For the last two winters we have heard wolves howling on top of the mountain we live on. The sound is hauntingly beautiful but it is strange to think of all of the wild animals that live along side of us in this forest. We only see a fraction of them but we co-exist together on this land and on this planet. They have a whole life that I don't know about, mostly hidden and wild. We humans also have a hidden, wild life inside of us.
Connecting with the wonders of the natural world can open a doorway into a wild and mysterious existence. It is here where we meet our instinctual self and remember what it means to be alive and connected to the Earth's rhythms and changing seasons. We humans really are walking plants, our lungs and digestive system our roots - and like plants we need water, sunshine, fresh air, nutrients, and generative darkness to grow and bloom.
The natural world is full of miracles that we can reflect on, like if the enzymes in a caterpillar's body are programmed to break down its body and transform into a butterfly - what are the cells that make up our bodies capable of transforming into?
Nature based mindfulness is more than a mindset it is a way of living in the world. It is about finding stillness inside, and connecting to the beauty and flow in the natural world so we can reset our nervous systems and discharge trauma. Then return to these wild places over and over again to replenish our energy, reconnect to goodness, and make decisions from an embodied place. Nature is a powerful antidote for personal healing, and for combatting all of the stress and trauma in the world. And for most of us, it is right outside our front door.
For many years it was my computer and email that started off my day but now it is the sound of the creek, the smell of the forest, and the stillness of the natural world. To create a happier and richer life I had to change my daily patterns and reroute my mind to live a slower rhythm. You can do this too, and if you need help I am here to support you.
Daily Practices for Living a Wild Life
Spend time outside every day and observe the web of life around you. Notice what is growing there. Use all of your senses - listen, look, touch, smell and feel the wind, rain and sun on your face.
Talk to the plants, birds, animals, and trees, and offer little prayers of gratitude for everything they do. See yourself as part of this web of life and family. You are not your mind, you have kinship with the natural world. The more we see ourselves as part of the ecosystem around us, the more we will protect it.
Breathe fresh air every day. Open your window and fill your lungs, step outside to greet the sun in the morning, and into the night air to say goodnight to the stars. Be in relationship with the natural world, the online world is not real.
Turn your gaze to the sky and the mysteries of the cosmos, watch the clouds float by, sit under the stars and dream out loud. Nearly all the elements in the human body were first made in a star. You are connected to the expansive universe around you, remember this every day.
Eat food that is alive and drink lots of water. Let the nutrients from the sun and soil, and fresh water heal and cleanse you, and bring you strength. This is what our bodies were made for.
Move your body to heal. As you traverse a mountain ridge, walk through a forest, bike along a trail, or summit a peak - your body becomes one with the natural world. Your heart beats in sync with your steps.
Allow your body to find moments of release like the tides that churn the oceans, the storms that pass, and the volcanoes that erupt. Emotions are intended to move through our bodies just like the natural world releases pressure.
The innate wisdom of nature is all around us, and offers many answers to the meaning of life and death. If we can disidentify from our thoughts, we will find our way back to a wild life.
Rachel Schmidt specializes in a depth psychology coaching approach called Psychosynthesis. This mind, body, spirit approach can help individuals connect to self and the natural world in meaningful ways. Helping to access inner resources so life transitions can be moved through with intention and ease.
Rachel's background includes training and certification in Psychosynthesis from the Synthesis Institute in San Francisco, a Bachelor of Social Work Degree from the University of Victoria, 20 years of counselling experience, and expertise in meditation and nature-based mindfulness. She has a special interest in contemplative arts, and uses photography, visual art, myths and symbol making, and filmmaking in her work.