“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you…while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~ John Muir
Remember the old Joni Mitchell song about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot? Greater and greater numbers of the Earth’s people are gathering in cities to live. What if children begin to think our planet is made of concrete and asphalt? With nature taking a hit at every turn—from global warming to the burning of the rainforests—it matters how each of us honors our connection to the natural world. Have you taken a walk in the woods this autumn? Have you hugged a tree to show you care? Getting your regular nature fix shows not only that you care about the gift of that amazing maple tree in your yard, but also about your own divine connection to the natural world.
As a spiritual teacher and energy healer, I make sure my ties to the Earth, the sky, the wind, the stars, the plants, and the animals are always intact. I have my favorite places in nature that support my spirit and strengthen my knowledge of the unconditional love and universal connection we all share. Are you making good use of the power of nature to soothe and guide you? The modern world seems to conspire against us by producing more and more distractions—from the television to the iPhone. How can we get back to our essential being? Have you stepped away from the pavement and onto the grass, the sand, even the mud in your bare feet lately?
You can invite joy into your life each day by communing with nature. Spending time in nature is a wonderful way to get grounded and feel calm and balanced. It’s a key to enhancing your sense of spiritual, mental, and physical wellbeing. Scientific research has proven that time spent in nature reduces anxiety and stress. Nature can bring you to the present moment as you focus on things that fascinate—from a spider building a web to a fish swimming in a stream. In nature, you feel connected to the universe and the chain of all living things.
Here are some ways that spending time in nature can enhance your health and contribute to your spiritual growth:
- Find an outdoor place you love and bring your journaling or meditation practice there. If journaling, try to capture the complete experience of being outside. What are the sounds, the scents, the sights you perceive? Is there something special to touch or even taste?
- Expand your knowledge in the experience of nature. Learn something new about the plant, animal, and bird life around you.
- If you can, visit the natural world at night. See how different the world looks and sounds.
- Pitch a tent in your backyard and sleep under the stars.
- Take your exercise program outdoors by walking, running, even doing yoga or tai chi in the park. Breathe in the fresh air.
- Paint, draw, photograph, or write about the natural world. Poet Mary Oliver writes about the lessons she learns from the birds, insects, and animals she sees during her daily walks.
- Focus on the simple beauty of one natural object—a butterfly, a rock, a flower.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset. Lie on your back and study the sky.
- Take a walk in the rain without an umbrella.
- Choose a favorite tree to study through its seasonal cycle.
As for that tree you are thinking of hugging, trees send their roots deep into the earth for energy and they also receive light energy from the sky above. Like all plants, trees convert carbon dioxide, of which our planet has too much, into oxygen. Breathe deeply while hugging that tree. Take in the scent and feel of the bark. Look up into the branches and leaves and marvel at the complex patterns you see. Feel yourself contributing to the life of the tree by breathing out carbon dioxide and breathing in the life-giving oxygen freely offered to you!
Learn how to meditate with ease and comfort with Deborah King! Click here to find out more.