I was on a ceremonial group hike in Pt. Reyes, California, led by a shaman. I was searching for answers. Searching for relief from my mysterious symptoms that I have been dealing with for over 20 years.
Yearning for healing and knowing that the answers were more encompassing than just focusing on my physical body.
As a pharmacist, my training had focused on the physical body and using pharmaceuticals to change the chemistry in your body to alter symptoms. This methodology however, did not get to the root cause of issues, only masked symptoms.
I was working as a clinical pharmacist in a large teaching hospital and felt like my body was broken. I would come home after a shift and collapse on the floor, too fatigued to even walk my dog around the block and knew that something was wrong with me.
In order to change the situation in my life, I had to make some huge changes – so I moved across the country, started working with practitioners and healers who helped me tap into my own innate healing abilities, pivoted my career so that it was more holistically focused which better aligned with my passions, and started having a real paradigm shift in the way that I saw the world.
The shaman passed around a ceremonial pipe full of tobacco to cleanse the energy and said a few words. We started on the hike, and collectively, the group decided to take the path less traveled… in fact it wasn’t a path at all, but wild brush at an extremely steep angle. Although much more intense than taking a path that was already carved out, this was the path that we needed to take today, and the group knew it.
As I started up the steep incline, I thought, “What do I need right now? Should I eat a snack to make sure I have the stamina for this hike? Should I drink more water?”
I was searching for things I might need in order to make sure I would be OK. “You already have everything that you need inside of you” I heard, or felt. I don’t really know how to describe it, it was just a deep knowing that I felt and heard repeatedly throughout the hike.
I realized that this was a theme of my entire life and my entire healing process. I have everything that I need inside of me. My body has an incredible innate ability to heal and I don’t need to desperately search for answers outside of myself – doing so had been leaving me feeling like a victim- somebody who was not capable.
We continued hiking straight up foraging our own path through rough brush and stopped in a clearing to rest and take a break. I was hit with intense emotion as I looked around at the nature surrounding me and realized how I had been taking nature for granted in my life. I started tearing up.
As a child, I used to play in the dirt and spend time outdoors as long as I could, really paying attention to details of my surroundings and being in the present moment. I had this epiphany that I really hadn’t cherished nature in that same way since then – since I was a child.
I just lived my day-to-day life mostly indoors without fully respecting my natural surroundings.
The trees that give us oxygen to breathe. The healing natural waters in our environment. The clean air that oxygenates our body. The earth below our feet that grounds us.
“Nature will heal you“ I heard and felt in my body. “Just go into nature and be. That is all that you need.”
Once again I realized that the answers were not outside of myself. It wasn’t really me going into nature but me realizing that I AM nature- we all are!
I already have everything I need. Just be in nature, be one with it and you will be healed.
Before this hike, my body had been in so much pain. I almost canceled the hike because my body hurt so much the day before and I didn’t know if I would have the energy to complete it. Yet something interesting happened during the hike.
I felt energized. The hike felt effortless. It was as if the trees were giving me their energy and helping me along the way, pushing me up and pulling me along as if it was taking no effort on my part to climb the steep terrain.
We hiked straight up, forging our own path for about two hours. The men I was hiking with were over 6 feet tall and they were scraped up from the brush, bleeding and with various cuts. Some had torn shirts, some had brushed up against poison oak. They looked pretty rough!
Yet, I was completely unscathed and felt energized when perhaps I should have felt completely exhausted.
As a pharmacist and health coach, I can give you plenty of information on how to heal. I can educate you about pharmaceuticals and supplements, help you change your lifestyle patterns to optimize your sleep routine and morning routine, help you address emotions, mentor you on creating a healing mindset, support you in making nutritional changes, and so much more. Today though, I want to focus on how nature can heal you.
Remember, we ARE nature and nature (your own body!) will heal you.
There are many aspects of nature that provide healing. The one I will focus on today is sunshine.
Sunshine can boost our mood! Ever hear of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? That’s where you feel down during winter months, when there is less exposure to sunlight. I know I definitely noticed a difference in my mood during dark cold winter months when I lived in Michigan, compared to the sunny California weather I moved to. Your mood and mindset make a big difference in your healing experience.
Sunlight allows our body to synthesize Vitamin D which among many other functions in our body, supports our immune system.
Being exposed to sunlight (especially first thing in the morning) sets our circadian rhythm so our body knows when it is day time and when it is time to sleep. This can make a huge impact on our quality of sleep -which is so important for healing.
So get out and appreciate the natural surroundings you have today! And enjoy the healing that is taking place in your body – naturally.