This article first appeared in mindbodygreen.com and is written by Kristen Hedges
Isn’t it beautiful how we can feel the Earth in our bones? How we can sense the changing seasons? For me, it’s autumn. There’s always a day around mid-September when I can smell autumn approaching on the breeze. The sweet aroma of lacy leaves, rotting among fallen pine needles. The taste of pumpkins, pecans, and firm apples. Though the weather gracefully sways from summer’s heat to fall’s chill, the changing of the seasons bring warmth to my being. It’s a comforting change. Expected, and instinctual. Why do we feel this? Because the Earth is within us, and we are within the Earth. Somewhere deep inside of our modern, technology laden beings, there is an ancient voice, humming and beating along with the heart of the planet.
Earth bonding – feeling that vital, potent connection with our planet – is ancient. Before the age of telephone wires and radio waves, we lived in a world of flourishing biodiversity, and we were completely connected to it. We learned from our fellow animals, from the seasons, and from the land. We knew what would nourish us, and what would poison us. We knew how to prepare for an approaching storm. We knew the Earth, and we loved her.
Now? We suffer in many ways, both mentally and physically, when we are walled in by concrete and severed from our Earth Mother. We destroy our surrounding biodiversity with chemicals and cleaners. We fog the air with smoke and smog. We feel sick, disconnected, and unhappy. We need to get back into nature. To reconnect with our wild side. But how?
1. Find a place of nature, and sit in it. Whether it’s a tree in the park, a pine cushioned spot on the forest floor, or a rock on a hill, sit for a while and be with nature. Listen to the bird’s songs and watch as they craft nests in the bushes. Smell the Earth – familiarize yourself with this smell. Let it fill you. The longer you spend outdoors, the more you will hear, see, smell, and feel! The more time you spend in nature, the more it will sink into your being.
2. Walk barefoot on the ground and go skinny dipping. Walking barefoot is a highly underestimated luxury. There’s nothing quite like the soft grass grabbing hold of your toes! Having skin to Earth contact is extremely important – especially for women, who draw their feminine energy from the planet. When you walk barefoot, you ground yourself. You bring your energetic current in balance with that of the Earth. You instantly feel connected. At ease. Home. And swimming naked? Connecting your skin and soul and mind completely with the power of water? I’m pretty sure there are few better things.
3. Restore a forgotten patch of Earth. The planet needs our care. Though she is fully capable of restoring herself, we can lend a helping hand. Grab a watering can, a few native seeds, and find a spot of brown in your neighborhood. Plant a tree in the forest. Watch it grow and love it as a child. Start a garden. Grow a meadow instead of a perfectly pruned lawn. In time, you will see the biodiversity returning. The bees will bring pollen to your doorstep. And it will be beautiful.
4. Sleep under the stars. Sometimes I forget that I’m living on a giant hunk of matter that’s floating precariously in an infinite black void. You’ve forgotten too, haven’t you? But now you’ve remembered. It’s a beautiful and confusing thing to fathom, and the more you ponder it, the more you appreciate your simple existence. So go outside! Watch the falling stars! Maybe catch a few of them! By gazing at the night sky – at those countless eyes blinking and staring back down at you – we feel small. We realize that although our lives are small and short, we can leave a large, ugly footprint on this planet. Or, we can help to gently dust the footprints from her skin. Which will you choose?
Kristen Hedges is a writer & meditation teacher living in the crooked pines of California with her daughter, her husband, & their little dog.