The life-giving medicine of nature.

It’s that time in late Summer when I begin to feel antsy. I’m not even aware of the insidious, all too familiar anxiety that creeps in, my busy mind generating its wellspring of thoughts about what’s to come. Wondering about the start of my son’s 4th grade year, worried about how his ADHD will impact him in a 4th grade classroom, catastrophizing what its added emphasis on independence and responsibility will mean, problem-solving how I will meet the tasks associated with looming deadlines, navigating all the moving parts of my Fall workload, analyzing how I will craft time to help with homework and reading support, how I will navigate the soccer schedule, how I will support the emotional turbulence that inevitably emerges with transition, what will I make for lunch that he'll eat, how I will craft time to communicate well with my husband as we tag-team parent, figuring out how to exercise and maintain some semblance of self-care, how to create space around all these things...and on and on. The barrage of thinking, planning and manipulating induces a sneaky and almost unrecognizable onset of worry, concern and uneasiness. Immersed in mind activity, I don’t even realize it’s happening until I suddenly notice: something’s off. I feel stuck and disconnected. 

Summer goes by so quickly, I don’t notice the sadness I feel about its ending and the deep habit of task-mastering that sets in as I try to fit in all the wonderful things and stave off Summer's end. I forget that It’s the doing, planning, thinking ahead to the future and living in my head that is exactly what is exacerbating the sadness and feeling of disconnection. 

Recognizing it dawns awareness. That's when I know: it’s time for nature medicine. I head to the park and hop on a trail, with its abundance of shade, its meandering creek, green growing things and bounty of animal and insect life. I can’t possibly NOT return to my senses. I take it all in: the smells, sounds, sights. I feel the soft earth. I jog/walk, noticing my breath and body. I return to myself. I once again feel connected. My busy mind quiets. Ease returns.

In just two days of doing this I have had more delightful flashes of insight and creative ideas than the past two months. All during my brief time in the woods tending to being, not doing. I’m recording this here because I so easily forget and hope that it will help me remember and will support you too.

Being is the sanctuary.

How has nature supported you? Feel free to share your nature medicine story.

Taking a dose of sky and earth along with you,

Mara Wai1 Comment