have enjoyed numerous hikes, runs, strolls, and picnics on the mountain. I love watching the colors of the mountain change throughout the year—from lush green in the winter to golden brown in the summer. I enjoy spending time on the mountain alone as well as with friends. I feel lighter and more at peace when I am on the mountain. My love affair is with a mountain. What spot in nature has your heart? Is it a nearby lake, park, beach, or even your own backyard? Think about how it makes you feel when you are there.

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, I wanted to write about how nature is unique and wondrous in that it can give us integral (four quadrant) health. How does your nature spot make you feel in relation to each of the quadrants? For me, the mountain nurtures my body and mind, it can be enjoyed individually or with others, and it connects me to nature and the world.

Mind quadrant—Mount Diablo quiets my mental chatter. I love to find a spot along my hikes and just sit. I listen to the birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees. We do not realize how loud our lives have become until we hear silence. Noise pollution does affect our health. Mount Diablo encourages me to be still; it brings me great solace. This stillness reduces my stress and lifts my spirit. Without a doubt, Mount Diablo promotes my mental health.

Body quadrant—Mount Diablo promotes my physical health. Its miles of hiking trails provide me with ample variety (woods, grasslands, streams, ponds, deep canyons, and lofty ridges) to get my heart pumping and my muscles building. It gives me fresh, clean air to breathe.

Relationships quadrant—Mount Diablo allows me to have honest connections with people. Conversations with friends are very different on the mountain than they are when dining at a restaurant. We talk more freely and go deeper when we are in nature. Being on the mountain also connects me to the past. Human life on the mountain dates back approximately 10,000 years. The mountain clearly has history that infuses into our souls when we hike the trails or admire its beauty from afar. It reminds us of our interconnectedness to our ancestors, to nature, and to each other.

quadrant—Mount Diablo allows me to connect to nature. It shows me the beauty of the environment. It reminds me that there are inherent benefits to nature outside of how we can exploit it. While I am on the mountain, I have access to seeing over 100 species of animals, 200 species of birds, and 650 species of flowering plants. The oldest rocks identified on the mountain are from 165 million years ago, though the mountain itself is about two million years old.

Earth Day was first observed in 1970 in the United States and is celebrated to remind people of how our habits affect the environment. It is now observed each year on April 22 by 500 million people in 175 countries. The natural world has been altered more rapidly during the last 50 years, and on a vaster scale, than during any other period in human history. Few of California’s grasslands and open spaces have been untouched by humans. For example, plowing, tilling, grazing, mining, and burning have altered the original vegetation of Mount Diablo. Because of this, few native plants have survived. Much of the vegetation on Mount Diablo has been introduced. When we remove the natural systems, we erode our ecological capital.

Mount Diablo is more than just a pretty face. Its presence is also helping to save the planet by reducing the carbon footprint and by producing oxygen. According to Seth Adams, Director of Land Programs at Save Mount Diablo, 50% of the increased carbon in the air is from land conversion from open space to developed areas and agriculture. The amount of carbon that is stored in a park the size of Mount Diablo is the equivalent of removing over 16,000 passenger cars from the road annually! Parklands the size of Mount Diablo also produce approximately 66,000 metric tons of oxygen annually. Open space is more than just a “nice to have”; it is a “must have” if we are to live in a sustainable environment. Our own health and the health of the environment are intricately connected. If our environment is sick, we will be sick. And, if we are sick, our environment will be sick.  

I feel Mount Diablo’s presence daily. I see it out my kitchen window when I am washing dishes, I gaze at a photo of it in my office when I am working at my computer, I view it every time I travel on highway 680, I experience it when I run its trails. I realize that I am not alone in my love affair with Mount Diablo. More than one million people visit the mountain annually. And, of course, there are the lucky ones who live permanently in her midst. These are the mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, rabbits, snakes, and tarantulas; calliope hummingbirds, sage sparrows, and prairie falcons; manzanitas, sunflowers, and black sage; springs, ponds, and waterfalls. I would never want to take away from my fellow earth inhabitants the splendor of where they live.

