Nature as Pure Therapy
There are times that I find it difficult to find solace anywhere, as the agitation within is relentless during those times and it is hard to quiet it.
The other day was one of those days. There were various things going on that had me stirred up and uncomfortable in my own skin. Days like we all have.
So I took myself for a long walk in the park. I am lucky enough to live fairly close to a park that is filled with redwoods. It is my place of most intense prayer and meditation. It is a place that I go not only to talk to God/Universe (which I do all the time), but I place that helps me stop talking and simply allow myself to be quiet and listen more.
I walked, enjoying the beauty around me, grateful for the smiles and hellos from strangers walking by. And I walked. And walked.
I stopped and sat down in a clearing that had a few picnic benches, with no one else around. I simply sat there. I thought I would spend a few minutes before getting up to walk more. I sat there for close to an hour. Being. Simply and quietly being.
Surrounded by these majestic trees. Trees that have lived longer than I, have seen so much more than I, have wisdom to share. I feel the presence of trees more these days. I feel the presence of all of nature more these days, now that I am retired and have stopped the crazy busy routine that left me no time to stop and breathe. I feel the connection to every living being that I share this earth with.
I touched the trees. Gazed up at their incredible height. Felt their solidness and stability. Listened to the whispering of the breeze through their leaves. This to me feels like the voice of God. Quiet, steady, calm, powerful, there if you stop and get quiet and still.
And I listened. To the quiet voice within, to the wisdom of the trees, to the Universe around me reminding me to stop, to breathe, to truly feel this moment in time, this moment in eternity.
And I let the tears come, some of which had no name. I let them flow. And cleanse. I gave them space to be. I gave my soul space to be. And I was quieted. I was comforted. Comforted with the sacred blessing of that particular moment in time and my being able to be present for it, truly present.
Nothing else mattered in that moment. It was enough to simply be. To breathe it in. To allow all of it to flow through me. It was all ok. That moment was the gift that I can so easily forget to give myself. I was, and still am, so very grateful.
I was eased, held, soothed, given solace and love. A therapy like no other. A touch like no other. A sweetness like no other. A medicine like no other. Sacred medicine whose branches reach into my soul and whisper…..”You are enough and it is enough for you to simply be here. You are loved.”
8 thoughts on “The Healing Medicine of Trees”
Wow! That is so profound and beautifully written! Anything I say or write in response would just spoil the peace and harmony you have achieved with/between yourself and nature. Best wishes from Steve.
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Thank you, Steve! I very much appreciate your kind comments.
I absolutely love trees. I have a giant sequoia in my yard that I’ve been working to restore to health as much as possible … Working with an arborist. I love that tree. We greet each other every morning.
There are so many life forms to relate to, if we take the time. We can learn so much from them all. And be soothed. God knows we all need that. Wishing you well.
I’m a ‘tree hugger’ too! Only sycamores. We live in the ‘burbs’ in Ventura County in a townhome that is surrounded by sycamores. Its all I/we can do to keep our stupid HOA from cutting down trees and over-trimming them. And my inner peace and harmony are always being ‘nuked’ by ambulances and fire trucks driving by along Kanan Rd. I use ‘Zen’ along with headsets and YouTube whenever I need an ‘escape’ into the more peaceful, more natural and more beautiful world that you’ve described!
Noise pollution is so very real. We are constantly being bombarded with it.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Africa in 2014… and I was stunned by the silence. My ears literally hurt when I got to the airport to come back home. Just like we are constantly bombarded by negativity all around us….. And have to work to take those quiet zen escape moments that you describe.
I can definitely relate! While many old folks like me have hearing problems, I am just the opposite. I have hyperacusia. I hear stuff no one else can. My wife is the one with major hearing problems. As for the ‘negativity’ you describe, that is a topic that I could discuss with you endlessly! I agree its a huge problem and getting worse. How did we get from the love, joy and idealism of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s to the hateful, divided and miserable place we are today? And what is to be done?
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I wish I had an answer. It’s so hard to believe where we are now. What happened indeed?
I have some mild hearing loss. I’m working on getting used to wearing a hearing aid in one ear. Does your wife wear hearing aids? It feels strange having something in my ear, but I’m grateful for it.
The owner of the gym where I go has your hyper hearing as well.
But even with mild hearing loss, noise still bothers me. As does the news, which I can only listen to for a bit. We are suchlike a country divided. Such a world being destroyed. Which is why I so intentionally try to look for, find, and cultivate kindness when and where I can. I wish that those moments made more headlines. They’re there, but we don’t hear about them as much….
My wife has two ‘aids.’ Her hearing loss is so profound that she needs the two piece type of hearing aid that has the microphone, battery, and electronic transducer apparatus in a little module hooking right behind and above her ear with the sound being transmitted acoustically thru a little plastic tube that connects to the ear bud that goes in her ear canal. Despite how complicated and slightly bulky this sounds, you cant tell she is even wearing hearing aids. She keeps her hair shoulder length and used to have just the internal kind of aid where everything goes inside the ear canal, but those are only useful if the hearing loss is mild. Her provider, a woman whose audiology business is not connected with any particular manufacturer, and who can exercise her professional judgement independently of any of the brands she carries, is simply awesome! Meanwhile I want to reply to your next comment separately and give it the attention it deserves! Stay tuned!
OK, back again – I definitely agree about the kindness thing. That’s the way I’ve always tried to live my life, too. Being kind, setting a good example, spreading happiness wherever I can and ‘paying it forward.’ Back in the late 1990’s I did volunteer work as a youth crisis counselor for Interface Children Family Services in Ventura County. I recall the poster on their office wall “Feelings are everywhere — be gentle. J.Masai” I definitely took that one to heart. As to the other questions you’ve raised–I have some definite thoughts on those too. It ends up being about a ten page essay. Maybe too lengthy to post as a blog comment. I also don’t want to post anything on your blog that might turn away your other readers or in any way detract from what you are trying to do. Let me crunch on it some more and get back to you.. Best, Steve
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