So, there I was, feet sinking into cold mud, rain sliding down my neck, arms flung to the sky, joyful laughter spilling from my throat…
When the self-care conversation comes up with clients, how often do you find yourself suggesting they spend time in nature?
With studies supporting the benefits, time in nature as self-care has moved into mainstream consciousness. Especially these days as we are witnessing or experiencing nationally or globally distressing events.
Getting people back into nature is a good thing. Unquestionably good. Yet, I have such mixed feelings about this.
I know many of us make the recommendation lovingly, with concern and compassion for the people we work with and the intention of well being for everyone involved.
Yet, with its move into mainstream consciousness, the suggestion to spend time in nature feels like the nature being referred to is a popular new spa. “Darling, you really must try the mountain trail treatment. You’ll be a new woman.”
As if nature is something we can step in and out of at will. As if it’s the latest silver-bullet cure. If we could put it into a pill, we probably would. It would save us so much time!
This is the sticking point for me. A practice that can be so intentional and thoughtful is being co-opted. It’s becoming one more way we treat wild nature as an inanimate resource.
One more way we reinforce the myth that we are separate from our ecosystems.
One more way we reinforce being disconnected from “the soft animal of our body.” (From Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.”)
Here’s what I know…
We are never removed from nature because we are an intrinsic part of it … always … regardless of what our surroundings look like. If we are sitting in a room full of cubicles, we are still in nature. Because we are nature.
Reconnecting with nature isn’t about humans being healthier or becoming more responsible stewards (I so hate the patriarchy of that word!) of the earth. It’s about restoring a broken relationship so ultimately everybeing thrives.
So everybeing thrives…that bears repeating.
- Maybe suggest they spend time WITH nature rather than IN nature.
- Possibly share stories about how you spend time with nature.
- If it feels right, remind them that they are an intrinsic part of nature.
- Perhaps prompt them to think about what they might offer their ecosystem, since healthy relationships are reciprocal.
Knowing that as you create circumstances that help all life thrive, you’re creating those same circumstances for yourself and your practice. Because you’re magical like that…