Recalibrate A Restless Mind In Nature
I was stuck in traffic the other morning, listening to music and sipping coffee. Suddenly, I noticed a little swirl of chaos sweeping across the vehicles around me. Other drivers were getting so angry, flippin' birds, throwing language, swerving between lanes, and speeding up to red lights. I know this is a common scene for most modern roads during the morning commute, but I felt compelled to ask: Where is the anger really coming from? Stress? Personal endeavors? How are we so disconnected?
Life can be a lot to deal with, and the world keeps turning regardless of how well we juggle it. How many times do you find yourself saying, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”? You’d like to slow down, but can’t. You want to accomplish more, but get stuck in ruts or held up with past hiccups. There are things you want to do, but find reasons not to. Answers you’d like to know, but don’t ask the questions.
Instead, everything whirls around in the mind without a place to settle. It interrupts a few moments of quiet. It talks during movies. & it conflicts with your heart, causing constant anxiety, doubt, or friction.
If any of the above sounds familiar, this simple practice is for you.
There is abundance & freedom in nature. An ebb and flow entirely its own. One that doesn’t mind old resentments, current flaws, or even the idea of time as the human mind perceives it. This is the perfect space to come to terms with all that you want to put to rest and start anew. A few (HUGE) things happen when you take a couple of moments to tap into this energy. Get ready to ignite significant change in your life!
1) Become present in the moment.
Take an hour to walk in your favorite park, stop by the shoreline, or sit on your porch. Wherever you feel safe. After a couple breaths of fresh air your mind will slow down and your body will follow. What comes to the front of your thoughts? Is it tension? Heartache? Frustration? Fatigue?
Let it be and allow yourself to feel it. Then ask what is truly causing it? Defining the source of your emotions and symptoms is a powerful tool to review patterns in your life. The grounding effects encourage you to flow through your emotions, sorting and releasing them in a healthy way. This helps you to be less distracted and less likely to feel them hanging over you.
Take a moment to be grateful that you have another day ahead of you and the power to make changes where you want to.
2) Engage in abundance, light, and beauty.
With practice, you will awaken a deeper connection to the sunshine, the breeze, and the life happening all around you. Mother Earth is a prime example of abundance. While growing in gratitude, your mind will learn to focus less on things that drain your energy as it is too busy being refreshed by things that supply your creativity and happiness. This will begin to replace anxious responses with proactive, healthy ones.
3) Sync with healing energy.
As simple as it may sound, just being outdoors and taking in a little sunshine every day stimulates healing energy. Many studies have been conducted to illustrate healing effects that nature has in store for the mind and body. Ocean water and salty air are known for cleansing the body and spirit. Sunshine directly correlates with the human “happy” hormone: serotonin. Contact with the Earth via walking barefoot also stimulates the release of this chemical. I’m not saying we have to go on a Walkabout to achieve this, but a little dirt never hurt anyone!
4) Let your imagination elevate.
Often, we don’t allow ourselves much time for creative critical thinking because we write it off as ‘daydreaming’ or a waste of productivity. However, we are each uniquely wired with creativity. Connecting to that creativity empowers new perspectives for problem-solving. Giving yourself a little time to reflect, organize your thoughts, and settle down allows for your creativity to flow. You may find solutions that are even more efficient than current ones.
5) Listen to your heart when it speaks up.
Once you’ve processed your setbacks, the real matters of the heart may well come front & center. This can be sort of scary sometimes. We don’t always want to see the things that are really bothering us. It can mean facing real doubts, impossible expectations for ourselves or others, or acknowledging that we are forcing something that is not meant to be.
Anxiety and restlessness are commonly misinterpreted as side effects to work stress. But tuning out your heart can cause much discomfort, disconnection, and lead to the same overwhelming feelings. There is a reason your attention keeps coming back to the issue. Believe in yourself and your ability to tend to the matter. Listen with curiosity and openness and logically place yourself in a position to follow what it’s telling you.
6) Concentrate on intuitive logic.
Speaking of logic, all this nature-centered meditation and woo-woo actually improves your logical functioning. With practice, your focus is refreshed, your emotions settle, and your intentions are clear. This allows you to step into the rest of the day with a renewed capacity for outside stressors and an increased flexibility to work through them.
7) Let it be a process, not a quick-fix.
With a handful of circumstances that can immediately change, most take time to improve. One day of practice may help you feel amazing all day or even refuel you for an entire week. But the lasting changes are implemented with consistent nurturing and growth. Find what speaks to you the most, what time of day you enjoy the most, and the place you can make sacred for this time to yourself. Take notes from nature’s cycles of healing, blooming, and harvesting. There is a time for beginnings and a time for things to transform.
The more you give, the more you will receive. Your general peace of mind will continue to improve, reflecting in your work, home, and relationships. You never know what doors may open if you don't take time to look for them!