Our human wellbeing is directly linked to the wellbeing of this planet.
This isn’t some crazy, far-fetched idea. In fact, it’s pretty logical and I don’t believe anyone would contest it. It seems pretty reasonable, that if our planet is trashed, so we will be, too.
The sad thing is that our modern culture has both fostered a disconnection from the natural world, while at the same time, there has been an exponential rise in technology. We have become more familiar with our cell phones than the wildlife in our own backyard. There has to be consequences to that.
We have become more familiar with our cell phones than the wildlife in our own backyard. There has to be consequences to that.
Our avoidance and ignorance of nature has led us to dire consequences. To diminished wellbeing of body, mind, and spirit.
Carl Jung often said. “The gods [natural world] have become our diseases!”
It is no coincidence that this age of disconnection has also seen a tremendous rise in stress-related illnesses (heart disease, diabetes, asthma, obesity, depression and anxiety, among others).
I grew up in the suburbs in the 1970’s and although I played in the woods on my block (aka, a plot of land too small to build a house), most children nowadays don’t even have that experience. The love of nature was not instilled in me. I had to seek out connection.
It isn’t a matter of “loving nature.” Of course, I did, as I’m sure you do. We love to sit on the beach in the summer and hear the ocean waves. Watch the sunset over a margarita when we’re in Cancun. We appreciate a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a friend.
That’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about a connection — a communication — that requires stillness. Sometimes with other people, but more often, alone.
My time of awakening, true awakening to nature, started probably 20 years ago. It was a crisis time for me at home around relationships. I struggled over the relationship with my husband and my two children (for different reasons); and later realized that it was, in fact, my relationship with myself.
I remember one autumn night having a fight during dinner with my husband and I fled outside. I took a walk in the school field across the street, hoping that no one would see my tears. Thankfully, there were few people around.
Perhaps you’ve had an experience like this. Walking alone, perhaps talking to yourself, as you replay over the fight with pure anger or hurt or tears streaming down your face. What you said, what you should have said. Why you are so perfectly right and everyone else is wrong. Perhaps seeing yourself as a victim of another’s aggression.
Walking through the field that night allowed me to destress a bit. It was an outlet for my emotional turmoil.
As I see it now, the earth beneath my feet was taking in my wounded energy. The field gladly accepted the tears pouring out of me. It allowed me to release them, accepting it as energy, pure and simple. The trees played witness to my grief, silent and strong. No judgment.
It wasn’t like everything was better after this walk, but at some level it was. It was an experience that showed me how nature helps heal our wounds. It was the start of my journey although I hadn’t realized it at the time.
The following few years were tumultuous still, and I came back to nature each time, knowing somehow within me that nature was what I needed.
I came to realize how being “in touch” with the natural world was allowing me to feel more in touch with myself. And every experience in nature resulted in a happier Maureen.
When the pandemic hit hard in early 2020, we witnessed the surge of crowds in parks. Yes, it’s true that there weren’t many other places we could go, but we did return to nature in droves.
It seems that, when we are still and have fewer distractions, we instinctively know that nature helps us heal in all ways.
Lest us forget that we are part of Heaven, Humanity, and Earth — the Cosmic Trinity of creation.
How has nature helped you heal? This past year or any other time?