Getting outside in nature for an hour a day could change your life. It could change your child’s life.
The research is out there about the benefits of getting outside, engaging with our natural settings but so many of us,myself included, often put this at the end of our to do list. We shouldn’t put it at the bottom, it should be a priority.
Making time to get outside has become a priority for me. I am by no means perfect at this, but I have put time into my weekly schedule for walks or hikes and it has changed how I feel and how I engage with others on a daily level. When I do this, I feel more connected to everyone. I feel more calm. I have also found that I have started seeing patterns or making observations from nature that I take back with me and these findings help me with my work and my relationships.
As I took a hike this weekend with my daughter- weekends are a great time to get outside for an extended period of time- we were walking on a trail that was part of a stream bed. The week before there had been a rain storm, and the day after the temperature dropped and the water froze. So there were frost heaves with cracks in them, and inside those crack were mini ice stalagmites. Creative wonders are sometimes so close to the surface. It just takes looking more closely to see them peeking through the surface and a bit of unearthing to bring them to the light.
They were magical and inspired my daughter to look down and explore other ice patterns. We came across a frozen puddle where most of the water had been absorbed in the ground after the top froze so there were ripples in a thin layer of ice, and air beneath it and the ground. It is like when you have been stuck with a problem you haven’t been able to solve, and then you go down deep and new ideas start bubbling to the surface. By letting your guard down you can melt the ice that will give more weight and movement to the ideas bubbling below the surface.
Most of the stream was still frozen but there was a little bubbling trickle that ran underneath the thinning ice. As we kept discovering these patterns, I could see my daughter’s eyes light up as she noticed the perfect place to make a Fairy house. It was under a tree where the earth had eroded a bit from the base and the roots were moss covered yet exposed. Every few steps she would see another potential house, or a castle for the Fairy Queen. She was deep into her magical world and was buzzing with excitement.
We kept walking and exploring and at the end
she said to me, “Thank you Mommy for bringing me here! I feel like I have found my inner being
Many of us walk outside and are just trying to get from point A to B, some are talking or looking at their phones, some barely get outside at all and sit in front of a screen all day. Even if you live in an inner city, explore the neighborhood around you, there may be a church garden, a hidden garden or place with a view where you can explore and get away from the daily grind. Take time to connect with yourself, your community and or the natural world around you so you can breathe easier, engage on a deeper level and start make positive strides to create a better work and life environment.
Look at the patterns that you see, write them down and reflect on them. You may just find a new Aha!