Healing and Nature

I write this today a few days ahead of the massive climate walk-outs being planned this Friday across my country. For the past several weeks we’ve had temperatures in the mid-nineties. I’ve been at a point of panic about our environment and experiencing a bit of hopelessness. Today’s blog is about how I approach these topics in balance with my spiritual life. 

When I first had my experiences of God and light, nature became much more alive to me. I was raised in a culture that disregarded nature. As a child I loved nature but had no language with which to approach it, and eventually stopped noticing it or feeling a part of it. My experience changed all of that. Nature pulsed with the beauty of God. I remember seeing a green aura flash out from a tree right before it toppled over and died while I was visiting my mom in the country. I felt deeply connected to animals, especially after meditating. I even lived in a cabin on 100 acres of woods for several years after my experience. Nature felt like home to me. As I became alive to God, nature became alive to me.

Now I’m learning how to balance my beautiful experiences with God and nature with meaningful action. I do many things personally to mollify myself and my family’s environmental footprint, such as composting, using reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and grocery bags, installing rain barrels to water the garden with, putting out bird and hummingbird feeders to feed our local birds, and planting native plants, to name a few. These things help me feel connected to caring for our planet, but I also feel so alone in them, and not everyone is in a place to take these kinds of actions. We need change on a larger scale to help stem the tide of climate change. We need all businesses on board. We need a shift in our mindset about how we treat and relate to the earth. We need to change the way to get from one place to another. We need to care for our most vulnerable communities.

Climate change is not a judgment from God, but a visible result of actions taken by humans. When I begin to despair about our planet, I try to remember that we can change our course, and that we can do it from a place of love for each other, for the animals, for the plants, and for the planet. Nature needs us, and we need nature. It’s part of why true spiritual awakening on the part of each human is so important. Humans in touch with their true divine nature and living into the unity of all life would not harm the planet or each other for profit. 

How are you feeling about our environment? What actions do you take to live in accord with nature? What’s your favorite experience in nature? I’d love to hear about all of it! Comment below or message me on the contact page.

Nature and Healing

I grew up in the suburbs, right near the mall and a large interstate. There was not much nature in my life, and almost no appreciation of nature. There was little if any effort to connect to nature or the earth, and a mostly “take-take-take” attitude towards the physical bounty around us. There was a beloved Magnolia tree in the neighbor’s front yard that we loved to climb – until we were told it was not safe to climb due to the electrical wires running through it. And that was about it. As a child it seemed that the streets went on forever. There was no idyllic nature. I didn’t even know enough to long for it. It just was not. Nature didn’t exist and didn’t matter.

Having my experience with God greatly shifted my relationship towards the earth. I started noticing trees and the earth more. I wanted to be outside more. After my experience with God, I remember a very strong longing to just go and live in the woods and be one with God. I didn’t know what that meant, but it’s all I felt like doing. Eventually, I did rent a very run-down cabin on some woods for several years after I finished graduate school. I still worked and had friends, but I spent all my down time very alone in the woods. It was not glamorous, but it was very grounded. I had some of the most psychic dreams I’ve ever had in my life while living out there. I spent long hours sitting with the trees and got to know the flora and fauna around me. 

My time with my stepfather also shifted my attitude towards nature greatly. He had a completely different perspective of nature than anyone I’d ever met, which included a holy attitude of reverence for the earth. He taught me so much, by the stories he told, and by his whole being. The earth was a blessing, not something to be used and exploited. 

It has been hard to live in an industrial city where I live now. I long for open fields and forests, but I know my life is supposed to be where I am now. Nature is so grounding and healing. How do I stay in touch with nature? I spend time in our yard and try to garden. I talk to the trees and teach my daughter to talk to them too. I feel them holding us. I feed the birds and keep track of them. And, knowing that it is a privilege to have access to the natural world at all, I do what I can to help others have access to nature, like donating monthly to our local public nature reserve, as well as to national advocacy organizations. 

What do you do to stay in touch with nature? Do you feel it’s important for your healing process? I’d love to hear from you.