Connecting with Nature for Recalibration

11.05.22
Connecting with Nature for Recalibration

How does connecting with nature allow us to recalibrate and reset? What knowledge can we learn from the natural world? 

Our fast-paced society and dense urban spaces can encourage active and invigorating energy; however, they can also be over-stimulating and depleting. Constant stimulation puts the brain and body into overdrive and may leave us craving time in the calm, quiet outdoors. Nature’s energy has a powerful way of balancing and recalibrating our bodies and minds while sharing the wordless wisdom of the natural world. 

The Lessons of Nature

We carry the memories of evolution in our DNA. Since the beginning of this evolution, plants and humans have co-evolved to support each other on this strange and wonderful journey. Due to our constant crossing of paths, plants often guide our experiences, providing symbolism that mirrors our way of life. This partnership reflects why we find peace in connecting with nature. 

Slow Growth

Plants have taught us how to survive, thrive, and support ourselves. When observing nature, this highly influential lesson bubbles to the surface: grow slow. Plants and trees are intentional in every stage of growth. They follow the slow rhythms of nature, growing with strength and vitality each spring, and savoring energy in their roots when winter descends. 

This slow-moving dance, from seed to adult, provides the plants with strong, intentional roots, and the chemical make-up to support and protect themselves against predators or natural complications (like drought). Spending time connecting with nature encourages us to slow down and simply be. It calibrates our minds and attention, bringing us into the present moment. When we cease thoughts about the past or future and focus only on our direct space, peace comes easily. 

The Importance of Community

Being in nature reminds us about the importance of community. If you step into a small forest, you’ll quickly notice the ecosystem’s lush diversity. Although plants and trees don’t have an audible way of speaking with each other, they’re still communicating. 

Under the ground, a fungal network system, called mycelium, connects the roots of plants and trees. Through electrical pulses and the exchange of nutrients, these plants speak. For example, if a plant isn’t receiving enough light, it may send signals for the other surrounding plants to grow taller and faster so they can receive more sunlight.  

Nature is a supportive community. Observing these subtle communal examples reminds us that we’re a part of something bigger. Since plants support our growth, it’s equally important to be a conscious member of our natural communities as it is to be active in our fellow human communities.

Plants are Givers

Connecting with nature empowers us to recognize the giving energy of plants and trees. Their fruit provides us with food, their flowers bring us joy, and their metabolism provides us with the precious, life-giving fuel: oxygen. 

Even with their selfless, giving nature, plants never ask for repayment. However, when we respect and minimize our impact on the natural world, there is harmonious balance. They give, we receive, and vice versa. Giving is a simple task when abundance is everywhere. Surrounding ourselves with plants and trees helps us recognize this abundance so we’re also able to give peacefully. 

Connecting with Nature through Plants

Regardless of where you’ve chosen to live, there are a number of ways you can implement the ritual of connecting with nature.

If you’re navigating a city, we encourage you to “find your natural place” and become a regular. Nature and environmental centers, parks, and community gardens are excellent locations to fill up on nature. Creating a routine with one area will encourage you to find nuance with each visit. Slowing down, recognizing the smaller communities and ecosystems that thrive in a city park, and expressing gratitude for natural gifts will all help you feel connected to nature. 

Growing hearty herbs on or by your windowsill is also a fulfilling way to stay in touch with nature while in the city. Kitchen herbs like thyme, rosemary, basil, and oregano can all thrive in an indoor/small outdoor environment, as long as they have plenty of light. House plants like spider plants, jade plants, and peace lilies are easy to maintain and can be monumental for mental and physical health. House plants clean the air, while providing an influx of oxygen and natural energy in your space. 

Simple Fall Wildcrafting

Fall’s a beautiful time to immerse yourself in nature by gathering and connecting with herbs. Harvesting herbs from the garden or setting out to forage wild herbs are both ways to spark the energy of nature within.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus

A sturdy, aromatic, evergreen herb that thrives well into the fall months and only stops growing when frost arrives. Rosemary’s a lovely addition to any well-being, aromatherapy routine as research has shown that it can boost memory, increase energy, and support brain health. It’s even demonstrated an affinity for hair regrowth. You’ll mostly find this spikey, hardy herb thriving in gardens where sprigs can be snipped, dried, and added to a flavorful cold weather recipe.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Bright, delightful calendula. A gift from the sun and an immediate skin-soother. Calendula’s another garden-dweller whose colorful blooms last into the Fall months. The florets can be used dry or fresh and an oil infusion does wonders for puffy, red, and sensitive skin.  

Rosehips (Rosa spp.

With cold temperatures on the rise, rosehips are magical allies during this time of year. Rosehips are packed full of vitamin C and don’t take much effort to wildcraft. They can be used in teas (for an immune-supporting boost), jellies, and oils as their dense fatty acid content, antioxidants, and vitamins moisturize and encourage skin regeneration. 

Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) 

Delicious and health-enhancing, Sambucus nigra or black elderberries make a show-stopping syrup that boosts the immune response and keeps bugs at bay during winter. You can find elder shrubs in woodlands, hedgerows, and disturbed areas, just be sure to forage blue or black elderberries, and dry or cook them before consuming. Take care as raw elderberries contain cyanide and can be toxic when eaten. 

A regional plant ID book is a useful resource when learning how to wildcraft as it’s highly important to properly identify a plant before consuming it. If you decide to enjoy a foraging adventure, avoid plants that’ve been sprayed by chemicals, those that dwell by the roadside, and be conscious about never overharvesting wild plant populations.                 

Forest Bathing

If you’re searching for an intentional ritual to deepen your connection to nature, we encourage a forest bathing practice. 

Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a term that originated in Japan and means “forest bath.” While this practice may seem straightforward, there are a few guidelines that’ll help you get the full effect of connecting with nature. 

While forest bathing, you are strongly encouraged to be digital free while you fully immerse yourself in nature, and use all your senses. This process releases tension, produces relaxation, and opens the mind and body to the present moment. Being silent among the plants and trees while taking deep breaths can balance the central nervous system and pave the way for reduced stress. 

You can practice this way of connecting with nature in any natural space, or you can enjoy this experience with a professional guide. If this type of therapeutic healing is new for you, you can check out the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy to see if there are any guides in your area and if forest bathing is the type of recalibration for you. 

In Closing

Creating space and finding time to reset is necessary for balancing mental, spiritual, and physical health. Connecting with nature brings us back to our roots, opening us to be nourished in a natural, innate way. 

If our connection with nature and promoting internal peace has piqued your interest, visit our articles Nature’s Love Language and Making Space for Emotional Wellbeing to learn more. 

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