Tools to Heal - Part One: The Healing Touch of Nature
There is so much happening in the world right now that many of us are having difficulties dealing with life. For those of us who are more sensitive, this is even more challenging. We feel the weight of personal and collective grief, the rage of injustice, the fear of a growing uncertainty that involves all aspects of life. If I’m completely honest, some days I can barely cope. Some days all I manage to do is breathe and hope the next day will be better. And yet at times I can hear a still voice within me that reminds me I’ve defeated bigger monsters than this.
That still voice is the one writing these words.
I have known grief and trauma. I have known fear and hopelessness. But as I reflect on dark past times I realise I naturally gravitated towards things that helped me cope. I believe as children we often instinctively look for what we need, and the tools I found for myself have proved useful to many, many others, especially sensitive people. Now it’s more necessary than ever to turn to them not just to heal ourselves, but to heal collectively. That’s why I’ve decided to start a post series about these tools. Today I’m going to talk about the first one.
The Healing Touch of Nature.
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For many of us modern life has brought with it a disconnect from nature: The stress of city life, being surrounded by concrete, noise and pollution, the constant presence of technology that makes us stare at screens all day long… But as soon as we sit on a park, lie on a beach or walk through a forest or a mountain we feel the heaviness of these elements lift up, as if we were opening our eyes after a long dream while we take our first conscious breath in what feels like ages.
But nature also heals on a deeper level. Growing up I needed to escape many things. I lived in a small city but was lucky enough to have access to a terrace. There I sat for hours, looking at the sky, feeling the breeze on my face until I was ready to face the monsters again. Other times I walked down to the river pier and let the soothing sounds of the water wash over my worries. Trees were great companions too: just observing their green leaves, the roughness of their bark, the movement of the branches swaying in the wind.
The simplicity of watching nature unfold gave me some perspective and made me understand the world was more than the ghosts in my life.
Even though we have built a different kind of life on top of the life nature offers, our core essence still recognises its call. And when we answer it we access powerful healing that replenishes the void we feel at times and repairs the cracks within us.
Nature helps us ground ourselves and gain clarity in times of doubt. It gives us the calm we need when we’re dealing with stress and overwhelm. It helps us connect with the complex web of life as we remember the whole planet and its inhabitants are affected by one another. It welcomes us home time and time again, reminding us to stop and feel and surrender to the simplicity of the present moment.
Here’s a list of ideas that can help you access the healing power of nature in your daily life:
- Find a place where you can sit among trees, preferably in silence, and observe every detail of the trees around you as you breathe deeply. Feel the connection you share with them and the ground you’re sitting on. You can picture roots coming out of your body into the earth if you need to feel more grounded, or you can imagine all the noise in your head floating away, carried by the wind.
- If it’s a windy day, close your eyes and notice the sensation of the wind on your skin. Let it fill you with strength. The wind is a powerful force, and that same force lies within you.
- If you live close to a beach, lake or river get in the water, even if it’s just up to your knees, and let it carry away all your worries and concerns. Visualise them dissolving in the water and then let the water rejuvenate you.
- Plant something in your balcony or window or get a plant and learn to look after it. Smell it, touch its leaves, observe their shape and colour, their movement. Think of the incredible resilience of the plant world and notice you are as resilient as them. Help this plant grow and thrive and let it inspire you to do the same.
- Take breaks throughout the day to stop and look up in the sky; observe the blueness of it or the shapes of the clouds. Do the same at night when the moon and the stars are visible.
- If you walk past a tree, touch the bark and really feel its roughness. Let that sensation bring you to the present moment.
- If you’re walking in the street, notice the crevices in the walls and the ground where plants have decided to grow even though they were not “meant” to grow there. Admire the way they adapt and know you share that ability with them.
- If you’re stuck indoors, put on your headphones and play some nature sounds. I recommend Calmed By Nature and Owen Jenkins’ Nature Sounds. Another personal favourite is whale sounds.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to break the routine and create space for these moments of connection. And if you’ve already incorporated this practice into your life and have found other ways to connect with nature, leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and add more ideas to the list.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I will talk about another tool that has always helped me ground myself, take a break from negative thoughts, reduce stress and trade anxiety for the most pleasurable joy. What a treat for mind, body and soul.
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