Unplug: Breathe, Listen, Feel
By Amy Melissa Witt
Are you aware that nature is alive and has a lot to share with you? Are you paying attention? One message often being communicated is to slow down, listen, and observe.
Next time you are walking in nature, really engage your body, mind and spirit. Find a spot to pause and sit upon the ground or just stand silently and observe. Take in your surroundings. What do you see? What are you noticing that you never did before? Find one thing (plant, tree, stone, bark, or shell) that’s near you and strike up a conversation. Ask if it likes living where it is; what it has seen over the years; what advice it has for you in that moment.
Share some of your story. How you came to be there. What feelings you are or would like to be experiencing. Before you go on your way, compliment and thank this being you have been talking with.
Notice how you feel as you continue or end your walk. Do you feel lighter? Brighter, calmer, more alive? Pay attention to your feelings. What steps will you take to renew these positive emotions when you are out of alignment?
Believe it or not, you have just experienced one of nature’s healing sessions. Trust whatever has come to you and the experience you had.
Nature Shows You How You Can Reconnect with Yourself
By Amy Melissa Witt
Are you feeling exasperated because you are stuck at home during this time of social distancing and stay at home orders? Do you feel trapped because of all the responsibilities you have including homeschooling your kids, your job, and running your household? Are you looking for down time, a calmer and simpler life, and ways to re-connect with who you really are?
You might not be able to go to the gym, out to restaurants or clothes shopping, but you can allow yourself to take a deserved break from your day-to-day commitments and experience valuable time to re-charge and take care of you.
The weather in Maine is warming up, there’s more daylight, the nesting songbirds have returned in abundance and nature is bursting with the brilliantly beautiful colors of newly emerged leaves and flowers.
This is a perfect time to be immersed in nature, to experience the benefits of living simply, of being in the present moment by observing the thriving rhythm of the plants, animals and birds, all of which can help you reconnect to your true self.
Letting go, being one with nature and allowing your mind to quiet down, daydream or wander can lead to some of your most creative moments.
As the world changes and new opportunities unfold, consider what role you want to have as we move forward. Who do you want to be in this next phase of enlightenment on planet Earth? What do you want to let go of? What do you want to create?
Taking time in nature to release daily stress lets you connect with your creative spirit. One simple activity to engage in is journaling. Journaling while embraced by nature allows you to slow down and see the natural world and your true self from a different perspective.
I’ve experienced a variety of very stressful times throughout my life, both personally and professionally. Being immersed in nature, even for a few minutes each day, has shown me how enriching a simpler life is, expanded my creativity, and has greatly improved my overall wellbeing.
Earth Walkers can help you start your journey to experiencing a more relaxed and simpler life with our 6 Simple Nature Connection Practices to Declutter Your Mind + Restore Your Spirit. Get your free guide here and begin the journey of re-connecting with yourself.
Benefits of Mindful Gardening
By Amy Melissa Witt
Gardening and mindfulness forge a connection to the world around us (nature, wildlife and people), which can bring us pleasure and peace. The
exercise of tending to plants and the earth release endorphins (happy chemicals) in our brain. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service has defined five steps you can take to improve your mental health and well-being: connection with others, being more active, on-going learning; giving to others and paying attention to the present moment. Gardening fulfills all five of these criteria.
Like creating a garden, mindfulness takes time and persistence. One ideal way to incorporate mindfulness practice into everyday life is through gardening. The focus on the breath is replaced with the task at hand and the experience of the senses. Every time your attention wanders, there is a sight, smell, sound, touch or taste in the garden to bring your mind back to the present.
It is important to center yourself before you start gardening, because rushing into a task will not enhance a mindful state. How we look at our garden creates our garden, and our state of mind affects our gardening.
Attempting to force change on the natural order of things is possible (i.e. forcing bulbs, season extension), but is it desirable? Nature will do things in its own time. Nature is a universal language showing how suitable gardening is for mindfulness:
- First and foremost we must care for ourselves as we do our plants (providing space, light, food and water)
- We must look after the soil (our surroundings) so we can flourish
- We need time to rest (as do plants)
If we tended our bodies and minds like we do our gardens, we would be in great shape!