Every time I put my feet in the sand and hear the calming sound of the sea, every time I walk through the green lush forest and smell the sweet wet wood, a calmness is coming over me. I feel deeply connected to myself, to what is important to me, and sometimes even to my higher purpose.
Do you recognise feeling more connected when in nature?
You’ve been struggling with so many thoughts for days that your head almost explodes. Then you go out for a walk in nature and in no time your head clears up. We immediately promise ourselves to take walks more often, but after two times we forget all about it 😉
Make a conscious walk in nature without your phone, kids or other distractions. Preferably barefoot! Become aware of your surroundings, the rain drops on your skin, the wind through your hair, the sight of all those green lush plants around you, the sound of the birds high up in the tree, the feeling of your bare feet on the soil and the sweet scent of wild flowers. You can do this by yourself or with a group and a forest bathing guide. Eefje Ludwig from The Forest Bathing Circle is a very knowledgeable forest guide.
2. MEDITATING IN NATURE
When we meditate in nature, we become part of this realm of wisdom. Studies found that being in nature enhances our meditative state. Mindworks is a non-profit organisation that provides guidance and training in meditation practice. You can download their free app here.
Get your hands dirty! Gardening – especially with your bare hands – is good for the mind, body and soul. Sow wild flower seeds in your garden, create a beautiful green balcony or a tiny edible garden or take some plant cuttings and bring them inside.
4. NATURE RETREAT
During a Nature Purpose Retreat you fully recharge in nature and at the same time you dive deep in your inner wisdom and explore your purpose, your challenges and your next steps. Junglebirds organise Purpose Retreats in the beautiful wild nature of Portugal.
5. TRANSFORMATION QUEST
Are you up for some profound connection with nature? Join a Transformation Quest and immerse yourself in the wild for a couple of days and nights, without food, phone or other distractions. We organise these – on the traditional indigenous vision quest – inspired transformation quests in the beautiful wild nature of Portugal.
How nature can help you heal and reconnect with yourself
The need to grow is in people’s nature; developing themselves and being compassionate towards others. But in our hectic (digital) lives we can lose connection with our true nature.
Every day we struggle with thousands of stimulants and seductions. This makes us react continuously; consuming and striving for financial growth. In this constant endeavour for more, we can lose our empathy. We can lose our contact with nature. We can lose ourselves.
We work too hard, have busy social lives, we have children with all kinds of needs and we run to the gym to keep ourselves ‘fit’. At the end of the day we feel stressed and exhausted. We cope with the stress by drinking alcohol, eating too much or binge watching series. Then we go to bed too late and wake up tired with a headache. We take a few aspirins and start all over again.
Results of disconnection with nature
After a while we feel tired all the time, we get feelings of depression and our body refuses to go on. Our doctor gives us a description or the phone number of a psychologist. This often results in the label: BURNOUT.
Only then we start to realise we need to change. We’ve lost our energy, our love for life and the connection with ourselves. And we don’t know how to retrieve it.
Therefore it’s super important that we make time to spend in nature. Actually, that we make a habit of it. I’ll guarantee you, if you consciously spend time in nature on a regular basis, you’ll be surprised how much you benefit from it!
By restoring our connection with nature, we restore our connection with our own true nature.
It seems we forgot the importance of nature
We lost sight of how beneficial it is for us to spend time in nature. We live or work in a big city and sit inside behind the computer all day. And when we come home, other screens lie in wait to seduce us. We barely spend time outdoors and we hardly have any knowledge of our natural surroundings.
Along the way we’ve forgotten the power of nature.
British research showed:
33 percent of people can’t recognise an oak tree
25 percent of children believe that lions and crocodiles currently live wild in the UK
33 percent of parents say they don’t have enough knowledge about wildlife to pass on to their children
With thedigital representation of reality becoming more and more part of our lives, we tend to forget the importance of nature and how we could benefit from it.
The wisdom of nature is endless:
1. Nature provides medicine
A lot of medicine were derived from natural sources such as trees, plants, bacteria, and fungi. Did you know that antibiotics, codeines, aspirin and morphine all were extracted from trees? The bark, leaves, fruits and seeds of trees have been used for eras as medicinal remedies for cancers, asthma and other diseases.
