Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nature as a Healer

   In a world full of electronics, busy schedules, and organized play our children are experiencing more disconnect from nature then ever before. It has been a little over 4 months since tragedy fell upon my neighbors of Newtown, Conn. Now we are facing more recent tragic events in Boston and Texas. My life changed forever that December day, everything I thought was safe in the world crumbled away, my backyard was no longer a safe haven. But in the wake of tragedy I learned to love a little more, to take a little more time, to value every moment with my child, and I knew that nature would and will heal us all. It seems more than ever now our children need to reconnect with nature, to help heal them and connect back with life as it should be. 

Last week my family and I hiked at Sticks and Stones Farm in Newtown. It was one of the first most glorious days of Spring, and renewal was in the air. Signs of spring where all over, the chorus of chirping of the wood frogs, emergence of trout lilies  turtles sunning themselves on rocks. What seemed to stand out the most was the abundance of Mourning Cloak Butterflies, Nymphalis antiopa. We could not walk more than 100 feet and a Mourning Cloak would flutter by. The butterfly has many symbolism  but I like the symbol of vernal renaissance. It seemed fitting to experience the presence of this silent beauty that is a harbinger of spring in a town that has experience such a sad and dark winter
Mourning Cloak Butterflies, Nymphalis antiopa. 
How Nature Heals

  • Here Comes the Sun and Vitamin D- Sunshine in moderation is essential to our health.  Sunshine actually enables to body to create vitamin D, which is aids in warding of diseases like osteoporosis  heart disease, certain cancers, MS, and Alzheimer  There is also much proven research on the healing powers of sunlight with depression, and other mental disorders. 
  • Revving Our Senses- 
    • There are also many pollutants inside, off-gassing of the carpet, dander, lead, and air cleaners to name a few. So stepping outside and taking in a breath of "fresh" air really has meaning to it. 
    • When you look around the office what image to you mostly see on peoples computer background? On their calendar? Photos pinned to the cube? I am hoping the answer is a scene from nature. Many studies show that humans have an affinity for looking at nature. The mind and body will relax when looking at mountains, fields of green grass, a vast ocean. It has been well documented that patients in the hospital heal quicker with views of trees and grass out their window than those with views of a brick wall. 
    • How about that feeling of digging in your garden? What feelings do you have when your hands touch the soil for the first time that spring? Touch is another important aspect in becoming one with nature. 
    • Make it Simple! It doesn't have to be over-complicated to get outside something simple for a few minutes on a lunch break, or before the school bus comes will even do. 
    • Make it a ritual  I recently started a mommy and me hiking group, we have scheduled hikes at least once a month. Sticking to a schedule can help you get out of bed, or the kids away from the technology. Perhaps every Sunday after going out to breakfast you have a family hike, or go to the playground. 
    • Teach your child to listen Teaching your child to find his or her sit spot and just listen to nature, you will be surprised how much you can hear when you try. 
    • Take the path less taken Try finding new outdoor areas to explore, a new trail, a new nature center, and new playground. 
    • And if anything take your child's shoes off and encourage them to run barefoot in the grass, tell them to roll down a hill, lay on the grass and look up to the clouds. 

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