0 In Self-Care

How A Walk in the Woods Means Better Connections with Others

It’s this lush, green, sunshine-y day as I sit on the deck listening to the awake nature of the world. At least three distinct birdcalls, a buzz of crickets, chittering, and squeaks of squirrels, and the hum of summer fill the air.

Pale light filters down through the grove of trees behind the house dappling the damp grass. I walked barefoot through it for a few minutes to check the garden. Wet toes. Delightful!

The idea of making an intentional connection to caring better for myself has been on my mind a lot. It’s so easy to get busy, stay distracted, shuffle through life at high velocity, and do it all without paying much attention to each moment. Add to that mix being in business for yourself and life can get out of hand pretty fast. 

That’s why taking time, setting aside a piece of each day to be in the elements is my favorite intention to keep. Hot, cold, chilly, muggy, rain falling, whatever. Two weeks ago with a head whirring at full speed, it dawned on me I needed to ground myself with Mother Nature. Beneath a tree was a shady spot with my name on it. Yes, I received a few bug bites. But oh, goodness! It recharged me in a matter of minutes in a way nothing else can.

What are you intentional about? For me, it is creativity, curiosity, and keeping these both charged up and ready to flow. To do that requires good-hearted self-care. It’s important to know the things that recharge you. There will always be more work to do, t.v. shows to watch, and ways to numb out. But refilling your tank means you value who you are and why you are here. Do you?

Creativity flourishes, ideas, and clarity abound, and inspiration waits on us when we respect the flow of nature. And nature rests and recharges. The natural world has cycles. So do we. There is more to life than being dormant (as in laid out flat from exhaustion) or the high heat of the planting and growing seasons (as in taking on too many commitments in hopes of reward.) There are times for planting, sowing, watching, allowing the fruit to grow, reaping, and rest.

How are you staying in connection with yourself? If you resist slowing down or being curious about the possibilities, how do you sustain your drive? The wind rises and falls, and so does water in the creek. There is interdependence amongst the elements and things growing or dying in the natural world. Wind and water are always wind and water. They know what they are, and they move through the shape of our world doing what they do. They are energetic forces. So are you. What is interesting about being human is we are both energetic force and the fruit that grows in the field. We are the elements that cause things to grow, and we are growing ourselves or withering if we aren’t intentional about caring.

How are you caring for yourself? And how have you learned to trust that process? How is it feeding you? How does it allow you to nourish others?   

It’s this glorious thing that when we respect ourselves and take good care, we become more generous with others. Then you respond to people with a lighter heart, an open stance, and more willingness to meet them however they are. When your mind is more stable from taking time for yourself, you can respond with kindness. There’s a refreshing capacity to connect more deeply with people.

I invite you to play with it. Notice how taking a walk in the park – or whatever recharges you – spurs you on to listen more deeply and respond from your more open heart. Maybe you’ll want to do this more purposefully. Try it for yourself with the intention of not only caring for yourself but knowing that by doing so, you can better show up for the people you meet. 

Andrea Mai is an author. Her newest book (available on Amazon) is called, “LIFElihood: 31 Days to Explore Work, Time, Money, and Intention to Create Your Best Life.” She guides people through mindfulness, meditation, and other contemplative tools and practices to access their wisdom and learn to trust it. She is also a freelance writer focused on health and wellness and other industries like insurance, financial services, and real estate. She grew up in the wilds of Northern Minnesota but has spent most of her adult life in Nashville. If you want to learn more about her and her work, check out www.mindfuljournal.netand www.bewellcontent.com.

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