A connection to nature is a connection to intrinsic glory, vitality and power. ‘For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver’ ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
I absolutely love these words, because for me, the power of nature is so incredibly precious!
In recent years I have found nature to be one of the most powerful – yet often underrated – ways to recharge my energy, feel calmer, become more content, reconnect with myself and also reduce anxiety.
In this busy modern era, most of us are more connected to the concrete jungle than to the great outdoors. It’s so easy to forget the holistic healing powers of Nature; the simple, yet so powerfully positive, impact that a walk in the woods, a dip of the toes in the ocean, or a little sunshine on your face – in short, mother nature – can have on our souls.
For me, nature is truly the most stripped back, simple – and let’s not forget, sustainable – way to recharge my batteries. This is why I’m sharing my (lucky number SEVEN) top tips to help you connect to the source, and all of her superpowers.
1. Happy Feet!
Whenever you can walk barefoot! If you’ve spent any time with me then you’ll know that I like to slip out of my shoes on any occasion.
Our feet are literally our connection to Mother Earth. In taking off our shoes we are permitting that connection to the source from our very roots. Be it in feeling the grass, the sand, the rocks, or the bed of the ocean floor; connect with the warmth and the abundance of all that supports you.
Connecting to our feet in this way also allows us to connect to our root Chakra – Muladhara – and in connecting to the earth we are acknowledging and trusting that she has, and will provide, everything that we need at all times.
Connecting to nature hack: If you are not comfortable with getting bare foot, then consider Biohacking shoes.
2. Make it a date…
Self-care and self-love are serious commitments because you are taking the time to show up for yourself. Why not extend that same commitment to nature and respect your mother by setting (and keeping!) your commitments with her.
Set a time and place – make it a date – and be there. Try spending an undisturbed time in the garden, maybe a walk in the forest, watching a sunset or stargazing.
Connecting to nature hack: try making time to go for a short morning walk in the garden while the kettle is on, before your morning tea.
3. And put your phone away….
So, you’ve set the date and made a commitment to connect; but the exercise is pointless unless you’re fully present when you arrive.
This means no ‘distractions’. Whether it’s a book to read, your phone to scroll through – or any other “things to do.” Challenge yourself to sit with yourself, the thoughts that come and go – observing both the patterns in the mind and the nature before you.
Deepening your connection to nature by completely isolating yourself from distractions, can be tough at first, but get’s easier with time.
4. Relax! And observe…
Once you have selected the spot in nature and shown up without distraction, take in your surroundings.
Notice the little details: see, hear, smell, touch and allow yourself to enjoy all these sensory experiences with a sense of curiosity. Have I smelled this before? Or Have I felt this texture before? Have I seen this before?
Try to go further and ask yourself: what am I most drawn to? Is it the flower, the leaf, the water, the sky? Whatever it is, make it your focal point. Then allow your eyes to focus on what you choose and let your eyes rest there. Focus your mind on it and become the observer – admire it!
You are creating your own mindful exercise and experience in doing so.
5. Communicate with her…
The idea of communicating with nature may sound odd, but not only is it key, but it also isn’t new! It’s an ancestral tradition lost over time – where chanting to fire, naming stones, talking to wood, setting intentions to the moon and praying to the ocean, were ritual.
You may not have to take it that far to make it happen. Start with « silent » communication if you don’t feel comfortable out loud. Then, bring your awareness fully to a piece of nature of your choosing and try to communicate with it, albeit in your head.
Mantra (sound) has a powerful impact on the body whether the words are spoken out loud or in your head. And you may be surprised how many thoughts and ideas arise at this moment.
It really can be as simple as acknowledging how beautiful a flower is, or how tall and strong a tree looks. And in all of this time, just stop and actively notice (or truly see) what you are looking at is keeping you present after all; strengthening your spiritual connection to Nature!
6. Get comfortably uncomfortable
Human nature and survival mode mean that we, as humans, move away from discomfort and towards comfort as much as possible. Nevertheless, however hard we try, it is completely unrealistic to be comfortable all the time.
Trying to achieve permanent comfort is and can be harmful to our health because we need adversity to strengthen us. Our bodies are perfectly designed to endure and, also adapt to make us stronger and more resistant. The perfect example is temperature control – with modern AC living we tap a button to be comfortably warmer or colder.
By opposition, nature calls you back to reality.
My invitation to you is to encounter nature in an unconventionally comfortable setting: go into the cold. Feel that freeze cold, don’t run away from the ice-cold immediately. Surrender to it for a moment. Experience extreme heat. Feel the sun. Feel the strength of the wind. Acknowledge the rain and don’t avoid it instantly. Allow a connection to nature in its intensity.
Be with the elements and forces of nature. Surrender to them to surpass your own limit and push your body to do what it’s naturally designed to do best – thrive and respond to different exposures, feel the joy of being alive with nature around you.
7. Get circadian
Before night shifts, international travel and Netflix-binging, our ancestors rose with the sun and went to bed with the moon; benefitting from a natural routine, in rhythm with nature, where sleep disorders didn’t even exist.
While governing your days by the sun are not always practical or feasible in our busy, office and/or family-based busy lifestyles, you can take a few simple steps to create a circadian rhythm of your own, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time.
This is something I learned when living in an Indian ashram where we rose right before the sun, limited the amount of artificial light as much as possible during the day, and wound down as the sun started to set.
Another way to make living like this easier in a modern world is to set bedtime, self-care rituals. Something as simple as remembering to moisturise your whole body (an act of self-love) before bed, or as cosmic (and connected to nature) as a night-time stargaze before you hit the hay.
Deepening your connection to nature is an astounding way to boost your mental and physical health. For more tips on how to interact with nature for health, click here.
As always the goal is: to optimise your health to improve your performance.
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