Note: The irony of me being on my phone in nature during this video is not lost on me! (+ being interrupted by a call during my video…) the lesson being, of course, switch off that tech in order to soak up the full benefits!)
When you’re stuck in a frustrating loop with yourself…
When it comes to repetitive thoughts and behaviours that are frustrating or anxiety-provoking, or encountering the same dissatisfactions in work and relationships, one way to start changing these is to create some space. Some space within, and around you, in which new, healthier habits can form.
When you’re stuck in the same unsatisfying arguments or patterns, or feeling regular guilt or frustration, it’s usually a sign that something inside you is wanting to be heard, or a core need isn’t being acknowledged.
It can mean that that you’re continuing to act as you believe you ‘should’ act, according to your set ideas and past habits, rather than acting according to your body’s consciousness: i.e. the vital signals that your body is sending you in the here and now.
These actually change, moment by moment, but our minds like to pre-decide what’s going on, without checking in with the rest of ourselves, to see if that’s true! All too often, there is a contradiction between what we’re saying or doing, and what our bodies and intuition are telling us to do, as I discuss in the video below.
It can cause huge suffering, to be disconnected or out of synch between your mind and your present-moment body awareness.
Creating space to find new ways of being, via embodied presence
Creating some space away from the stuckness and tightness of being caught up in your head, and reconnecting with the rest of yourself, is one way to start allowing something new to happen.
Coming into a conscious awareness of your whole self in the present moment – i.e. your body, your sensations, your emotions… whatever is flowing through you and happening in real time – is a wonderful way to create this kind of spaciousness. It allows you to bypass the limiting, repetitive habits of your mind. This takes time and practice, to really feel and sense into it, and experience yourself in a more expansive, integrated and whole way.
The magical power of nature to reconnect you with who you really are, right now
Being in nature is a wonderful way to do this, and to make it easier to get into this kind of conscious, embodied present-moment awareness, that is such a powerful key to reconnecting with what’s really going on for you a deeper level. When you can move beyond your personality habits, roles and fixed identities, and your mind’s ideas about who you take yourself to be, something fresh and more flexible then becomes possible.
Not only can it be ultra-soothing and relaxing for your mind, body and nervous system to take a forest walk; being in nature can also create this space for you to expand your awareness and encounter new ideas, approaches, solutions to problems, new ways of connecting to different parts of yourself, new perspectives on everything.
Bypassing the habits and patterns of your personality, coming from past wounds and future worries
Getting free from your ego mind’s thought loops, and synching up your conscious awareness of your whole self, your body, and also your environment, in the present moment, is such a wonderful way to become more grounded in the truth. – Your truth, your lived experience, as an ever-changing, moment-by-moment reality.
So often, we operate from habits and patterns that were created originally as coping mechanisms, from past wounds and experiences, and from fears of the same things happening again in the future.
You know that feeling when you get annoyed with someone before you’ve even answered the phone to them, because you’ve already decided how annoying they’re going to be?! Or the instant conviction that you’re going to have an entirely bad day, because it’s raining and you’re already late? Those are more benign examples of what I’m talking about, but they take their toll over time.
This the same automated thought-pattern, based on past stressful experiences, that makes you pre-decide you’re going to perform badly, or that you’re not good enough, even before you’ve had a chance to check out if this is really true, in the present moment.
It’s the wounded belief that you’re not worthy of having your deepest needs met. And it’s the same dynamic that leads to repeated suffering and stuckness in life. So often, we are interacting with each other from the deep conditioning of our past, not a present-moment possibility for something entirely new to happen.
When really, the present moment is the only truth there is. However we need to be truly present here and now, in our bodies, in order to come into real contact with that, and feel the truth of it. Away from the stories of the mind.
We may understand this conceptually, but the practice of actually being mindfully aware of yourself and your body in your surroundings, allows you to really live from this place of new possibility. Along with healing work and body work or practices, nature is such a gift, that supports us in doing that in a very practical way.
Reconnecting with your true self, and creating a sanctuary within
The more you can attune to your senses – the sights, sounds, textures of nature, and all the sensations coming from within, the easier it becomes to regularly ‘come home’ to yourself, and create a sense of sanctuary inside of you. Some relief from the incessant chatter of the mind, telling you all the ways you’re falling short, or all the things you should be doing!
Being more often in nature also reminds us that we are connected to the web of life, and that we have the power to destroy, or heal, our planet.
The irony is that our sophisticated minds and egos often tell us ‘it can’t be that easy’, and therefore deny us the opportunity to soak up such simple, powerful healing and regeneration.
Or in desperation, we flee from cities and tech-jungles of a weekend, and demand that a single stomp through nature at high speed heal us of all our ills, right now!
In order to let nature’s healing take its course, we must un-learn all the doing and consuming, and practice ‘merely’ being, in receptive mode, building a new habit and re-wiring our nervous systems, over time.
So if your mind needs more reasons, just take a flick through all the science on forest bathing and happy hormones, and the benefits of seaside air and ocean dipping, or whatever it is your brain needs to be convinced, and then set off into nature for some simple, potent, regenerative spaciousness.
And do this more often than you think you need. You may find it surprisingly healing and liberating.