Do you have a favorite tree? A favorite memory of playing in trees, romping in the nearby woods, catching frogs or playing hide and seek? What tree plays a role in those memories?
My native elders felt trees had traits, some like humans. For example, maples are considered social, living nearby homes. The white pine often referred to as the Tree of Peace, held a position of respect and figures in stories of salvation from our own human follies. Seek peace not war becomes the white pine’s message, symbol.
Tree hugging is not uncommon. Many of us who enjoy the outdoors might take a moment or two, savor the forest’s smells and silence while hugging a tree.
Gardening, walking in the forest seems to calm us, eases our breath from everyday concerns. Do we need scientific studies to prove this? I don’t think so. We seem to thrive in some ways when we venture into nature.
In Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv, laments that our children are removed from nature, by at least two generations.
“The young spend less and less of their lives in natural surroundings, their senses narrow, physiologically and psychologically, and this reduces the richness of human experience.” He further explains: ” at the very moment that the bond is breaking between the young and the natural world, a growing body of research links our mental, physical and spiritual health directly to our association with nature – in positive ways.”
A paradox for our day and age. We stay inside with our gizmos, lead busy lives. Complementary and alternative medicine, CAM, seeks to explore and encourage simple practices that enhance well being including “getting out in nature.”
The world of alternative medicine is often confused with complementary medicine. Yet in some ways, they complement each other. How? Many of us, when faced with a serious illness, seek some other way to cope with this illness, a disease. We get on the medical program advised for us but want something more; we want to add something to hopefully speed up our recovery if possible. We may choose modalities such as massage, maybe investigate nutrition and make dietary changes. We may add aromatherapy and meditation to our routines. In this sense, we are adding modalities to complement our medical program.
In other instances, folks choose other modalities first. They put aside medical protocols and delve into alternative practices that could make a difference. They put body and soul into a program that hopefully brings changes.
My podcast guest this week, Lynne Hartwell, Alternative Medicine Practitioner, stressed simple ways to bring in balance on a body, mind, soul level. Focus on breathing. Exercise. Lynne recommends “getting out in nature” too. Remember childhood wonder and the ability to be completely in the moment playing in the woods? How we couldn’t wait to get outside? There was no time.
Lynne and other alternative and complementary practitioners often recommend “getting out in nature”. Reconnect. Feel the breeze. Smell the woods. Relax and breathe.
“Connect with nature.” I couldn’t agree more.