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December 14, 2021

The Benefits of Nature Therapy: How the Trees help us Grieve.

“Nature is visible Spirit; Spirit is invisible nature.”Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

 

It was slightly after twilight when I decided to stop and connect with the trees in the woods. 

I’ve made it into a ritual when I need to rest and dialogue with nature.

I move slowly as my senses sharpen and awaken with the darkness of night, finally making its way home.

I feel heaviness in my heart. I recently opened a new chapter where I stripped away from a one-and-a-half-year relationship and a home I’ve nested in to prepare for a new journey and experience.

I’ve tended to kali-ma the sh*t out of situations to feel myself fully again.

When I start to be stagnant, I feel slow-cooking claustrophobia. I attempt to keep the container together while juggling this version of me that needs to move to the beat of her own drum.

The challenges I put myself in, sometimes unnecessarily, pull me away from going inward. Before I know it, I am lost in the thick, dense forest of overwhelm and needing reprieve, needing to sense myself once again.

After years of engaging in relationships, I am receiving translucid insight on this pattern around this unbalanced act.

The fall air feels a tinge warm, as it hasn’t rained in days. I throw on an off-white soft like fur jacket, unzipped, on top of my day clothes, just enough to keep me feeling comfortable and cozy. My arms gently sway, and there’s a softness in my hips as I walk.

Finishing up work giving massages at a spa, I feel filled with a satisfying peace in helping others get more in touch with their bodies and selves.

Yet, I’m tired, moving slow, and need to discharge a sadness I’ve been carrying.

As I touch the entrance to the park, I place my hand on a massive redwood tree and lean in. As if it’s one of my most trusted companions whose sturdy body can hold me, I begin my silent greeting with the tree.

I lean in, even more, knowing I can test its strength and be reminded of the feeling of having something, like this ancient giant, be there for me. Be there to listen.

I believe in the power of nature.

Even though it doesn’t have two eyes, two ears, and a mouth, it takes it all in and speaks its own language. It is a subtle yet powerful communicator. The trees are my friends. Welcoming me, I push back and decide to continue walking down the path.

It gets even more visually black as I quietly, slowly, and purposefully walk deeper into the woods. I like to feel how I can silently press my feet onto the soft, fallen leaves now turned into the new surface of the wood floor. I don’t want to be heard or seen. No doubt people make homes out of these massive hollowed trunks, and I don’t want to stir any attention in my direction.

All I want is to sit in the dark and listen.

I walk a few more steps and find a tree that seems higher off the path. I track slightly off the trail to climb up a small hump of earth to crouch behind a massive redwood. Placing my hand gently to its surface, I close my eyes and exhale.

This is one of the ways I can take all the noise and bustle from the day, from the stories, plans, thoughts inside my mind and transform it into fuel for my soul. It’s like stretching out space for the pause to play in between the beat of a drum. Without that pause, the rhythm isn’t quite there.

As I reflect on how I have functioned in a relationship, I feel into the uncertainty of everything, shifting perspective around the pressure of all the shoulds and coulds I place on myself and my loved ones.

When I make the boundaries I need, I feel pressure slowly release.

I finally take up the space, and the ticking of a future time stops. I sense the dance of change. My legs are wobbly, and the music is slightly muffled. It can be incredibly painful and uncomfortable sometimes, and I question how I went about making the changes I needed.

I sit and feel as this tree is going nowhere—it is my rooted counsel.

I can commune and bond, knowing that it will sit with me. There’s always this shift in energy right when I enter the domain of the old and mystical woods. The way these tall, individual trees are close to each other creates an open house. The sounds within the forest feel like it’s softly echoing in a padded enclosure. The trickling of the creek is so clear as crystals of water are newly formed and are making their first sounds for ears to hear.

As all the movement settles around the decisions I’ve made, these moments in nature open my heart a bit wider and offer an altar to support the release of heaviness from my mind. I want to tap in and sense a depth untouched that is centered so exquisitely within like a dark cave.

I need a reset, and so, here I am.

One of my daily gigs is finding the courage to receive the lessons of what’s going on unconsciously. That comes bubbling up to the surface, playing out in everyday life. And as much as it hurts to roll with the tumbleweeds of chaotic change I’ve created for me to see, it’s relieving to have opportunities to become accountable and participate in the journey of seeking clarity and resolution. The stronger the desire to expose our blind spots and make a connection to ourselves, the more we receive access to greater discernment.

When I cry and lean into that tree as if it is consoling me with its quiet presence, I feel a subtle pleasure start to sing itself alive. I feel more here and less numb. I don’t have all the answers to why I do what I do.

My deep soul desires entangle with how my fears shape me. I don’t want to make fear into the bad guy, as it can serve its purpose, but shedding the skin of closing off to life out of uncertainty is like staying inside all day when the warm, nourishing sun is shining. 

I want to explore the unknown and learn more about the hidden aspects of my nature, the rhythms of how my body speaks to me.

I want to build a more robust communication bridge with myself and the people I care for, especially when my limitations and fears challenge me.

I want to meet myself where I am and honor that.

As I sit bonding with this tree, now invisible to my eyes but soft to the touch, I feel held by grace. I take a big inhale and am ready to move. I know when I step foot into the realm of the trees, they will help me.

There isn’t anything to do, process, or think once I reach a point of touching the edges of my center—just a big, deep breath, reverence to presence, and a satiating taste of elemental magic.

~

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