The Benefits of Connecting with Mother Earth
“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.
A Facebook friend recently posted a reminder to lie under a tree and just breathe, while listening to the sounds of the wind and the birds. On the same day, another friend posted an article about the brain changing effects of sitting at the beach. These both served as reminders to me that I hadn’t been spending enough time out in nature and how much I missed the peacefulness and better perspective that comes with connecting to our Mother Earth. I immediately went to my backyard, sat under a tree, and closed my eyes, feeling the sun on my face, the earth under my feet, while listening to the birds. I took a deep breath and felt the stress of the day gradually leaving me. It’s amazing how quick that “medicine” works.
Most of us spend way too much time indoors, these days, sitting in front of our computers, looking at our smart phones and tablets, watching television, or doing all three at the same time. That is, when we’re not at work, often at a desk, in an office, with artificial lighting.
April 21 was Earth Day, so this is a perfect time for a reminder about how spending time connecting to our Mother Earth and communing with nature helps us find more peacefulness within and helps to put our lives into a more meaningful, less stressful, perspective.
Did you ever notice that a walk on the beach or in a park will completely shift your attitude when you’re feeling stressed? Getting out in nature can be one of the most powerful ways of shifting our mood, lifting it, when we’re feeling down, or calming ourselves, when we’re feeling anxious or stressed-out. Even having a view of nature through a window has been found to have benefits, such as speeding up recovery from surgery, increasing work performance, and improving work satisfaction.
In addition, communing with Mother Earth can help us to become still, so that we can receive the many benefits of meditation, such as, preventing and easing depression and anxiety, decreasing physical pain, and increasing emotional wellbeing, physical health, focus, concentration, memory, and attention. “Meditation is the simplest thing in the world to do,” Jan Bidwell, MSW, LCSW, author of Sitting Still: Meditaton as the Secret Weapon of Activism told me in an interview on my radio program. “You sit still and focus your awareness on your breath. There isn’t anything simpler. But, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.” Many of us, myself included, have a hard time quieting our minds to find that place of stillness. Speaker and author, Eckhart Tolle describes an easy way to start the process in his book, Stillness Speaks. “Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it…how still they are, how deeply rooted in Being.” When you connect with nature in this way, it will help you to become still, Tolle explains, and it can then lead to a longer meditation practice.
Here are some ways to commune with Mother Earth:
· Take a walk in a park or near a lake, river, or ocean, or take a hike in the mountains.
· Sit under a tree. Hug a tree. Sit with your back up against the tree, feeling the calming energy emanating from it.
· Plant a garden or some indoor plants.
· Stroke and talk to a pet.
· Author, Terry Hershey, suggests in his book, The Power of Pause, in order to reduce stress, to look at the moon, if you can. “Stare at it and breathe in, breathe out. Think of this moonlight bathing your whole life — even the parts that are disorganized and unfinished.”
· If you can’t get outside, look out the window (if your view is of any sort of nature), look at a photograph of a nature scene and spend time meditating as you gaze at it, or use your imagination. For example, close your eyes and imagine that you are floating on a giant leaf and gently drifting along with the slow current of a lazy river.
Once we experience the power of nature, we are reminded how important it is to work together to take care of this magical place that we call home, our Mother Earth!
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