This week I returned to Mérida to have the stitch removed from my operated-on eye. My friends there -- old gringos with lots of experiences behind them -- are glad to sit in the park and share their insights. From what I hear, up north folks are being bombarded with so many conflicting messages that for many it's disagreeable and hard to know what to do.

At times like that in my own life, I found it a good idea to shift mental gears entirely, and put my faith in what Nature teaches.

On one level that means that we would do well to simplify our lives along the line of natural things. A tree germinates from a seed, grows, flowers and fruits, and all the time works at an unhurried, even pace photosynthesizing its food from air, water and sunlight. As a byproduct of this diligence oxygen is produced for us animals to breathe. When the tree dies, its borrowed resources recycle into the surrounding ecosystem, to everyone's benefit. This is a simple, generous, beautiful living strategy, the essence of which can be embraced in anyone's life, and it works no matter who the President is.

On another level, Nature suggests a goal for society to work toward -- one other than the usual options of buying into right-wing or left-wing dictatorships, workers' paradises, free markets, theocracies, or whatever. Nature's goal has as its bulls-eye the target of sustainability. And that's sustainability not for a segment of the population but for the entire Earth ecosystem, the biosphere -- all living things and the Earth itself interrelating in ever more sophisticated and mutually beneficial evolutionary patterns, the sustainable end product being something gorgeous to experience.

So, each morning when you awaken, try visualizing a tree glowing magnanimously in the Earth's free oceans of sunlight and air, simply being itself to the benefit of all. And if you need a subject on which to start your day with a meditation, explore the full meaning and implications to your own life of the concept of "sustainability."

With these two models rooted in your mind first thing in the morning, the rest of the day blossoms in a gentle, smiling manner.