2. Connecting with nature improves our health
It’s scientifically proven that spending time in nature helps us to:
cope with pain better
reduce our blood pressure, blood glucose levels, muscle tension, heart rate and production of stress hormones.
increase our work memory performance, antioxidant level and inflammation
boost our immune system.
produce NK cells in our body that fight cancer cells
Walking barefoot – also known as earthing or grounding – in nature especially is beneficial. Studies are showing that the health benefits come from the relationship between our body and the electrons in the earth. Reconnection with these electrons has been found to promote intriguing physiological changes and subjective reports of well-being.
3. Nature improves our mood
Nature has an enormously positive effect on our mood. Nature can reduce feelings of anger, fear, anxiety and depression and increases feelings of belonging and meaningfulness.
4. Nature inspires innovation
By observing nature, we can find solutions to human problems and inspiration for new inventions. This is what Biomimicry deals with. One of the many examples of design imitating nature is velcro: this invention is inspired by the clinging of burdock burrs on clothes.
5. Nature sparks creativity
Spending time in nature can reboot our mental system. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, just twenty minutes a day outside is all you need in order to allow your brain to reboot. When we give our brain and mind a new (6D) perception of the world, it stimulates our creativity.
6. Nature helps us reconnect with ourselves and our purpose
If you reconnect with nature, you reconnect with your own true nature – and the other way around. Research showed that when people have a sense of purpose in life they are more likely to live longer and healthier. Being aligned with what is truly important to you can also make you feel happier and more motivated.
The healing power of nature
Before we start talking about healing, it’s good to get an understanding of what it means.
The Oxford Languages Dictionary says: “The process of making or becoming sound or healthy again.” And yet curing means: “Relieve (a person or animal) of the symptoms of a disease or condition.”
This is an important distinction. Shaman and Ph.D. Alberto Villoldo believes that when you have a serious (chronic) disease, you need to go to a Western doctor to cure you from your symptoms. For instance when you have a tumour in your body or you’ve been bitten by a snake.
But when you want to heal, a different process is needed. You need a bigger, more holistic view to know why you became ill and what you can do to prevent it in future.
This doesn’t mean it’s your fault when you become sick or that you can heal every disease yourself. It means it could be a good idea – after having a doctor examining your physical condition – to also look at your mental, emotional and spiritual condition, as they are all connected.
Alberto Villoldo spent more than 30 years with Indigenous people in the Amazon. In his book Grow Your New Body he explains that in the West doctors and hospitals ‘flourish’ and earn money when people are sick.
This is in contrast to Indigenous cultures in which the medicine man is seen as doing a lousy job when people get sick. It’s an interesting perspective.
When I’m talking (or writing in this case) about the healing power of nature, I’m talking about the process of becoming healthy in a broader perspective; on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. Nature can play an important role in this.
Apart from all the physical benefits, nature also has a huge impact on our well being. Nature enables us to reconnect with ourselves and our life’s purpose. And research has shown when we make a meaningful difference we feel happier and more fulfilled.
So hereby a few more reasons to go outdoors!
6 ways nature helps us reconnect with ourself:
1. THERE IS LESS DISTRACTION IN NATURE
When we walk in nature we usually face little distractions. No computer, video, advertising boards, shop windows, buses or traffic lights. You’re less distracted by the triggers of the outside world, which makes it easier to go inwards.
2. OUR SENSES ARE FULLY AWAKENED IN NATURE
In contradiction to our mind, our body and senses are always in the present. The warm sun on our body, the amazing beauty of a butterfly; in nature our senses awaken and make us present. By tuning in on our senses we are able to reduce the volume of our inner thoughts. We go from a state of ‘doing’ and ‘thinking’ into a state of ‘being’. And being in the present enables us to go inwards and connect with our inner wisdom. This way we make use of the wisdom of nature.
3. NATURE DOESN’T JUDGE
Everything and everyone in nature is accepted for what they are; a huge tree, a tiny tomato, a prickly hedgehog, a grey mouse, a black sheep, a red rose. There are no judgements. This helps us to connect with ourselves without judgement as well.
4. EVERYTHING IN NATURE HAS A NATURAL RHYTHM
Nothing and no one is in a hurry. Everything and everyone in nature moves at its natural pace. Nature invites us to move in our own natural way as well. Just like it’s supposed to be.
