“Perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wilderness meant that I too could be undesecrated, regardless of what I’d lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable things I’d done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I’d been skeptical about, I didn’t feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.” ― Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
At levels we are not aware of, Mother Nature has her way with us. Quieted by her forests and purified clean from her airy deserts, she touches us in places where words fall short. Small and limited, they cannot name or describe the spiritual experience of communion with Nature. At her oceans, rivers, lakes and streams we are altered. After all, we are 70% water. We literally melt and merge. She changes our body chemistry.
Eco-therapy, as it’s now called, has been known to help alleviate depression in tandem with other methods of traditional treatment. It can boost energy levels up 20%. Forest Bathing, called, shinrin-yoku in Japanese means, “taking in the forest atmosphere”. Research shows it reduces stress. It turns out that trees release a chemical called, phytoncides that increase immunity. Soaking up serene sounds and soothing sights has profound effects. I once saw a girl doing yoga at Cranbrook Gardens. How Divine! The Forest Bathing Prescription recommends three hours, with one hour of walking for ultimate results, but I’ll take a good hour!
It seems pretty obvious that on some level we already know that, right? Our minds, bodies and spirits know. A knowing that goes way back to ancient times when we sat under full moons, gathered around a fire, giving thanks. Her ground was home. Our hearts know also. Healing happens in Mother Nature’s arms. A long weekend at a quiet summer cottage or retreat soothes the soul, and we are right with life again. When we are going through a break-up or something really hard, little by little, she hugs and kisses away the pain. Equally in awe of her sweeping grandeur and soft gentle touch, what can we possibly do, but surrender?
When the weather is lovely and as often as I can, you’ll find me outside with a cup of my favorite coffee, journal and pen. I usually bring a deck of oracle cards. I am lucky to live close to a park. On my walks, I usually see people eating lunch in their cars or at the tables. It makes me so happy to see picnic tables outside of corporate buildings for people to sit and eat lunch.
I can’t tell you the how much joy it brings me to sit underneath the huge and beautiful trees that have protected me and my house, all these years. I recently had to have a tree cut down in my yard. I was devastated at the thought of doing away with my dear friend and confidante. I put it off for two years. Turns out it wasn’t an ash tree, but a boxed elder, whose roots had already begun busting up cement. They were making their way towards the foundation of my house. My beloved friend would continue to grow taller, wider and rounder, and eventually do major damage. During a recent trip to Kona, where I used to live, I made arrangements to have it cut down. Ruined, I just couldn’t be there. Thank God I still have many amazing oaks so close, still shading and protecting me and my property, leaving me feeling taken care of.
In honor of Earth Day, let’s send love and healing to our Earth Mother. She gives to us in so many ways. On this coming Earth Day, Saturday, April 22nd, you might donate to a cause or group, or light candles in her honor. Take a walk and send sweet gratitude to her. In between sunset and sundown, the night before a concert performance in Waikoloa, Hawaii, the resort turned off all its power for one hour. A subtle hush fell over the village. It was pretty amazing to experience before our show the next day.
In light of the current time and shifting environmental protections, it’s more important than ever to advocate on her behalf from our own neck of the woods. Use your reusable shopping bags. Many places offer a bit of a discount when you do. In July of 2015, Hawaii became the first state to totally ban plastic bags. Way to go! Keep recycling. If you are a go-green advocate, bust the move. Pick up trash when you see it. Spread the word about going organic and not eating food grown with GMOs. Do what you can.
Under the protection of a tree, or at the water’s edge, say a prayer in thanks to her. Listen for what she might need. Listen for what she has to say about what you need. Wait for an answer. Let Mother Nature do her thing. She loves you.