©Photo by Shunzi Che
"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Khalil Gibran
The natural environment has long been known for its healing and transformational properties. The vibrancy and calming ambiance of the great outdoors have the power to energize the body and relax the mind. While walking or sitting in nature, you can tap into a different level of consciousness than usual. The stillness and wonders around you, along with the slowing down of inner chatter prompt insights. Such revelations pop into the mind, helping to solve problems and assist creativity. Here's how you can encourage insights to flow when you are immersed in nature.
Allow awareness to flow
Being amidst nature is associated with relaxation, but not the kind that makes you sleepy. The tranquillity experienced in the countryside or walking along a beach stems from the release of tension. While liberated from muscle tightness and the stress of the "human-made world", you are freer than normal to recognize the present with mindful awareness.
When you are relaxed, yet alert, you can observe nature in action. Notice the purity of birdsong and reflections in raindrops. Note how self-talk stops and you feel connected to your surroundings as calmness grows. In your peaceful frame of mind, you will make connections with your observations and other areas of your life.
The way a hummingbird flutters as they feed from the flowers to drink the nectar shows us perseverance pays and also the undeniable connection to all in nature as the sticky pollen grains clings to the side of its beak. Thus, when the hummingbird visits the next flower some of the pollen grains are transferred and pollination magically occurs. In this mindful state we also notice a plant growing in inhospitable ground and this may jog your memory about how strong you are too. You'll learn many other similar lessons from observing nature.
Visit the same place in different seasons
Go to natural places you enjoy several times each season if not each day. When you know your surroundings well, you will think of the environment as part of your home and recognize subtle changes.
The circle of life will be evident as you notice the trees lose their leaves and then grow new ones in the spring. You'll detect how the dead leaves of autumn turn to compost and assist the tree's growth. You are also likely to find answers to many challenges you face in everyday life.
Let the stillness speak
If you focus on the moment mindfully, rather than entertaining thoughts unrelated to the present, creative ideas will bubble to the surface of your mind. Don't force them by trying to make them emerge. Surrender to what's happening around you and allow insights to arise from the stillness.
Nature is one of life's greatest teachers as long as you are a willing student. Spend time with nature, enjoying the peace and quiet, and let insights stream. Even if you don't make a new discovery or gain great wisdom every time, you will achieve peace of mind and reduce stress.
AnJenette Afridi, MA, ERYT-500, is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine, Mindful Practices, and Creator of INHALE EXHALE SMILE ℠ Meditation and Mindfulness Targeted Skills-Based Integrated Training. AnJenette is a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and a Meditation and Mindfulness Master Teacher with 30+ years in private practice. “AJ’s” professional credentials include a Master’s Degree in Psychology (MA) 1997, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500) 2002, American Psychological Association (APA) Member 1996, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Member, Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine Member, and Harvard Medical School CEU’s in Lifestyle Medicine and Mind Body Medicine (Herbert Benson, MD) the last 15 years.
AnJenette aka AJ has worked with corporations, hospitals, health centers, schools, and private clientele including adults and children. She is often featured at public and private in-person and online events, and she hosts events as well. AJ's warmth, credibility, and energetic sense of humor create an atmosphere that supports expansion, creativity, and abundant possibility.
SESSIONS with AJ via ZOOM, FACETIME, PHONE, or WALKSHOP. Contact us for Group Training available at discounted per person price and/or Offsite Training available at additional time/travel fees. (Due to Covid, AJ has limited in-person availability at AJ's San Francisco Bay Area Office.)
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.