Ever since I was a little girl, I have always found myself needing time alone in nature. It was my place to go for rest, reflection and healing, way before I consciously started on my shamanic path.We all know how much better we feel when we go hiking in nature, swimming in the ocean, walking barefoot on the earth. Serotonin levels lift our moods as we enjoy the sunshine, the earth suffuses our bodies with negatively charged free electrons and water is filled with minerals to help us relax, boost our immunity and balance our nervous system. There are so many shifts that occur on a physical and mental level.
Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard University biologist, naturalist and entomologist, used the term 'biophilia" to describe his hypothesis that we have an instinctive bond with nature and the other organisms on earth because we have spent most of our evolution ove the past three million years in nature and therefore an innate love for it. Due to our dependance on nature, he hypothesised that we are linked to it physically, emotionally and cognitively.
Steven C Bourassa a professor in urban planning wrote in an article in Environment and Behaviour that in order to understand our relationship to the environment, we must understand both our cognitive and emotional interactions with it.
I believe nature offers us a deeper understanding and remembering of our true selves. Given we are all interconnected, my experience with nature is that nature brings me back to my true self and it is when I am dis-connected from nature, I am disconnected from myself and vice-versa. Nature brings so many messages signs and signals, it is the reflection of my own world and the path back to myself, if I listen. And so I try to be conscious, to notice what is happening around me, to notice the butterfly in front of me, the grasshopper sitting on my plant and the eagles flying overhead. When I'm walking on the tarmac to onto my plane, I notice the clouds, feel the breeze and I listen more carefully for what messages the wind has for me ;and when I get back to the water, I listen to what she has to say. So I first see, hear or feel the messages nature has for me and then I interpret what the meaning is for me.
When I travel to the desert, out to the Hugh River twice a year, I am reminded of how beautiful nature is and how connected we are. On my most recent trip with SOTEMS, we explored further our connection with nature. We walked through different landscapes and noticed what gifts each landscape had to offer us and so the specific gifts of different locations came through and the messages they held for me came through mentally and physically. I received pictures, messages, symbols and I felt the different emotions in each location and noticed the different responses of my power animal.
Art made with the gifts from the earth provided the perfect expression for my connection to nature and an even greater understanding of my own inner world and its expression into the outer. It began as each piece called me to it and so the messages began to flow through from the moment I collected the pieces I was to work with. As I worked on the art, many tears were shed, I laughed, became frustrated as I grieved the loss of one of my best friends, worked through the traumas of the previous year, of past lives and all that linked to the emotions as I grappled with my place in it all. And so connecting and working with these pieces of nature gifted me with so much healing as I watched myself there, processing, I observed my emotions, reactions and natural processes and ways for handling it all.
As I look back at the various pieces I created from the stone and wood around me over those 12 days in the desert, I saw my story, my healing and the path ahead. Some of the most powerful healing, gentle, strong and transformational work I have done. The gift of sleeping in a swag in nature with nothing but the basics, there is no other distraction, no escape from myself, allowing the space for a much deeper connection, a 'rawness' which exposes all that is there to be seen, felt and known and with that comes a more embodied experience for the interconnection of all.
Whenever I have moments of losing my connection, moments where I forget who I am, I go back to nature and the earth and they remind me that I am all around and I am within so I need look no further. As I go in, I open out and allow that I am and we are.. we have just forgotten. And so I thank nature for bringing me back.