Maximising Time in Nature
If you know me, you know I love nothing more than being out in the fresh air of the mountains, on a beach, in the ocean, just any kind of direct immersion and contact with Mother Nature fills my soul with inspiration and have no shame in saying I receive a lot of healing from nature.
This is part of the reason I choose to live in Cape Town. We are so blessed here with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans right next to some of the oldest mountains on Earth with thousands of km's worth of hiking trails, ancient indigenous forests, and in the Western Cape we have the mind bending diversity of Fynbos plants growing in abundance all over these mountains. It's literally heaven on Earth.
On a 6 hour solo hike last week, I felt called to film this video about how we can maximise the healing and nourishment we receive from being in nature, and to be honest after editing it I realised that I actually need to make a more comprehensive guide for all the ways we can connect with Mother Gaia and what sort of benefits we can expect to receive as we exchange love and gratitude with her.
The main message is intentionality, set the intention to actually connect and exchange energy with our Mother. Now, that might sound a little off the deep and if you're new to healing, so my advice is to just be open to feeling more, noticing more with in the body and mind, checking in to notice that maybe you feel called into nature to feel more a peace and take a rest from the stress of life, this is all perfect, awareness of ourselves is what life is all about. We can then notice the difference we might feel in our body when we settle into some time with nature.
CHOOSE. Make the choice. This might sound weird, but if you're going to go spend time in nature, commit to it, don't be on a hike thinking 'ah I should've stayed at home, I've got so much to do' NO!
If you've got shit you need to do, do it, but you're here now, give yourself permission to actually be present and fully get the most out of your choice to do what you know is going to be very rewarding. Nothing worse that being on a hike worrying about how you should be somewhere else, you're here now, you've made the choice, let go of your doubts and commit to being fully here NOW in this experience, not in your head. Easier said than done I know.
I find that my mood is lifted simply by being outdoors, breathing fresh air deeply into my lungs and getting my bare feet onto the earth/sand/mud/grass. Meditation has taught me to notice all the little shifts and changes occuring in my body & mind, to do this effectively we bring our attention to the breath, noticing what our breath is doing is one direct way of understanding what kind of emotions are present in the body; slow deep belly breaths indicate we are calm and present, or shorter chest breathing usually indicates stress/anxiety, just as a basic guide.
In this video I also touch on how powerful it can be to sit in stillness in nature, maybe close the eyes and allow yourself to be totally still, this helps me notice even more, really allowing myself to fully arrive in my body. Nose breathing is a great place to start when settling into stillness, focus on breathing down into the belly, with an emphasis on lengthening the out breath, sometime it takes me a few minutes to self sooth and calm my nervous system down like this, sometimes a few moments, depends on what sensations are alive for me in that moment.
Let's get back to intention. When we set the intention to have a healing experience, but let go of any expectation, we are opening ourselves to something we can't measure or really often explain fully, this is a mystical experience, yeah maybe we can measure heart rate or blood pressure but who cares about numbers... tell me how you FEEL! Let go of those expectations, say out loud and to yourself 'I am open to receiving healing energy from Mother Earth' then smile at how much of a hippy you've become, don't worry nobody's watching ;) don't judge yourself, there's nothing less cool than thinking you're too cool to connect with nature.
Silence is golden. Solo missions are amazing, take safety into consideration, maybe go with someone who is keen to do a 'no talking' hike. Notice how much more intune we become when we simply listen, even the silence sounds like something... birds, bugs, wind in the trees, these are all sounds, vibrations, frequencies of nature that add so so much beauty to the deep sensory experiences of life.
Focus attention on the smallest of details as well as the landscapes. Focusing in on the inconceivable intelligence of the cycles of nature, like the leaves on the ground, food for fungi and microorganisms, slowly turning into soil for the trees, a home for the ants and bugs who are food for the birds, it's all so ridiculously perfect, FEEL THAT. Feel that. How fucking incredible? Allow yourself to freak the fuck out about that!!!! Just to bare witness to it all, how blessed we must be to even be here. And, to know that we are that too, we are of the Earth, we are children of Mother Gaia, and we too are just as remarkable.
A big part of this healing journey, for me, has been allowing myself to really feel in awe of the exceptional beauty and intelligence of Nature, I often feel it so deeply that I cry tears of joy. Let that gratitude flow, let yourself be blow away by it all, this is the exchange of energy, this is how we give back to our Mother Earth, to be grateful for all she gives us; air, water, food, sunsets, oceans, tress, animals, our bodies, she gives birth to and sustains LIFE. Respect our Mother Earth.
Take water, a flask of tea/coffee, take a snack, pack a warm jacket always. Pick up some litter on your way out, leave the place cleaner than when you arrived, this is always a great way to show love and respect for Gaia.
Smile and make eye contact with every other human you cross paths with :)
Breath deeply, feel deeply, be present, notice as much as possible, increase awareness and give back gratitude for it all.
I Love you, have a beautiful day.