Have you been letting a negative attitude dominate your emotions this winter? It is easy to understand how that could happen with the sub-zero temperatures we have been experiencing; the lack of sunlight; the daily news; the destruction of our environment; etc.
Have I got an antidote for you!
- Bundle up (I have 3 layers on most of my body and a full head scarf) !
- Go to your nearest wild area/park at least once a day.
- Power walking is okay because it keeps you warm. But “intentional nature hikes” can be more satisfying because you become connected to nature. You are able to feel more alive, and for a time step out of those things that were dragging you down.
What is an intentional nature hike?
- The first 10 minutes, walk normally, let your body adjust to the temperature and
to the place where you are walking.
- The remainder of the time, focus your thoughts are focused on the present.
- If you realize you are thinking about other things, stop walking for 10 seconds and re-focus.
- Let nature show its hidden beauty – look for patterns, shadows, and animal tracks in the snow.
- A variation on this activity is to find new things that you’ve never seen. This morning I saw 7 new things (I wonder if they were really “new” or if my memory is really poor). Regardless, this type of activity will keep you focused and fresh.
- Listening is another form of connecting to nature. Listening to the sounds of the morning birds: the spring call of a cardinal or the “fee-bee” call of a chickadee. Also listening when there is no sound at all. Listening to the earth: an old oak; a glacial moraine; a grove of birch. You may not hear anything, but feel it on an energetic level.
Jed Krauss explains “listening to silence” in this way: “I feel the silence of nature more like a touch (like when a sound wave vibrates through my body). There are other times when I’m just too addicted to my own thoughts to listen. For me, listening to the silence is the most rewarding type of meditation. More than just quieting my mind, this is opening my self up to be touched by Creation, in whatever way it chooses.”
On your intentional nature hike, you may see or hear special things. Try to identify the following sights and sounds. Then check the key at the end of the post.