Whether a short walk among trees casting their soft shadows, or more extended treks requiring evolved survival skills, nature nourishes us within so many aspects of our Being. Sitting quietly in nature brings a serenity, a soothing that speaks directly to our cells and can bring forth a sense of infinity from within our heart. The breath and dance of leaves communing from their trees, the sweet scent of beaming flowers, the soft, subtle messages we receive from a babbling brook or the majestic beauty and wisdom emanating from a mountain range.
For those who might not experience nature on a regular basis, there is such delight in the simplicity of going barefoot in a grassy environment. It can be your front or back yard. In the warmer weather, a few minutes of removing shoes and socks and gently moving your feet to and fro on the grass can be so refreshing and rejuvenating. Breathe and feel your connection to Mother Earth/Gaia. Energy will surely emanate into your body.
Our lakes within the Twin Cities offer blessings as jewels. These beautiful bodies of water produce negative ions and can also stimulate the release of endorphins within the brain. A visit to the Minnehaha waterfall, located in Minnehaha Park in southeast Minneapolis, will dowse you with the goodness of negative ions. Experience an enchanted domain of old-growth towering trees walking the path alongside Minnehaha Creek between Lake Harriet and 50th. Discover a meditation listening into the wisdom of these elder spirits. From within our hearts, we can find healing reverence among these natural treasures.
My personal life-changing awareness through a trek into nature began about two years ago with subtle whisperings of a calling to mountains. Without much clarity on these inner indications, I had a knowing that listening very attentively would be wise. “Signs” came forth as auspicious and synchronistic encounters: photos and paintings of mountain regions and then a personal invitation from a friend to visit his cabin retreat atop a mountain in Bonner, Montana. Bonner is a small town about 10 miles east of Missoula, and the mountaintop little cabin is another 12 miles by highway and then three miles up a winding, narrow rural road to this dreamscape of magnificent visual panorama. Unaware at the time, I was heading into the deepest and most profound spiritual trek of my life, into nature.
The experience of not having the modern convenience of running water sobers a city person quickly. The use of an outhouse brings about much appreciation for those who pioneered the way for modern life. I was exhilarated in the natural setting of big sky and crisp clean air in early September in Montana. Through a network of friends, I received an offering to visit a small straw-bale construction dwelling in the Jocko River Canyon area 30 miles north of Missoula, should I decide to return.
Upon arriving back home in the Twin Cities, I very quickly came to the conclusion that I desired an extended time for solitude in the mountains. Less than a month later, I set out to return for what became a four-month delving into the silence of nature and listening into precious cherished teachings from within the Jocko River and the towering wall of stately solemn mountains. Insight from the flowing water, as well as the sacred geometry of swirls created by river rocks, transmitted eloquently within my early morning meditations. It was a sensory experience of Oneness, experiencing feelings that can be rarely known except perhaps by way of the most inspired poetry, music, dance and fine art. My immersion into nature struck deep chords of a resonant harmonic that speaks as spirit: we are all connected in interdependent ways. It had been nothing short of love as Love herself — nature, teaching an essence of Being.
Come and be in nature, however the calling might feel good for you. Whether simple or robust in your approach, the communing is of healing and listening into that which speaks the language of your soul.