Anxiety Anxiety Reduction Depression Mental Wellness Mindset Nature Wellness

Commune with Nature

Day 3: Commune with Nature

When I was a little girl, I’d sit on my front steps and commune with the two evergreen trees in our front yard. Besides a couple of small sections of grass, I was mostly surrounded by concrete and asphalt.

It was the middle of the afternoon when all my playmates were taking a nap, I’d be sitting alone in quietude. While I enjoyed playing with my friends, I also very much enjoyed this time with myself.

Often accompanying me during my outdoor experience was a pencil and notepad. I would sketch the evergreens. They were the perfect models, majestic and picturesque.

It took many more years for me to internalize that being in nature had this tremendously healing impact on me. When I did a one-year stint on Long Island back in my early 30’s, discovering a beautiful park to walk in was my sanctuary amidst chaos. Living in an unfamiliar place with no friends or family in close proximity left me feeling separated and disjointed. I wasn’t happy with my employment situation. On top of that, I worked long hours with little time off. I missed my boyfriend who lived many hours away. A walk in nature was the only thing that kept me grounded and connected to my core of peace.

Access to nature has been found to improve sleep and reduce stress, increase happiness and reduce negative emotions, promote positive social interactions and even help generate a sense of meaning to life. Being in green environments boosts various aspects of thinking, including attention, memory and creativity, in people both with and without depression. (National Alliance of Mental Health)

I took advantage of a beautiful, sunny Sunday and headed out to my favorite hiking trail to consume myself with glorious nature. I took my gloves off and touched rugged tree bark. I touched the softness of moss growing at the base of that tree, admiring its bright green vibrancy. I listened to the soothing sound of cascading water and birds singing in the background. I stopped… tilted my head back towards the sky and let my face become immersed in glorious sunshine.

I thought… “This is the sun that warms the entire earth…and it shines on me.” That gave me a tremendous sense of connectedness. That’s the beauty in it. You don’t feel alone. You feel… engulfed in love. Because you are.

Being in nature allows me to release my troubles. I don’t feel judged, or criticized, or abandoned, or rejected. I am completely in awe of magnificent creation… and I know, just like the trees, and the sky, and the birds, and the stream… I am just as magnificent.

Spending time in nature pulls us away from limitation and thrusts us into expansion. It’s palpable. You can feel tension siphoning away from your mind and body as you turn your attention away from the stresses of everyday life. Nature gives up a unique opportunity to reengage with life. You become engulfed in the moment. That feeling state will begin to permeate more and more of our being. We can then bring that sense of peace and calm into other areas of our life.

To get the most out of your experience, allow yourself to fully engage your senses. Drink in the visuals with your full attention. Close your eyes and cultivate active listening. Touch things that intrigue you and notice how it stimulates your skin. Notice if there is a breeze. What smells exist? How does the earth feel under your feet?

 Tuning in on this level optimizes your time in nature. Experiencing it on a more visceral plane with transform your state from one as just an observer to one that is fully immersed.

Then we can say we really know nature. It becomes part of us… and us part of it. We fully embody the interconnectedness of the Universe. We become a participant in the celebration of life.

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