Remembering the healing power of nature

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to get outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and the Universe. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.” ~Anne Frank

In the dark, cold days of winter, it is easy for me to forget how healing the simple act of being outside in nature can be. We were blessed in this part of the country with a beautiful, warm, sunny day here today. It was a bit cloudy this morning, but by afternoon the skies were an amazing blue and the temperatures were in the upper 70s. What a delight after the long winter of dark, dreary, cold days.

I had moved out to my sun room to write so I could see the outdoors, and from there I could see all the work that needed to be done in the yard. As lovely as the day was, however, I found myself hesitant to head outside.

I spent several hours yesterday at a yoga workshop that focused on shoulders, so I am a bit sore today from the extra attention to that area.

I could also see neighbors out in many of the adjoining yards and was just not in the mood to deal with small talk today.

I didn’t want to get dirty (and the work I needed to do is invariably VERY messy).

The work that needed done was hard, challenging, physically demanding stuff. I’ve gotten lazy from sitting inside all winter and just didn’t want to have to get up off my butt and work.

Excuses, excuses, excuses … I had a whole pile of them.

But the day was so lovely that I couldn’t resist. I finally made my way outside and wound up doing everything I’d planned to do for the day and even more besides. One thing led to another, and my motivation and energy actually increased the longer I worked. And I enjoyed it! It felt good to be outside, it felt good to be accomplishing things, it felt good to see the yard start to come back to life again from the result of my efforts. It did indeed leave me as messy as I’d feared it would, but I came inside with much more energy than I’d had when I headed out. I accomplished more with the rest of my evening than I normally would have.

It was a good reminder to me of two things. First, I need to make that extra effort to get outside more often when the weather allows for it. Even when I am afraid that my neighbors might talk to me. (Actually a couple of them did talk to me today, but they kept it to brief greetings, so it didn’t kill me.) Even when I’m afraid it might make me dirty or might involve hard work. I need to remember how much better I felt when I was done today than I did when I started. It’s worth the dirt and the labor and even the risk of neighbors talking to me. Just being outside in nature really is healing and inspiring and calming. It brings me back to a sense of being grounded.

Second, it reminds me of how often I feel better for having done something I thought I didn’t want to do. When I know I need to complete a task and keep putting it off for whatever reason, it drains my energy. I invariably feel better once it’s done. Not only is it no longer hanging over my head, the sense of accomplishment that comes from having it done is an enormous energy and confidence boost. I noticed it with the work I did today, but the same thing has also happened several times recently when I’ve tackled some job (like my taxes) that I really didn’t want to deal with. Often getting one thing like that done spurs me on to tackle even more tasks on my list, and it winds up snowballing into a most productive session. All it takes is that first step to get one thing done for the rest to fall into place.

How easily I forget that. I’ve got a backlog of things on my to-do list that I’d like to get done. Maybe if I can keep remembering to take that first step to tackle one thing at a time each chance I have, I’ll get that list wiped out before I know it. Between that and remembering to get outside more often, I’m thinking this may be a great year for my yard!

A Note on Comments: A chrysalis is by nature a very fragile place, and it takes a good deal of vulnerability to share this personal journey of transformation so openly. Therefore, I need this to be a safe place for exploration and sharing for me and for my readers. Comments sharing your own journey, even if your experience is different from mine, are always welcome and encouraged. Expressions of support or encouragement are also welcome. Comments that criticize, disparage, correct, or in any way attempt to undermine the validity of another person’s experience or personal insight—or the expression of that experience or insight—are NOT welcome here and will be deleted.