3 Ways to Connect to Nature, No Matter Where You Are
In the yard of one of my childhood homes in New York stood a massive and majestic evergreen tree. I took quite a liking to this tree and forged a friendship with this mighty mama. Each day after school, I scurried the best I could up to the short wooden plank I had placed across a spot where two low branches formed a v-shape to create a seat. On one of the branches, I had tied a string to a bucket to help me hoist up my most prized possessions: my journal, binoculars, and fluffernutter sandwiches. There I sat in my little hideaway each day, decompressing from the hours spent on the playground pretending I was a witch, or a pop star, and learning basic math. It was my favorite spot, but not my only spot. My parents allowed me to wander and explore, jump and climb, and even camp out in our yard on any given night. Regular trips to near by state parks and sanctuaries were a common occurrence in my youth...moments I now realize that I both cherished and took for granted in tandem.
I now find myself far, far from home in the landlocked state of Arizona in a concrete jungle called Tempe, just miles outside of Phoenix. Although the desert possesses its own unique brand of red rocky beauty, I am not personally surrounded by its magic. Friends can often hear me lamenting (okay, whining) about how far I feel from nature and the scenic dirt paths to peaceful rivers, canopied by lush green trees that I once knew so well. I also do a fair bit of complaining about the lack of time I have to explore the natural wonders of my new home.
However, it's not just the aesthetic beauty of home that I miss, but the sensations that communing with nature brings. We are not the only beings who benefit from a strong bond with the natural world. When we feel connected to Earth as a spiritual being Herself, we are more inclined to care for Her and all of Her children. Our relationship to Earth is one of our most precious and overlooked connections we are capable of constructing. It is for this very reason that I have compiled a list of three easy, fun, and centering activities that can be done almost anywhere to help bring us all a little closer to our loving Earth Mother.
Earthing is an ancient practice which has gained more popularity in recent years. This technique simply involves barefoot contact with the Earth, and is most effective when combined with quiet meditation. The result is an incomparable energy exchange, in which you release to the Earth that which no longer serves you, and receive grounding, stabilizing, and recenter energy in return. Because of how we have come to live our lives, Mother Earth has grown lonely. It is important to give love to Earth as She loves you, so remember to express gratitude for the exchange, and to bless Her with your conscious presence and company. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, during an Earthing session, "electrons drawn into the body from the earth neutralize damaging free radicals and by extension reduce disease-related chronic or acute inflammation." So this practice is not just spiritually beneficial, but also physically rewarding! When I was first exposed to the concept of Earthing, I thought that there was just no way that I could partake in this one myself because of where I live, but I quickly remembered that even the within the hectic bustle of New York City lies Central Park. If you can find even a patch of grass near the side of a parking lot, I guarantee that that spot of Earth needs your loving energy and presence just as much as you need it.
The power of crystals is harnessed and utilized every day through technology (like amplifying light in lasers), yet we have somehow been convinced that it is "silly" to believe that they have potent energy on their own. In fact, according to crystal healing experts Simon and Sue Lilly, "Increasingly sophisticated scientific measuring devices are making it clear that our bodies are sensitive to minute fluctuations of any electrical field." When you truly tap into the energy available through crystals, the connection is immediate and obvious. Crystals and stones are each unique, fine fragments of Earth herself that She lovingly births in order to bless us with their power. They are our siblings born from of Mother Earth that we are able to use to connect to Her no matter where we are. By surrounding ourselves with stones that correlate most strongly to Earth energy and the Root Chakra (like Brown Aragonite, Smoky Quartz, Blue Sapphire, and Citrine), we are bestowed with opportunities to know Her more intimately, and feel Her grounding love.
3. Plant Something
Whether you choose simply to pot a house plant or succulents, or you are able to grow a small garden in your yard or neighborhood, this method of connection to Earth is perhaps the most rewarding. You assume many roles through this act--creator of life, witness of growth and transformation, and ambassador between the worlds of humans and Nature. Even if you choose to grow a potted herb garden outside your cramped apartment window in a big city, you are breathing life and introducing Mother Earth back into a place where She has been forgotten. By taking a small step to connect yourself to soil and seed, you are reminded of the process of growth and the patience required in fostering and nurturing a being into life (kind of like you do with yourself everyday!). As I've said before, the relationship between humans and plants is one of divine order....they breathe in what we breathe out, and vice versa. It is a microcosmic example of the beautiful symbiosis that exists between ourselves and Mother Earth...and a gentle reminder that we are one. Planting is our opportunity to connect to Mother Earth and thank Her for all that She bestows us with. Choosing to bring plants into your life is similar to the adoption of a pet (hear me out, man...). You assume responsibility for a gentle being whose sole purpose and desire is to fulfill a divinely designed exchange of love, energy, and companionship with you. Bring plants into your life with that in mind, and set the intention to care for one another.
"Today, I return to Mother Earth, and know that I am fully held in Her loving embrace. I know that I am safe. I love Her as She loves me and I receive all of Her blessings with the deepest gratitude. Our connection restores us both."
Go forth, babes, and bless our Mother and She blesses you! Connect to Her, soul to soul, and feel the peace, balance, and abundance you exchange between you. Namaste. xo