The Healing Power of Nature
If you have never been in nature alone, in a remote spot away from people and all things man-made, you must try it. I highly recommend it. It can be healing and magical.
Being in nature
I often hike the entire day without meeting anyone. The more I go, the more I love it. Being completely alone is a pleasure to me. Something inside starts to settle, and then a shift happens; it is a little bit like entering a different reality. No drugs are required.
Alone in nature, nobody wants something from me, and I don’t want me to be different, either. So as I meander, connecting with trees and rocks, I enter a dimension where goals, chores, targets, wants and needs fade away.
As far as I know, flora and fauna are not asking for our approval, nor does it approve or disapprove of us. That makes it so relaxing to be in nature – the trees, rocks and birds don’t need us to be smarter, better, slimmer, richer, younger or stronger.
We have created a crazy society based on targets, goals, likes, followers, competition, opposition, success and money. In the forest, none of those things exists for me. Once I enter this different reality, I start to relax deeply.
Suppose you want to hug a tree, great. If you don’t embrace that tree, it is still doing what it is meant to do. If you want to watch a bird, wonderful. If you don’t, it is still doing what it needs to, whether you like it or not.
Nature restores sanity
Sometimes I walk between trees and rocks; other times, I sit somewhere silently and observe. So often something unexpected happens. Usually, wildlife emerges and shows me something I have not seen or known before – something exciting, interesting and wonderful.
Being in nature feels right and reminds me of sanity. However, returning to the human world with all its pressures and demands can be a bit of a shock. Not getting caught up in our man-made reality is a continuous practice for me – sometimes, it is easy, and sometimes not.
PS: Stay safe when hiking alone. Make sure you understand the risk and are taking precautions. Always let someone know where you are. I carry an SOS beacon for areas without mobile reception.
A poem by Mary Oliver (1935-2019)
How I go to the Woods
Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single
friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of
praying, as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone, I can become invisible. I can sit
on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds
until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost
unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love
you very much.