(Photograph: Charles Vice)
This year, to celebrate my birthday, I spent a soul-restoring day, in a forest, at the bottom of a gorge just outside Graskop. For those of you who are not familiar with this area, it is a tiny little town in the Mpumalanga. We were visiting friends who are opening a bed & breakfast in White River and they suggested we spent the day exploring the forest in this gorge - http://graskopgorgeliftcompany.co.za/
Not quite knowing what to expect, we arrived to find ourselves being transported 51 metres down the gorge in a glass elevator. As we went down, we looked out over onto the expansive forest below us. Feelings of trepidation went through me as I wondered what to expect. When we reached the bottom of the gorge, we stepped out onto the boardwalk which meandered it way through the forest. And, so began, for me, a magical journey through true beauty that only Mother Nature can create.
Trees, like all plants, have an energy that gently whispers into your soul, awakening feelings of peace, harmony and joy. As we strolled through the very core of this forest, we felt the coolness of the forest, saw the dappled sunlight on leaves creating a haze of gentle greenness. We could hear the birds calling to each other as they moved ghost-like through the canopies and butterflies reminded me of the power of transformation as they flew delicately between the trees, creating their own little bit of magic. We walked over pools of crystal-clear mountain streams and pools, moss lining the rocks. Ferns, clivias and other plants added to the sheer beauty of this forest. It was like being in fairy-land!
My mind was stilled, my soul was nourished.
We all get so caught up in our frantic, crazy daily lives. Each day, we strive to find our way through this journey called life. Sometimes, we end up being exhausted, frazzled and weary. Our souls start to call out, to awaken us, trying to tell us that we need to slow down, step back, press the “rewind” button. Restore. We may find coping mechanisms through yoga, meditation, prayer, chocolate, red wine, junk food………And, then, there is Mother Nature.
Here are some ways of I use Mother Nature to find balance and grounding while restoring my soul:
Hug a tree! (seriously this works wonders) Place one hand on the trunk of the tree, the other hand on your heart and say quietly to yourself, “I am One”.
Sit under a tree and listen to the breeze rustling the leaves, the birds chirping in the canopy.
Even better, lie under the tree and stare up through the canopy of leaves and branches.
Walk bare foot on grass.
Lie on the grass and watch the clouds above.
Walk through forests, in the bushveld, on the beach, in the desert.
Walk alongside rivers, streams and the sea – even better, take a dip and float in the water.
Sit in your garden.
Go star (and moon) gazing.
Stroke your dog or cat.
Keep bunches of flowers in your home.
I know, from experience, that going into the natural environment is how I can feed my mind with beautiful, calm thoughts and find my soul once more, allowing it to be restored, so that I may continue along my journey of life.
Rejuvenate your own mind and soul by doing what works best - opening yourself up to the healing powers of Mother Nature.