healing with natureIf you have ever tried tending a garden or plant, you probably have experienced both joy and frustration, as in life. Nature offers many examples of our human spirit, and how to navigate ourselves, relationships and change. Many great writers and philosophers have echoed nature’s wisdom and ability to heal. Tuning into nature allows us to cultivate the following:

  • Patience.
    We are so hard on ourselves about where and who we should be in life. We often forget that we have our own seasons of development and change throughout our life cycle. Do we expect newborns to dress or feed themselves? Of course not; we know they are not there yet in their growth and development. If a loved one became disabled due to disease or accident, we would appropriately adjust our expectations of their growth and development. Start with what you know and meet yourself where you are, just as nature does.

  • Joy.
    Nature is a playground for our senses. When we approach it with all of our senses and with the wonder and awe of a child, our awareness widens and our joy deepens.
  • Resiliency and hope.
    Change is inevitable. Mother Nature reminds us of this when her forces destroy what she so tenderly brought to life. When given proper air, water and light, nature is hardwired to restore itself and adapt to changing conditions. We witness this when beautiful green slowly begins to emerge from the path of destruction. We too can feel hopeful and begin to restore ourselves with enough air, water, light and love.
  • Community.
    Spacing in a garden can be important. It avoids overcrowding so there is ample room to absorb nutrients and develop a strong root system. If we are in a state of growth, it’s important to create awareness of how this change is affecting you and your family. If not pruned, our growth may slowly and subtly constrict the air and light to our own good qualities, and of those nearest us. This may compromise our root system and make new growth difficult for both ourselves and others.
  • Attunement.
    Tending a garden requires observation of its growth or lack thereof, and then making adjustments in your care to help it flourish. We are often unsure if we made the right adjustment because our efforts may not be noticeable for some time. So it is best not to overcare, but rather offer the garden ample time to be nourished by the care you provide, and proper sun and water. Plants that are overwatered often don’t develop a strong root system because they do not have to dig deep to find the water.

    Observing our own thoughts, feelings and sensations can tell us what we need more or less of, including setting our own pace in times of transition and growth.

  • Spirituality.
    When we immerse ourselves in nature and its process, we often feel free of labels, roles or expectations. This helps us reconnect with our authentic selves and what we value in life, akin to the feeling of coming home. This state of openness and inspiration can cultivate a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Believing in something outside of ourselves can create meaning, peace and purpose, all of which can nourish us through stressful life events, long after we have left nature’s presence.

There are many facets of our fast-paced society that condition us to resist the natural flow of life and control what was never meant to be controlled. Take time to stop and notice nature’s growth and change happening before your eyes. Giving ourselves permission to be open to the awe of nature makes it easier to recognize and be patient with our own growth and change, which is also full of wisdom and healing.

Tuning into nature allows us to tune into ourselves, if we are willing to listen. I once had a wise supervisor say, “I would rather be green and growing than ripe and rotting.”

Gardening tools photo available from Shutterstock