I believe in the power of nature to heal; the body, the mind and the spirit. A recent study indicated that cancer patients who spend time in natural settings have accelerated rates of healing so cancer centers are installing meditative gardens for patients and families to spend time in during treatments. I discovered this amazing (but not surprising) link a few years earlier.
In the middle of daily radiation therapy for breast cancer my husband planned a trip to one of earth’s most joyous spots, Yosemite National Park. The doctor happily gave me time off (did she know about the nature effect?) so off we went to explore the winter wonders of this spiritual beauty. Somewhere between gazing at the indescribable Yosemite Valley, meditating on the placid waters of Mirror Lake and walking through Mariposa Grove’s ancient redwoods a strong feeling of well-being washed away my fear, replacing it with contentment and a belief that I would be myself again. Of course, my recovery was aided by early detection, excellent health care and lots of love from family and friends, but my inner compass, spinning wildly from fear and the unknown, stopped for a while, steadily focused on Mother Nature.
Unfortunately, we can’t all run off to a world famous beauty when we need a nature fix. But I believe that this same peace and healing can be found in our own backyards. How many times has my racing mind been calmed by digging in the cool soil of my garden? Could a well-tended garden result in world peace? A meditative walk in the park not only keeps the body fit, but also feeds the soul. Human proximity to nature, in all her fabulous transmogrifications, helps keep the focus on the spiritual core, essential for healing, a calm mind and good health.
This makes the human assault on our natural world all the more heinous. I believe that time spent in the natural world is an essential part of being human. It’s not an accident that the phrase “Mother Nature” is used to personify wondrous, nurturing, life-giving Earth. Let’s honor our Mother and protect her so she’s there when we need her for our own selfish needs.