We Are Not Lost: How to Use Nature to Help Center Ourselves in Times of Uncertainty
"Stand Still: The Forest Knows Where to Find You" by Cyncie Winter
“Breathing in, I know Mother Earth is in me. Breathing out, I know Mother Earth is in me.” Thich Nhat Hahn
The other day, I was feeling so troubled by what is going on in our world, that I took myself outside and did a walking meditation. I began my stroll down our road (Where the ice has finally melted) with a question and a plea—to find something in nature that would speak to me to help sustain me.
And I did. A rock spoke to me immediately, telling me to find that strength and solidity within myself. In response to my anxiety about our three children, three pine cones called to me. I picked them up, put them on the rock, and asked the rock to take care of them. It said, “I will.”
I took both of these gifts into my heart and felt better.
Nature has the capacity to help us transform stressors within ourselves. In the somatic work I do with clients, I use a technique that uses nature as an antidote for restoring balance and well-being.
If you’d like to find out more about that, contact me, and we can set up a mini distance session, using our computers.
It also feels like it might be a good time for some nature poetry as a good technique for finding groundedness within ourselves. To that end, I offer you poems by David Wagoner and Mary Oliver. Both are affirmations about the power of nature to provide us with a way to connect deeply with our Mother Earth.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
© David Wagoner
Sleeping in the Forest
I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
© Mary Oliver
In both poems, you can see that connecting with the living, breathing earth has a way to calm, and center us. It is a way to find our BrightStar--the gift that each of us can bring to this time.
So, if you can take yourself into a place of nature, do a walking meditation, or simply sit outside under the blue sky in the warming spring sunshine, you are providing yourself with resources—and antidotes, if you will, for whatever anxieties may be dwelling in your body and mind.
Thich Nhat Hahn’s poem on Walking Meditation describes the process really clearly:
Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
©Thich Nhat Hahn
And finally, here is a link in which he describes the process beautifully.
https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-meditate-thich-nhat-hanh-on-walking-meditation/ Take good care of your Good Selves. Let me know how I can help.