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October 16, 2019

My Medicine for the Mind, Body & Soul.

 

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Ever since I was a little girl, I was so in love with all that nature had to share with me.

I spent my time outside, swimming, immersing myself in the outdoor world, and becoming one with nature’s creatures. To some, this might sound gross or icky, but I liked to hold worms and let snails and caterpillars walk up and down my arms.

For me, the outside world was always one so filled with magic and beauty and constant wonder. It’s the only place I ever wanted to be…and still, to this day, that is true.

I am 29 and without nature, I feel that I wouldn’t be here. As I got older, my time spent outside dwindled to almost nothing at all. I spent so much time in classrooms and going to work, and I felt as though part of my soul was missing. I remember looking through the window at the trees wishing I was out there instead of inside.

I went through a lot of trials and tribulations with anxiety and depression as well. Time away from nature wasn’t good for any part of my health, and the more time spent away from her, my mental and physical health declined. I was also eating poorly—too much processed food and not enough whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

When I was younger, I ate so many fruits and veggies. One day, I got sick. My stomach was doing poorly, I was having panic attacks all the time, and I could feel my soul telling me something had to change.

I ended up leaving school, I got a temporary job walking three dogs every week for a little while, and I also went vegan. I wasn’t making much money but each day that I was outside with those dogs I felt like I was reborn and that was more worth it than any amount of money. I felt like I could breathe again.

The change to veganism drastically improved my health as well. I stopped getting sick as much and maybe this sounds silly, but I feel as though it stopped some of my anxiety too. My panic attacks were rare, and I felt like me again. That’s when I began photographing nature and realizing the importance of her in our lives.

She’s powerful; she is medicine to not only the body but to the mind and soul.

I hug trees and I’m proud because nature restored me and continues to do so each and every day. I love showing my appreciation to her—after all, she is a living, breathing being herself.

I try to do my best to capture some of her magical moments in hopes to inspire others or spark a light within their soul. Nature is everything to me. She’s the greatest healer. There’s this feeling of acceptance and pure peace whenever I am in her presence. I believe in love and kindness, and with her, that’s what I always encounter. She gives, she cares, she is so loving. She’s poetic—the way her light filters through clouds, or the way her trees sway in the wind, she is a work of art.

Every time I walk through the forest I feel as though I am walking home. I come out renewed each time. I dance in the rain, I walk barefoot in the snow, and I let the sun kiss my skin. I fuel my body with fresh fruits and veggies and whole, plant-based foods grown from nature’s soil.

So much of our lives pull us away from nature, from our jobs to our crazy schedules, but to live with her and to connect with her is to know the greatest health and the greatest wealth.
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author: Jessie Belifore

Image: Author's own

Editor: Naomi Boshari