In a world of ever-changing "normals," it can be difficult navigating through these times. However, there is a secret key to which we all have access and that does not cost a penny. What is this key? How can we rebalance, reconnect, and reset our life in a few easy steps? It is through our connection to the natural world.
When my mind is full of dualistic thoughts, or racing around like a dog chasing its tail, this is what I do. I simply step outside and allow the wind to gently dance around me and play with my hair. Next, I relax and visualize that the wind is not only touching my skin, but it is also flowing through my mind, releasing unsettled thoughts. Next, I visualize that the wind is flowing through my heart, releasing any anxious or residual feelings. I imagine that the wind is beginning to carry my spirit and lifting me up like an eagle soaring through the heavens. It simply takes a few moments, and I am relaxed and feel at home within myself once again. The next time that you notice the wind, I invite you to try this exercise. Allow the wind to lift you up.
At times, I may feel alone and/or disconnected from those that I love so dearly. Maybe I even think for a moment that I am not good enough, or that I need to become something different than myself. Here is what I do. I find a place in nature, maybe a local park or field, maybe my own backyard. I simply sit there for a moment under a tree and perceive the natural world around me. It does not take long before I notice a bird singing, a squirrel dancing around, or a field mouse scampering around low to the ground. The thought comes to me that if I have noticed them, they have noticed me, too. I am seen without judgment. I feel a sense of their acceptance, and it allows me to recognize that I do belong, and they don't judge me or ask me to change. While the squirrel may ask me for a peanut, he will not reject me if I have nothing to offer.
I have found that the key to pressing any reset button is to first know your authentic purity. Purity here is not in the sense of "goodness;" rather, here purity is the definition of undiluted self. I've notice that life, situations, and events can dilute us and we become something inauthentic, at times to the point of losing our self (or is that just me?). Nevertheless, in order to return to my purity, I must have a sense of what that purity is. So, if I've lost sight of myself, how do I remember (or "re-member") my authenticity? Here is what I do.
I get a piece of paper and a pen and I find a place in nature that is at least twenty feet away from any other person, and I sit down and breathe. I breathe in for three counts, I hold my breath for three counts, and I exhale for three counts. Breathe like this for about a minute or two (eyes can be open or closed—your choice). I return my thoughts to notice what my physical body is sensing. Do I feel the sun on my face? Do I feel a breeze? What does the air temperature feel like? Can I hear any nature sounds (a bird singing, a brook babbling, the wind through the trees)? Then I write down on the piece of paper a list of the five main senses: sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound. Next, beside each sense, I will write down what I am experiencing with each of them.
Sight: I see a bird, I can see a rock formation
Touch: I feel the sun, or I feel the rock I am sitting upon
Smell: I smell the pinecones, or I smell the ocean
Taste: I can taste the salt of the ocean, or I can taste the mint that is growing near me. (You don't actually have to put something in your mouth to experience the sensation of taste
Hearing: I can hear the wind in the trees, I can hear a bird singing (obviously, I like birds as I keep referring to them… I wonder why?)
Once you complete this part of the exercise, I invite you to expand on what you've noticed and what you have written. (For example, "I noticed the bird and it made me think of…" or, "It made me feel…" or, "I remember a time…") This allows you to begin to slowly uncover the mysteries within your own self to open up and reveal yourself to yourself.
For example: When I saw the bird, I notice that it was perched in a tree. Although, it did not look directly at me, I knew that it had noticed me, too. So, high up on the branch, I wonder what it sees from there. Huh… a bird's eye view, that must be nice. Maybe I can practice this in my life, relationships, and experience.
This is simply an example of what free writing can produce. What will your free writing style produce? I can hardly wait to find out… because it is a clue to YOU! And that is the best thing that you could ever be! There is only one of you—be that!
It is the same thing that we may do when we are getting to know someone else, we listen to them and begin to understand how they are perceiving the world around them, their likes and dislikes. We can do this with ourselves as well. Get to know yourself! I bet you are an amazing, authentic person who simply needed a minute to re-connect with the self.
These ideas and exercises and so much more are found within the book The Wisdom of the Natural World. Yes, the book provides examples and exercises of how to reconnect with the natural world; but, moreover, it is designed to allow the reader to embrace their authenticity. Be your greatness—as only you can be!