5. YOU CAN’T CONTROL NATURE
The rain, falling leaves, the cold temperature: it’s just what it is. We know we can’t change it so we accept it. When you stop fighting and resisting and start accepting, the thoughts and emotions in your head can fly away or just be. This creates space to connect with what is underneath or behind all that.
6. WE’RE PART OF NATURE
All living things in nature are in one way or the other connected, they all depend on each other for their existence and well-being. Us humans are part of nature and nature is a part of us. That can make us feel ‘whole’ when we are in nature.
If you want to heal; get in touch with yourself; your inner wisdom and your higher purpose, reconnecting with nature is a great medicine. In my free e-book Discover Your Purpose I give you more insights on how to reconnect with your purpose.
Two month ago our yurt was devastated by a huge forest fire. I’m still very grateful that we’re all safe and my husband and our 6 year old son could save some of our emotional belongings.
I was doing groceries for our son’s Birthday party (at least we had ingredients to bake a cake!) at the time. I just came back in time to get him away from the helicopters and the fire he was making vivid pictures of with my old phone.
In the weeks after I went through feelings of pain, unfairness, angriness and confusion. Although it was sometimes hard to give myself permission to experience these feelings as I had people in my close environment suffering from much bigger losses.
And for years I worked closely with refugees who lost much more than their home. Who was I to complain? Soon I discovered those thoughts and feelings didn’t help me heal.
Reconnect with your true purpose
In the past months I guided more than 20 people on their journey to reconnect with their true purpose. A journey full of overcoming obstacles, fears and limiting beliefs. A journey full of discovery, growth, transformation and joy.
The most important for me in these coaching’s is to give people the tools to write their own story, to dream their own world into being. No matter how impossible it seems.
Creating the life you want to live
Now I’m challenged myself to keep on creating the life I want to live. Instead of letting fear and security rule. I try to do that by being in the present moment.
Like Eckart Tolle says: there’s only the NOW. The future is only an extended NOW. So you can only be present and make sure you’re okay with being in the NOW. And create the life you want to live right NOW. And then before you know it the future is NOW.
The fire made me humble and taught me some great lessons.
Hereby I’d like to share with you these 7 lessons I learned about healing and transformation:
1. you create your own reality.
You can’t control the elements in life. You can only live in harmony with it and go with the flow. What you CAN control are your feelings, your thoughts, your words and your actions. They create your reality.
2. Be in the present moment.
My son doesn’t focus on what he had before or what he won’t have in future. He only focuses on what is there. One hour after the fire in which his home and toys burned, he asked: “Mom, are you still gonna bake me a cake?”
3. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling.
Talk to people that really listen. Hold space for your feelings and let them be there. Cry, scream, do whatever you need.
4. Don’t play the comparison game.
Don’t compare your own problems/trauma with others. No person’s suffering can be measured against any other person’s suffering.
We all experience stress and trauma differently.
If you downplay what happened to you, you suppress your feelings. This could make them stronger. Think of what happens when you push a ball under water… It comes back up with force.
If you on the other hand make it bigger or hold on to the pain, it will become bigger and harder to heal.
5. Become conscious of what you focus on.
I can very vividly visualise our home, our perfect bed and the soft sheets on it, Mika jumping out of his selfmade tree house bed yelling: I am awaaaaaake! I hear the birds waking me up in the morning, the smell of the blossoming flowers, the sun on my skin… And then I miss it so much it hurts.
Therefore in the first two weeks when it was still painful I didn’t focus on that all day. And I learned through NLP to ‘change the movie’ I was looking at, so it could transform feelings of pain in feelings of bittersweet memories of joy, love and gratitude.
6. Practise being grateful.
Although it might feel you have nothing left to be grateful for, it can help you to practise being grateful for what is still there. Gratitude rewires your brain, which leads to an overall increase in well-being, making you more positive, stronger and more resilient to stress.
This podcast gives some amazing insights on what being grateful can do for your health.
7. Write your own story.
Don’t let other people or circumstances write your story. If people say to you: “Oooh no that’s so horrible what happened to you, you must feel…” Decide for yourself how you feel, write your own story, one that helps you and gives meaning to your life.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These are tips for people that experienced ‘trauma’ themselves and are open to discover and heal. So not for family and friends, from my experience they can better avoid advising. It’s so much more important and valuable to LISTEN and ASK how you can help.
Do you also like to change the movie you’re playing in or looking at?