“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein
I’ve got a secret. There’s one simple thing you can do that will have a positive influence on our planet – and you.
Experience a Nature Walk. 30 minutes everyday. Totally unplugged. I’ve been doing it practically my entire adult life and have been advising clients for the last 15 years on how powerful a practice it can be. Most of the benefits are obvious – good exercise, relieves stress, etc.
But something more profound happens when you make it part of your daily repertoire. I have witnessed it hundreds of times. You develop a connection with nature.
Whether it’s a bent over weeping willow on the banks of a river or a scarlet poppy dancing on the side of a road, you begin to relate.
The feeling that nature is something ‘other than you’ dissipates. You may initially come to the realization that whether or not you like it, you are dependent on nature for survival. And that it’s your responsibility to help sustain its resources.
As you continue your spiritual journey though, you develop a ‘knowing’ from a deep place within that you also need nature to live a life of well-being and joy. When that happens, you no longer need to be reminded about recycling, picking up litter, leaving lights on or water running when not necessary, you just do it.
Because taking care of our planet has become part of your moral fiber. You can’t imagine not tending to it.
You now experience the world with new eyes. You feel awake, open, caring, curious, and kinder. You no longer feel that you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
You understand and embrace that nature is your mentor. And that all living things on this planet of ours are interconnected.
How to Experience a Nature Walk
1. Set aside 30 minutes a day. Preferably first thing in the morning when your mind is more open and uncluttered.
2. Wear comfortable clothing and sneakers.
3. Before going outside, sit for a few minutes and set an intention for your walk.
For example, ‘Nature is a gift that I cherish and love’ or ‘My Nature Walk is going to make me a calm and happy for the rest of the day’.
4. Go outside. Take 3 deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
5. Stand silent for a moment – with gratitude.
6. Set a timer for 30 minutes. If the timer happens to be on your phone, remember to turn your phone off.
7. Tune into your ‘mindfulness channel’. Experiment with ‘being in nature’ any way that you like. This is your sacred time to forget everything from your daily life and infuse yourself with the magic of nature.
You can stop, look, touch, or smell any plants. Or watch the ducks swimming in the pond. Or the ants building their colony near the edge of a sidewalk.
8. If you find your mind filling up with extraneous thoughts, pull it back gently to focus on the present moment of being with nature.
How does it feel when you bend down and rub the velvety silver leaf between your fingers? What thoughts go through your mind when you see a hummingbird flirting with a bright red flower? Can you imagine how it would feel to be that bird?
9. At the end of the walk, before you go inside, take a few deep breaths again. Offer a blessing to nature for being your mentor and guide.
10. Once inside, sit with your Nature Journal for a few minutes and jot down any thoughts or feelings that you have.
NOTE: People respond to Nature Walks differently. For some, after the first time, they’re hooked. For others, it takes persistence to integrate the walk into their schedules. But over time, if you stick with it, you will reap tremendous benefits.
You will be able to focus more easily on the stuff that matters and get rid of the clutter in your life. You will feel more creative, joyful, experience a sense of well-being, and the magic and beauty of being alive.
And as importantly, you will become a caring steward of Mother Earth.
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. Do you take a daily Nature Walk? If so, how does it influence your day?