A Walk on the Wild Side: Healing Powers of Nature

| 7/10/2019 11:56:00 AM

Feeling weird and out of sorts? Feel as if there is something wrong but you’re not exactly sure what it is? Feel as if you really, really need to run for the pint of ice cream in the freezer? Everything is as it should be or nearly so but you still feel like something is missing. Your job is okay. Your love life is okay. Where you live is okay. But still…..

I might have the answer for you. It’s right around the corner. It’s nearby and available anytime. What could it be you might ask? Dear reader, it’s the healing power of nature. Too often we get wrapped up in our busy lives and forget to stop and smell the roses. Before you go off and spend a fortune on a therapist or eat yourself out of house and home, get out, take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes. There’s nothing really wrong with either of those two options but what if I could offer you a simpler solution?

Photo by R.L. Benoit

You can do this even if you’re in New York City. You don’t have to be in a wilderness or anywhere. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all lived in a piney woods where the wind blows through the trees? But we don’t and sometimes solace is not easily achieved. If you can’t get to wilderness then the park down the street is just the ticket. Grab a blanket and when you get there lay down on it so you can’t see anything but the sky and treetops.  Now close your eyes and then just lay there. Take a mental health twenty minutes. At least that. Maybe more. Breathe in the air. Think about where the air has been. Maybe it’s blown in from the sea. Maybe it’s blown in from Canada or over the tops of the mountains. Imagine that you have roots like a tree and that those roots are going deep into the earth. Think about how you are part of this amazing planet. Think about how you have a place.

There’s many a time when I have felt out of sorts and when I do, all I really need is a long walk out in nature. Usually it’s a walk all by myself in the woods where I feel safe but it can be the beach along a lake or the ocean. It can be in redwoods. It can be in an oak forest. It can even be in Central Park. Nature is there, too! It just might not feel as natural but it truly is when you block out all of the skyscrapers around you.

When I was a kid growing up by the banks of the Iowa River taking a walk by that lazy, shallow water made me feel like I could accomplish anything. Something about the trees and grasses, wild birds and wild squirrels made me feel that all was right with the world and that when I came back to the human world I could relax and deal with anything. Just writing about it makes me feel better right now and that gives me an idea. Let’s say you’re trapped on the 18th floor of a skyscraper. Closing your eyes and simply meditating on a beautiful place you’ve been or can imagine can bring a feeling of peace.  

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