With studies supporting the benefits, time in nature as self-care has moved into mainstream consciousness. Especially these days as we are witnessing or experiencing nationally or globally distressing events.
Getting people back into nature is a good thing. Unquestionably good. Yet, I have such mixed feelings about how we’re talking about it.
With its move into mainstream consciousness, the suggestion to spend time in nature feels like the nature being referred to is a popular new spa. “Darling, you really must try the mountain trail treatment. You’ll be a new woman.”
As if nature is something we can step in and out of at will. As if it’s the latest silver-bullet cure.
This is the sticking point for me. It’s turning into one more way we treat wild nature as an inanimate resource.
One more way we reinforce the myth that we are separate from our ecosystems.
One more way we reinforce being disconnected from “the soft animal of our body.” (From Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese.”)
Here’s what I know…
We are never removed from nature because we are an intrinsic part of it—always—regardless of what our surroundings look like. If we are sitting in a room full of cubicles, we are still in nature. Because we are nature.
Reconnecting with nature isn’t about humans being healthier or becoming more responsible stewards (I so hate the patriarchy of that word!) of the earth. It’s about restoring a broken relationship so ultimately everybeing thrives.
A few nourishing ways to talk with friends, family, and colleagues about reconnecting with nature:
- suggest folks spend time WITH nature rather than IN nature
- share stories about how you spend time with nature
- if it feels right, remind people that they are nature
- prompt people to think about what they might offer their ecosystem, since healthy relationships are reciprocal
(Interesting note: did you know that highly sensitive people (HSP), are especially skilled at restoring human/nature relationships? So, take heart my HSP friends. This is one of your superpowers!)