How to Get Unlost in Nature
I sit at the kitchen table, obsessively checking Facebook for new posts in my community. I comment in a couple of groups, and think that I’m relating. Yet I feel a sense of longing and unease. It seems that I am connecting as I type, yet I feel lost. I see the bright sunshine beckoning. My mind says I have more to do inside the house, tied to the computer sitting in front of me. I decide to listen to my body and it wants to go for a walk. I ignore my thoughts and mind, and follow my body.
At the recommendation of a friend, I’ve joined the 30×30 Nature Challenge, thirty minutes in nature for thirty days. And I’ve become “unlost.” I’ve been walking or sitting in nature, mainly not for the exercise, but for the feeling it gives me. I feel connected to the sky, the trees, the animals and the dirt and rocks under my feet. Sitting alone in my house, with so many digital distractions can sometimes feel like connection. But when I’ve gone to the real thing, to nature, I’ve realized a full, contented sense of relation to other than myself.
Hildegard of Bingen, an abbess, scientist, and mystic who lived in the 12th century wrote, “Every thing that is in the heaven, on the earth, and under the earth, is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness.” She touches on something we all need, a sense of connection.
We need to be aware of a balance in our lives. Our modern world is so good at masculine traits, like dissection and taking things apart. And we’ve increasingly isolated ourselves with modern conveniences. We have so much technology that brings the outside world into our homes, yet how can we feel so lost? The feminine strength of relatedness and connection can help to balance us. To start, recognize that this is something we all need in our lives. The most obvious way to connect is with other humans.
Nature Brings Connection
Another way is to spend more time in nature. Feel the wind on your face. Notice that you and the trees and the animals are all interacting with the same air. Notice that the dirt under your feet is the same dirt that is nourishing all of the trees and plants that you can see. Feel that you are connected and related to all. If your brain feels like sitting on the couch, try to lead with your body. What does it think of a walk?