Try this week to go to your favorite nature spot (if not physically, then at least in your mind) and thank it for all that it gives you. When you are enjoying your nature spot, think about how many other humans, animals, birds, and plants share it with you. What history do you know about your spot or can you learn about it? Can you identify the flowers and birds? Breathe in the wonder of nature and feel the oneness to the world.



Read 3765 times
  • Facebook: fourquadrantliving
  • Linked In: /in/dinacolman
  • Twitter: 4quadrantliving
  • YouTube: DinaColman
  • External Link: www.yelp.com/biz/four-quadrant-living-coaching-danville




Winner of 10 Book Awards!

  • She truly cares

    I initially started working with Dina to help me with my diet for an autoimmune disease I have been battling for years. She has also helped me with stress, relationships, and work. She is very encouraging. I am now happier and healthier because of Dina. She truly cares about you and it definitely shows in the difference it has made in my life.
    Mary M.
  • Guidance & knowledge

    Reaching out to Dina was one of the best decisions I've made this past year. Every aspect of my life; spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, was out of balance. She was and continues to be exactly what my life was missing; someone to hold me accountable, a cheerleader, a confidant, a trustworthy advisor, a coach!
    Lisa H.
  • Saved my life

    Dina has provided me with the tools and knowledge that I needed to make changing to a healthier lifestyle a manageable goal. She never judged me when I stumbled but has only given me the encouragement and steps I needed to get back up and try again. I will be forever grateful to Dina because she has literally saved my life from the downward spiral I was in.
    Kristin A.
  • Helped me balance my life

    After the my mom's death, I withdrew from life. Dina helped me move past the self-destructive tendencies I had used to cope with my grief. She is a compassionate listener, offers gentle suggestions, and provides nonthreatening accountability. Through our sessions she helped me balance my life. I don't know where I'd be without her.
    Liz L.
  • Lost 10 pounds

    Working with Dina has helped me to manage and control my prediabetes. I have lost 10 pounds with her guidance by being more aware of the food I am eating. I like working with Dina because I feel that she really tries to find ways for me to be healthy in my life—the things I like to do and eat—rather than providing a cookie cutter solution.
    Diane C.
  • Feel stronger and happier

    Dina and her Four Quadrant Living consistently give me simple, easy to implement suggestions to make my entire life healthier. With Dina's gentle guidance, I have vastly improved the way I eat, the way I deal with stress and, basically, the way I balance my life. It is impossible to not feel better, stronger and happier when working with Dina.
    Gracie T.
  • Offers variety of services

    Dina's approach is never threatening or condescending and she offers a variety of services that fit many, many different needs - whether just a little nudge when it comes to diet or organization or an all-out weekly session helping with all four quadrants. Highly recommend!
    Tiffany T.
  • Highly recommend her

    It wasn't just about food but my overall well-being. I got the tools to work toward the things that I wanted to achieve. I love that I can email Dina with any question that I might have along the way! I highly recommend her.
    Gabriela V.
  • Amazed at improvement

    By the end of the 3rd week (of the Detox Program), I started to notice changes. I felt less tired and was actually sleeping less. I was amazed at the improvement in my well being. Dina was great in providing information and motivation throughout the program. She presented a nice balance of telling me what I needed to know without overwhelming me.
    Dave L.
  • Invested in her clients

    Dina offered ideas on dealing with my job stress. I felt the ideas really catered to me and my job specifically, rather than being some general ideas I could get from internet research. I use one of the fantastic ideas religiously to help destress after every shift. I was so pleased with my experience, I recommended Dina's Four Quadrant Living to my sister.
    Bev Y.

Published Articles

Green Exercise: Good for the Sole and Soul
Natural Awakenings, March 2011

Sustainable Danville Area: Find Your People
Danville Today News, February 2012 (Page 6)

Are Genetically Modified Foods Making Your Child Sick?
Active Kids, June 2012 (Page 23)