Katherine Willow N.D.

In this mechanized electronic culture it is possible to balance ourselves with the natural world: air, sun, ground, trees, water and stars. A few hundred years ago, being out in nature wasn’t an issue except for the “privileged” few. And there weren’t the dangers of civilization to contend with: electromagnetic fields (emf’s), pollution of air, water and soil, genetically modified and over-processed food, artificial lighting, mechanized travel and schedules that make it hard to stop and smell the roses. Now we need to make an active effort to get the exposure to nature that we need to thrive.

How to start getting out into the elements when buried in commitments that don’t include being outside? Consider some motivating and hopeful studies:

*walking on the ground with bare feet for 20 minutes drains off the emf’s we pick up from our screens/wifi (I’m considering an extension with a dirt floor to experiment with this.)

*walking in the forest increases our white blood cells; in Japan they call it forest bathing and use it for chemo patients

*planet earth emits vibrations that are identical to those used in hospital machines to help heal bones, identical to those emitted by our hands (think of preventing/reversing osteoporosis)

*sunbathing up to 20 minutes between 10am and 4pm between May and September in our latitude allows our skin to produce substantial amounts of vitamin D, boosts our spirits and helps us stay healthy without burning

*children attending outside schools have fewer illnesses

*negative ions by the seashore and waterfalls invigorate us

*sleeping early and in complete darkness, as we did before artificial lighting, helps greatly to restore depleted glands, the immune system and energy

Then consider some ancient wisdom:

*trees take in our negative thoughts and feelings as they do our carbon dioxide, giving positive energy in return (a role for depression and grief)

*animals seen in our daily lives can bring us messages for our soul   (Last spring my yard was invaded by woodpeckers of many kinds for 3 days. When I finally looked up their message and followed it, they disappeared within 1 hour.)

*lying on the ground, we receive energies from earth and sky, recharging our chakras/energies; lying on the ground for 10 minutes a day increases energy by 30% within 3 weeks (even inside!)

*air contains vital energies which we can learn to optimize with yogic breathing techniques/pranayama

This all makes common sense, but sometimes our primal instincts are buried under layers of civilization and being outside doesn’t appeal. Bugs, unpleasant temperatures, rain, snow, time pressures and boredom combine to make staying inside in front of a screen preferable. It may take getting sick to propel our habits back into what we need for body, mind and spirit. The old nature cure practitioners used all the elements for healing disease.

An activity we do at retreats is to send participants into the wild to find a power spot and sit, letting the mind calm and the sounds speak to their inner side, resonating with gifts that may have gone stagnant with disuse, inspiring them to shake off the heavy, over-stimulating life that they may have been trapped in.

No need to go on retreat for this—it can happen in a park or in our back yards if we take the time when the time is right.