March 11, 2014

This Spring: Let’s Get Our Hands (& Feet) Dirty!

author's photo: yoli ramazzina

This weekend the weather was phenomenally gorgeous.It was clear, sunny, and not just warm, but hot.

I took advantage of the sunny days by spending some much needed time and attention on my garden. My succulent garden, to be specific. Succulents are those unique looking, drought-tolerant plants that store water in their thick leaves and stems. I adore them!

My first attempt at a succulent garden was dug and destroyed by my dogs. I salvaged what I could, and moved my efforts to the front yard, away from the dogs. My little garden has been doing well, but during the winter months my attention waned, due to the shorter days and cooler weather. As a result, my succulent garden had become fairly overrun with weeds. When the days dawned bright and sunny this weekend, I seized the opportunity to get my hands dirty.

It’s that time of year, friends! Spring is in the air! We all had to re-set our clocks this past weekend, and “spring forward.” The gloomy days are behind us, and that first day of Spring is coming up on March 20th!

This is a time to get our hands dirty. A time to re-connect with the earth and all its “growing things.”

author's photo: yoli ramazzina

Plants some seeds! Start a garden! Pull the weeds in the side-yard! Just get outside, and get your hands in some dirt! Although it may sound like a chore at first, gardening (even just pulling weeds) can be an extremely gratifying and stress-relieving practice. Digging up and pulling out intrusive weeds can relieve anger and frustration. Clearing space in the soil so your plants and flowers can grow is soothing for the soul. Being out in the sunshine and fresh air is so good for us! Our bodies get fresh oxygen, and much needed vitamin D.

When I am outside on my knees, hands in the dirt and sun at my back, gardening nearly becomes a meditation. My mind clears and focuses solely on the task at hand. Unearthing and uprooting. Digging and planting. Sowing and watering.

My normally spinning and multi-tasking brain actually slows down and becomes clear! I smell the freshly dug earth. I notice the tiny ladybug crawling on a blade of grass. I feel the warm sun on my skin, and the cool sweat beading at my hairline. I become so present in the moment. It is all so deliciously invigorating, and until I am down on the ground with a trowel in my hand, I don’t realize how much I missed it. Or how much I needed it.

We all need time to re-connect with the earth. To feel dirt—soft, moist and crumbling in our hands. To spend time in nature. To cultivate. To just be.

Spring is a time of new life and new beginnings. Planting some seeds or cultivating a garden can be a catalyst for breathing new life into ourselves, and breaking the routine. Instead of re-booting that PC, tablet, or iPhone, let’s re-boot ourselves!

Don’t just get your hands dirty, get your feet dirty too!

Garden barefoot, letting your toes wiggle in the dirt. Feel rich soil and prickly blades of grass on the soles of your feet as you meander around the yard.

author's photo: yoli ramazzina

The first time I heard about earthing was in a yoga class with one of my favorite teachers. She shared with us that she and her daughter spent about ten minutes of each day, removing their shoes and just walking around their yard barefoot. She told us it was extremely healing and rejuvenating.

Here is the basic concept, as described by The Earthing Institute:

“Earthing, or grounding as it is often called, simply means connecting to the Earth’s natural, negative surface charge by being barefoot outside… Connection with the Earth restores a lost electrical signal to the body that seems to stabilize the complicated circuitry of our essentially-electrical body. Our built-in self-regulating and self-healing mechanisms become more effective. There are head-to-toe improvements. Better blood flow. Less pain and inflammation. More energy. Deeper sleep. For many people the effect is dramatic, like charging a failing battery. For others, the effect is gradual and subtle.”

Pretty cool, right? People used to to just do this naturally, but nowadays we wear shoes and spend so much time indoors or in our cars, we miss out on this simple way of receiving our earth’s natural energy. That’s why it’s so important for us to take some time to get our hands (and feet) in the dirt and re-connect with nature!

Now I know not everyone has enough space or their own yard to garden in. Some of us live in apartment buildings, and everyone’s situation is different. Here are some suggestions on how everyone can get their hands and feet dirty!

1. Look into neighborhood or community gardens: a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people. Somewhere you can go to cultivate a little patch of dirt you can call your own, alongside other like-minded individuals.

2. Look into container planting: the practice of growing plants exclusively in containers instead of planting them in the ground. Ok, it’s not quite the same as having your own little patch of land to garden, but this way you can still plant and watch things grow! A good option for apartment life or those with limited space.

3. Take a walk in the park! Take your shoes off and enjoy a leisurely stroll around a nearby park, feeling the grass beneath your feet. Or perhaps a stroll on the beach, feeling the warm sand beneath your toes.

author's photo: yoli ramazzina

Whether it’s earthing or gardening (or a combination of the two!), take the opportunity this Spring to re-charge yourself by connecting with our bountiful earth. Soak in some sunshine, plant some seeds and allow yourself to feel the ground beneath your feet.

Have love and respect for all growing things, including yourself!

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photos: Author’s own

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