In the Western world, we are so often disconnected from nature: sitting in traffic bumper to bumper all the way to the office like a rat run, or working from home in our isolated four walls. When at home, we drain the hours away slumped in front of the TV, boredom creeping into every cell of the aching body. Our creative juices have become a dried-up pond crying out for sustenance.
So many of us have a feeling of being cut off from the rhythm of life and from our place within nature. Since as humans we were designed to live and work in co-operation and close contact with the world of trees, birds, animals and insects around us, this disconnection is a powerful contributor to our feelings of stress and overwhelm. Underneath our concrete lifestyles, something in us aches for more.
How would it feel to take the opportunity to really be with Nature? It is, after all our gift from the divine garden and one that speaks to our soul through the most ordinary and surprising ways. Children are often still in touch with this realm of life: I saw a little girl recently in a park, overcome with excitement and joy at seeing a daisy. She looked into its heart and it came alive for her.
As a shy little girl who liked my own company, I didn’t have friends to play with during the school holidays. So I befriended a sparrow. It told me things about its life and I would share the secrets that I dared not tell others. There was a deep empathy between us: I saw aspects of myself in this little bird with ragged feathers who looked a bit lost and like he was longing for fellow feathered friends.
Perhaps there’s more than meets the eye when you look at animal lovers who experience a deep bond with their cats and dogs, even talking to them, or Horse Whisperers, people who can sense the feelings of a horse, calm its fears and bring about harmony and ease.
Nature as healer is taken increasingly seriously these days, with Environmental Therapy being developed in this country by Art therapist Ian Siddons-Heginworth.
Research now supports the therapeutic gain of self-discovery from being in nature. Japanese “forest bathing”, for example, is an approach being developed around the world, in particular, Canada. This philosophy is based on the idea that as humans we actually crave the company of trees. In forest bathing, you immerse your senses in the atmosphere of a forest to experience a range of health and well-being benefits.
Dr. Qing Li has found that forest bathing has beneficial effects on our quality of life, lowering blood pressure and stress levels and improving concentration and memory. You can find out about Britain’s most therapeutic forests and woodlands here and here. And if you don’t live near a woodland, you can still explore the benefits of forest bathing in your local park – anywhere where there are trees!
These discoveries of the positive effects of nature have inspired me to offer my workshops so that you can experience how nature can serve and inspire you. They give you the opportunity to seek stillness and light, supported by drumming, as you receive a gift from the divine garden of earth.
Drumming is a vibrational language that invites us to tune in to nature so we can speak with animals, birds, bees and other members of the natural world. When I drum in the garden, stray cats seem to come out from nowhere, birds hover above me looking to see what is going on, and even butterflies in the summer join me. It is truly a beautiful experience where I feel in communication with all living creatures around me, alive with the life forms that embrace me.
It’s as if I see myself spread out over the landscape, finding myself inside a tree, a cloud, or an animal, dropping out of the limited sense of identity that can keep us so imprisoned in worry, struggle and stress. Connection with nature also beckons me into a closer relationship with the procession of the seasons, finding the cyclical patterns underlying all of our lives.
The next time you’re out walking in nature, why not try going unplugged, without technological barriers between your senses and the woodland, river, field or sea. Let go of any expectations or goals and simply wander, following the cues of your body. Practice treading on the earth with close attention and appreciation, and be alert to signs from the animal and insect life around you. If with others, release the need to talk for a period of time and simply be with the nature around you. You can sit down in a comfortable spot to relax, take in the environment and listen to the sounds around you. Whether you are working, resting or playing, treat yourself like the guest of honour in your own life – and approach all of nature as a delicious playground.
Come with me as we take leisurely walks along gentle woodland paths. I will share with you guided activities to help you open your senses, hone your intuition, and experience the power of nature as you never have before. We will draw upon mindfulness meditation practices, supported by drumming, singing and talking to nature.
Just like the petals of the flower, you will discover that you have your own beauty, worth, and identity that blesses everything and everyone around you. You will come away with newly enchanted ways to experience your everyday life when at home or at work.
To find out more about my workshops, click here.