“When you know Nature as part of yourself, you will act in Harmony. When you feel yourself part of Nature, you will live in harmony.” Tao
As a child I sometimes walked to a particular tree near my house where I silently communicated my troubles. It felt as though the tree responded with a sense of putting its arms around me and transmitting immense strength and ancient wisdom. I did not speak of this until learning that nature is spiritual and can speak to us in many ways. Western culture and religion have given us another view, emphasizing dominion rather than harmony. Theology’s split with nature has contributed to an irresponsible view of our relationship to the earth as so many of our plants and animals continue to become extinct and our air and water more polluted. This dominion over plants and animals has extended to the dominion over other human beings who are different than they are. Plant medicines aren’t considered as good as manmade ones by most of our doctors, and it is hard for some people to find a safe and beautiful place in nature where they can have a therapeutic experience.
When a client is experiencing a crisis or needing to make an important decision, I often suggest they go to their favorite place in nature. Once there, they can sit comfortably while experiencing the sounds, smells, colors and shapes of the natural beauty around them. When a sense of peace is aroused, any feelings that have been waiting to get loose will arise. This is when we allow the release of the pain we have been carrying but no longer need. Allow the tears, the anger, all the pain to flow forth with nature as your witness and source of comfort. The earth knows what to do with the negative feelings you release. Here you can feel your sorrow recycling with all of life just as the leaves fall and rot and add nutrients back to the tree.
Once you have released the gateway of emotions, the fun part begins. It all suddenly makes sense what you have been going through and why you may have needed to. The thing you saw as a problem becomes a lesson, a great learning to take you further down your journey, strengthening and calming you all the way.
Using nature as therapy allows you to watch the water as a way of being, effortlessly flowing from its source. The tide can become your breath, moving in and out on its own. This allows you to slow your breath down as you take in the beauty and comfort of the natural surroundings.
A trip to your favorite spot in nature or a walk in the park is excellent for facing and resolving life’s problems as well as invigorating your body while deepening your breathing. Even more so, it provides the spiritual nurturance of Mother Earth and all the many forms of healing she provides.
I teach clients to take themselves mentally to their favorite or made up place in nature through guided imagery exercises. Here I help them focus on the peacefulness and safety of their inner world as they are encouraged to relax body and mind. Whatever concerns they have brought into the therapy session can be addressed here in a completely peaceful and relaxed state. In this place between waking and sleeping there is magic, and if the client is relaxed and trusts the images or feelings that come up, answers and wisdom and more will naturally arise.
Here is a video my husband made from our travels to La Push, WA over the years and also the place I go in my mind for a peaceful interlude with self. Remember to breathe and let your thoughts