“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Does your life ever become hectic? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed, scattered, worried, burnt out, sad, or frustrated? There aren’t a lot of people who can honestly answer “no.” In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, many of us may feel pulled apart from our connection to the natural world. We may feel as if we are separate and we must schedule time to go out “there.” We can easily lose our sense of connectedness to the Earth and the natural elements. Our schedules may not always allow enough time for being outside. However, it’s essential for our wellbeing that we do what is in our power to slow down when possible and find room for moments of stillness and inner peace. There are abundant benefits of connecting to nature for our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness. When we seek solace in the outdoors, we often find more balance within ourselves, which translates into more balance in our lives.
I encourage you to make it a priority to have time outside, being mindful in nature. You can do this simply by becoming aware of your surroundings – by noticing sights, sounds, smells, and textures. It’s helpful to connect with sensations of warmth or cold…or of the breeze…paying attention to how it feels to your body. Allow yourself to soak in the sounds of the trees, birds, insects, rustling of leaves, or movement of water. Touch the ground with your hands or feet. Tuning into your senses helps to evoke a felt sense of being grounded.
Pay attention to any urges you may feel to pick up your phone or engage in social media. Our minds can become programmed to seek out constant stimulation by consuming content from our technology. But just notice, in a gentle and non-judgmental way, if you feel this instinct, and then practice letting it pass. Make this a practice. And remind yourself that there is plenty around you to stimulate your senses.
Some people feel sad at the passing of summer, with dropping temperatures and waning sunlight. We may crave more sunshine and warmth to uplift and energize us. However, it is helpful to practice being conscious of and grateful for the beauty and gifts that each season brings. In the colder months, it becomes more difficult to get outside. But whenever you can, grab your comfy sweaters and boots and take advantage of our gorgeous autumn. How privileged are we to experience the magnificence of the stunning foliage…so special in the Northeast! Snuggling up with a cozy blanket and enjoying a hot beverage can soothe the soul. As we approach winter, a lot of us struggle with the cold and snow. This is a time of going inward. Just as Earth needs time to rest and rejuvenate before it births new life in spring, we often need to embrace this cycle of going within and reflecting. If you feel anticipatory winter blues, reframe your mindset by imagining those moments of magic at the first snowfall. And throughout winter, embracing the season of giving by also giving to yourself, and practicing self-care as needed during holidays.
When we tap into our primal connection to nature, we can truly experience a greater sense of wholeness, awe, wonder, gratitude, and peace. Nature helps us by putting some things into perspective around what really matters in life. It reminds us that all is continuously changing, going through its cycles and rhythms. With this remembrance, we can return back to a centered space, a knowingness that we are an integral part of the miracle of life. And you may even want to challenge yourself to hug your nearest tree. Trust me…just try it ☺