Our bodies are connected to nature. We are created to be intimately connected to the earth.
As humans we are animals; we depend on the air to breathe and water for sustenance.
Modern society has boxed us off from our environment, covering the earth in concrete. It shields us from natural light with walls and ceilings, as well as replacing it with fluorescent light waves. Chemicals are being put in our water, and air is being filtered through heating and cooling systems.
We are supposed to sleep at sundown and wake up at sunrise, but many of us operate on chaotic, irregular schedules. Much of our available food is processed and packaged. Society often makes us feel frantic and overwhelmed. We can begin to take breaks and allow our bodies to connect.
Here are some ideas:
Controlling the breathe controls our vital energy force—it affects our mood and our energy levels. Breathing can help us to control anxiety, handle pain and calm down. Breathing intentionally allows one to be present in the current moment.
We can cultivate the habit of becoming aware of our breathe by inhaling for a count of four, holding for four and exhaling for four whenever possible. Breathing in sync with a partner helps us connect deeply. Breathing deeply can be helpful when we are contemplating a decision, can’t find something we misplaced or when we are anticipating something.
2) Be Naked.
Clothes have practical uses, such as keeping us warm, but they also serve to disconnect us from our bodies.
After showering, we can walk around our room, read or hang out on our bed before getting dressed. We can cook, clean and sleep naked. Our bodies are our temples for this lifetime. When we are comfortable in our own skin, it shows throughout other areas of our life. Let’s not judge our bodies.
Spending time with a partner naked in a way that is not sexual allows us to just live in them.
Indigenous societies often walked barefoot, or on animal skins, which maintained their connection to our roots. Now, we put rubber between our soles and the earth, which isolates us from essential energy flowing into us. We can walk around barefoot, ideally outside, to get the energy flowing.
3) Touch a tree.
I don’t care how silly we may feel or what we think people will think about us. Let’s step off the sidewalk, park the car and put our whole palm onto the bark of a tree. We can feel how sturdy it is, visualize how deep the roots go into the earth and gaze up at the branches. We can thank it for providing fresh oxygen for us to breathe.
Think about how much older that tree is than us, how much it has seen and how sad it is that it may be chopped down one day. Let’s appreciate its leaves, fruits, nuts and flowers.
4) Appreciate the Sun.
The sun shows up for us every day and sustains life. Let’s feel the warm tingling of the sun on our skin. Holding up colored glass or translucent stones allows us to appreciate the sunbeams shining through. The ancient process of sungazing gives us sustenance from the sun.
Around sunrise and sunset, we can stand barefoot on the ground and look directly at the sun for a few seconds. Every day increasing the time, until one day we may not need to eat food (adding 10 seconds a day for up to 44 minutes is one recipe). Within days, we will begin to feel more energy with more vitamin D and serotonin in your brain, thus warding off depression.
5) Drink clean water.
We are mostly made of water, yet many of us do not drink enough. It is important to get in the habit of drinking water instead of anything with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. We can take advantage of the fact that water is free in the United States, but not buying into the practice of buying tons of bottles of water.
There is little regulation to selling water, and there is not much reason to believe it’s actually more pure. Drinking from a plastic water bottle that has been heated up by the sun releases harmful chemicals that are released into the body. Much of the tap water contains fluoride, which is a controversial topic.
Many people agree that it is unnecessary and has harmful effects. There is no clear evidence that it helps to prevent tooth decay, and the United States is one of the only countries that does it. We can buy a water filter and keep it in our fridge because nothing tastes as delicious as cold, fresh water. Let’s commit to drinking a glass every morning, before and after every meal, and going to sleep.
Drinking water before and after exercising helps flush out toxins from the body. Carrying around a metal or BPA-free bottle allows us to automatically drink more. Starting the mornings with hot lemon water wards off colds and other illnesses, cleanses the digestive track and tastes lovely. Throwing in some ginger and honey gives added benefits.
Drinking tea is also a great way to hydrate, particularly aromatic and not caffeinated versions.
6) Eat real, locally grown food.
We need to worry less about calories and more about chemicals. Most pre-packaged meals labeled lean and healthy are loaded with sodium and preservatives, so we must be wary of anything that comes in a box. We can check from where fruit is imported, consider the carbon footprint it leaves and try to eat what is seasonal in our area.
When affordable, we can buy organic options, ideally at local markets. It is important to consider the nutritional content of what we eat, making sure to fill ourselves with vitamins and minerals. We can cut down on red meat and carbohydrates, as well as eat vegetarian one day a week. Our bodies are made of what we eat.
7) Create a bedtime ritual.
The lights of a computer and phone tell our bodies to stay awake, so we should intentionally turn them off as we get ready for bed. Falling asleep to a television show distracts us from essential processing time at the end of a day. Let us savor those moments as we tuck ourselves in, adjusting our pillow until it’s just right. We can make a nice little cocoon for ourselves with the blanket. We should sleep on our backs for best posture. We can put a pillow under our knees to relax the lower back.
If thoughts swirl, keeping a journal next to the bed to jot down any reminders will help let go of them. Wearing a mask over the eyes will help if there is still light in the room. We can cuddle with our partner for a few moments, syncing our breathing, and then say “goodnight.”
We can take several deep breaths and repeat the affirmation:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
~ Ralph Waldo
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Assistant Ed. Kerrie Shebiel/Ed: Bryonie Wise