Nature has always been one of my closest friends. The relationship is based on a sacred sense of trust, companionship, understanding, unconditional love, respect, admiration, awe, and adventure. She’s been there my entire life. She’s witnessed all I’ve been through and all I continue to experience, and I have witnessed areas of her unfold around me, and experience all she continues to experience.
As someone who isn’t in touch with their family, and was never properly mothered, nature nourishes the parent within me and offers me a safe place to take my grief and allow parts of myself to heal. She reminds me I am part of the Earth’s family, and helps me feel a valid member of it too. When I don’t feel able to connect with anyone outside of me, I know I can with her. And at times of loneliness, when I feel like I am the only person in the world without a family or intimate relationship, my heart can still open to her. My heart knows the Earth is always with me, offering unconditional support and the opportunity to have my experience witnessed, without judgement.
The last five months I’ve spent the majority of my days tucked inside my bedroom because I’ve been – and still am – recovering from two slipped discs in my back. Fuck, it has SUCKED. This whole time, nature has been at the forefront of my mind. But she’s been there because she’s been missing. I think of her with an aching heart and feel a desperate grief. But also a crippling guilt. I have felt like I have abandoned my oldest friend, because – for the first time in my life – I haven’t been out, truly enjoying, her. And I haven’t been able to proactively support her. Instead, I have become addicted to screens. Nature always provided me with inspiration, comfort, reassurance and connection, but because I haven’t been able to be with her intimately and completely, this has temporarily been being provided through holding my i-phone…not the place I wanna try and get it all from. And not the place I CAN get it all from.
I have still connected with the Earth regularly throughout each day – through my window or in mindfulness meditations; lying on the grass outside in the garden; ritualistically; watching wild films; or simply from the birds, the stillness, the rustling trees, and the life, I can hear from my room. But this doesn’t cut it. Parts of me have felt neglected and almost forgotten. And I have noticed that a sense of being un-parented and totally alone has felt deeper than ever – I need my sacred time in, and with, the Earth. I need my relationship.
It has felt so easy to forget that my spirit is wild, too. So easy that I seemingly almost have. There have been creative ways I have made sure that I haven’t lost this wild spark completely, but it’s been fucking hard – my heart and soul needs nature’s wild spirit in order to keep it alive in me. I need the chance to be in nature’s magic and beauty, every day. I need the playfulness, the vibrancy, the aliveness she offers, as well as the stillness and the beauty that I can connect with when just lying in bed.
My body, as well as my psyche, has been aching for more. It’s ached for physical contact with her. Without my body moving with the Earth, in the way I have always known, I feel painfully lost. My compassionate mind-body connection that I was beginning to cultivate, has felt cut-off and replaced with one of frustration, hate and distance – my body has felt foreign. In nature, it feels like mine. I remember my body again. I feel like I’ve come home – within me and around me.
The times my back has begun to mend and I have managed to get out into nature, even if to just cuddle a tree in the nearby park or lie on the grass and gaze at the sky or a quick swim in the icy sea, my pain has dissolved. Or I have been able to sit with it and offer it my compassion and my breath. The health that has felt a million miles away during my time in bed begins to come back immediately – my strength starts to flood my system, my body feels held, and my mind feels vibrant and open again. Parts that were seemingly forgotten, greet me like an old friend. They just needed nourishment.
I remember someone telling me that in times of struggle, we get insights into what we need…it couldn’t feel truer. I have always known I need my time with nature like I need my food, but this experience of being so confined to my bed and unable to move with her in the ways I have always known, has given me a deeper and more intimate insight into this need – I now know what happens when I don’t get it. I get depressed, anxious, and so lost. I feel ungrounded and out-of-my-self, and my imagination and inspiration wilts. And as for screens – they have been nourishing but they have also been incredibly draining and disconnecting. I know excessive time with them, just ain’t me.
To have had this experience and to have been feeling all these feelings has been incredibly hard, but it has also shown me I am human. A wild human. And by being human, wherever I am and whatever I am doing, I am part of the rest of the Earth’s family. The family in which we all, unconditionally, belong.