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Posted on 04-26-2018
Let Nature Comfort You
by Sarah Gish
There is nothing as exhilarating as standing in a huge expanse of natural beauty and feeling connected to all that is. I felt that way when I was at Joshua Tree National Park a few years back with a friend – we couldn’t see any other people or cars and there were no cell phones to stare at, no computer screens to draw us in. It was a magical moment.
I get glimpses of that moment even when I experience nature on a smaller, less dramatic scale. At least once a day, I take the time to step outside and soak it in – REALLY listen and look and connect -- and I can sense my body rhythm slowing down and my mind feeling at peace. “Earthing” is a great way to do this quickly. Place your bare feet on the ground and close your eyes and connect to the earth’s energy for several minutes.
Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” in his groundbreaking book, Last Child in the Woods, which linked the lack of nature in today's wired world to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression. Lack of nature affects adults the same way. Connecting to screens and not trees takes a toll on all of us – body, mind, and spirit.
Why is it that nature comforts us which in turn reduces depression and increases health? There are many reasons but I believe the most important reason is that it connects us to ourselves – we are natural living creatures, just like the trees, birds, sky, animals around us. As Mary Oliver wrote in her poem “Wild Geese,” – “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” Nature is our family and communing with it is like coming home.
This article is part of an ongoing series in which I discuss the “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily” that are at the heart of my IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project (see more about the project and the “12 Ways” here: www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com). Each month, I will explore one Way and I will also suggest a site in Houston to visit that I love and that connects to the concept. I believe in not only understanding these 12 ways and words in your head and in your soul, but also experiencing them first-hand.
For April, my focus is Way #4: “Commune with nature. (commune)” and the Houston venue I suggest that you visit is the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center (www.HoustonArboretum.org), which is a 155-acre nature sanctuary adjacent to Memorial Park with a beautiful new entrance at 183 W. Loop South. There are miles of trails and ponds and fields and it’s my favorite hideaway when I need to plug back into the earth.
Sarah Gish is an igniter, a connector, an artist, a mother – and much more! See her work at www.GishCreative.com and contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and 713.492.1173. She produces a weekly blog highlighting unique cultural activities for adults and kids in Houston – GISH PICKS: CURATED CULTURE FOR KIDS & ADULTS (www.GishPicks.com) and an online searchable database, www.DayCampsHouston.com. Her IGNITE YOUR LIFE! art project (www.IgniteYourOwnLife.com) is a nonprofit organization and is anchored by a list of “12 Ways to Ignite Your Life Daily,” which are on the website. Sarah does private intuitive guidance sessions on Mondays at Body Mind & Soul; to schedule one, please call the store at 713.993.0550. She also leads “Second Saturday Labyrinth Walks” at the Hines Center for Spirituality and Prayer (www.HinesCenter.org); check their website for more info and to register.
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