Are You Feeling Stressed? Lonely? Depressed?
There is no need to escape far away: Healing is right at your door
Nature is a simple and accessible way to heal many emotional ailments in our lives. Many people think of nature as something out there-an escape and something disconnected from our daily lives. A part of healing ourselves and our planet is to rethink that paradigm and to bring connection to nature into our daily lives. Even if your favorite outdoor spot is a beach in the Caribbean or a view from your favorite hike, allow where you are every day, and the nature that is around you, to be enough for now. Are you busy and think you may not have the time? Actually, all you need is 5 minutes.
Find Your Outdoor Home
Most of us are lucky enough to have a decent apartment or home to live in and think of it as our space. Home is where we come to relax, kick off our shoes and run around without wearing shirts or makeup. Well, what if you were to choose an outdoor home as well?
As part of my training as a naturalist, that’s exactly what I did. It is the most powerful way I have encountered to deepen my connection with nature and also to take my natural place in nature.
To begin, find your space. Your outdoor home should be someplace easily accessible everyday. I have moved around a bit, but each time I find a special place where I can sit, even for 5 minutes, and just be. Your place could be:
Practice Being There In Order To Deepen Your Connection To Nature
Once you have found your place, sit down and sink in consciously. Set all your plans and time limits aside. Make contact with the ground, trees or grass with your hands and/or feet. Then, take a moment to get in touch with the directions. Which way is north? Notice where the sun is in the sky. Imagine your awareness of all that is around you expanding and reaching into all of the directions simultaneously as far as you can.
Now, close your eyes and open your ears. Tune in to everything you hear without judgement. Do you hear birds? Insects? Waves? Silence? Try to hear beyond the traffic, voices or machinery if they are in your scope. Nature listens to you all the time without judgement. Nature provides us everything we need in order to survive and thrive. Now, it’s your turn to listen to nature. Open yourself up to the idea that nature can help provide you with everything you need to connect and heal. Even if you don’t feel it. As Max Ehrmann says in Desiderata, you have a right to be here.
Take a moment when you open your eyes to notice the trees, grass, and tiny flowers you may never have noticed before. Feel the breeze or the stillness. What does the air feel like on your face? Take it all in. Every day you will notice different things and the subtle changes that come with time. Know that you and nature are inescapably connected and learn to enjoy that connection. Everyone has a connection that is unique and special.
If you really don’t have time or it is too cold to go outside, make a practice of looking at the always changing sky. Find a window at work and at home with a tree or some aspect of nature you connect with, and find a few moments to gaze at it and breathe it in.
Any small connection or time out that you can make helps. Mine often looks like me sitting in the back of my house, closing my eyes until my daughter makes me open them and then taking as much opportunity to gaze at my favorite tree.
Taking my unique place in nature has helped to heal me from trauma, filled me up when I’ve been lonely, and allowed me a safe place to cry. Now it provides me a space to shake off the demands of motherhood, work, and relationships, and somehow in so doing it also allows me to intuitively open up to more joy. The poets write about it. Songs are created for it. Your place in nature is there for the taking. Take it.