Connection with Nature
From Cubicle to Nature…
In the last office building where I worked the windows didn't open, the thermostat was set to 70 degrees whether it was summer or winter outside, and my cubicle's fluorescent-lit walls and computer stared glumly back at me. I longed, longed, LONGED to get out of there , but I also needed to pay my mortgage.
Luckily, the law of attraction is always at work, and I visualized a different life. When the opportunity arose to move to the shore and telecommute, I was very happy. Now I can do my work while looking out an open window at trees and sky, traipse off the beach at any hour…and this is what I needed.
But even when I was working in the office building, at lunch I would go out to the small area of woods that separated the parking lot from the highway and spend time there. I would sit on the ground in my cubicle attire, with my back leaning against a tree, smelling the pine needles. Though I could hear cars, I'd close my eyes and be present in the natural setting. And grateful that I was where I was, if even for 15 minutes.
At home at night, I found myself googling 'connect with nature', knowing that this was really missing in my life. And most likely the lives of many. I found out about Michael Cohen, Ph.D. and the Institute of Global Education's Project NatureConnect this way. Here is a description of the Institute's Education, Counseling and Healing With Nature program from their website:
Although we are part of nature, we live excessively indoor lives. Our enormous separation from the natural world interferes with our body, mind and spirit applying the self-correcting way nature works to sustain our planet's health, balance and purity, around and in us. Because the indoor process that teaches us how to think and feel is excessively nature-disconnected, its separation from nature's restorative powers creates mind pollution in our psyche. This contamination warps our thoughts and feelings. It causes us to create and suffer personal, social and environmental problems that are seldom found in unadulterated nature or in nature-connected people(s).
I took their online Ecopsychology orientation course and found myself going to the park to do my homework, which was to connect my natural senses with the wisdom and flow of Nature. I always returned home uplifted and refreshed. I found that a quiet visit with outdoors is often all that is needed to find peace in the midst of civilized chaos.
More recently I discovered another author's work that really resonates with me so much. To Be Healed by the Earth, by Warren Grossman, is a book for healers and those who wish to be healed. Grossman writes about humans' ability to connect with the Earth for emotional and physical well-being. He is the founder of the Warren Grossman School of Healing, where he teaches people to place attention on the connection between their energy and Earth's healing energy. Here is how he describes it:
Attention is the connector or interface between the person in need and the energies of nature. Attention operates like the plug on an electrical appliance; it is one's connection to nature's energy. Without this connection, nature's energies have a limited effect. How does paying attention to a specific element of nature, for example the trunk of a tree, precipitate healing? It induces resonance between the tree and the person.Things or beings resonate sympathetically, they vibrate sympathetically. The person concentrating on the tree begins to unconsciously resonate with the tree's energy, to imitate it...If we do this, our energy changes by imitating healthier energy. It spontaneously mimics the characteristics of the energy of trees, plants, soil or water. This can result in better health.
Feel and See What's All Around Us
So when I go on my daily barefoot beach walks I try and give attention to how my feet feel touching the sand. When I lie on the pine needles near my house and look up at the trees and sky I try to stay focused on what I'm seeing. I think of Thoreau, who wrote about how disappointed he was when he realized he walked through the beautiful woods and was so in his own thoughts that he didn't see the beautiful woods. What would he think if he could see kids staring at iPad SpongeBob, so removed from Nature save for 15 minutes on the playground at recess? This is an issue that will be addressed as more of us realize what we're so sorely lacking.
With Earthing, you're encouraged to walk barefoot on the ground for the energetic connection and the transfer of electrons to your body to abort free radicals and to feel better. Connecting with Nature goes a step further by encouraging you to place specific attention on the beauty of the natural environment that's all around you. Both increase your energy and both are healing. I always feel better after time spent attentively outside. Most people have a park or tree or even potted plants nearby where they can smell and look at flowers and plants and trees and sky - it's the perfect thing to do after a stressful meeting, before dinner, right when you get up.
But doing it is the key.