Most of us have experienced dark times in our lives. Many of us have experienced depression. Since Lockdown started, calls to mental health helplines and the use of anti-depressants are at an all time high in the UK with six million people receiving anti-depressants within three months in the summer of 2020. Depression can be the result of many things: genetics, situational, brain chemistry, hormones, and many other factors.
I want to stress, that if you're experiencing depression or spiritual emergency. Please reach out to a professional. I have enclosed some links at the bottom of the page that may be helpful. And if you feel your medication is helping your depression, please keep taking it. This blog is intended as food for thought.
Personally, I have always been a little melancholy. Things became worse when I experienced a spiritual emergency. I could spend weeks in bed at a time, barely able to move. I was afraid to speak to people in case they thought I was crazy. One day I was out shopping, feeling at my most anxious, heaviest point. I was sitting at a train station and I saw an advert for an outdoor clothing company. In the advert was a man climbing in the mountains and I thought: I need to be in nature. That's what I need! So I booked some time away in Dartmoor. I stayed at a youth hostel and would go out walking every day in the rain and wind. Just me and the earth. The wind and rain pounding against my skin. And no one else for miles and miles. It was just beautiful. One of the most beautiful experiences of my life, in fact. After weeks and weeks of feeling out of place in London. I felt at home. I was hooked after this. I love to sit beneath a tree or just lay on the Earth in the sunshine. Allowing the Earth to support my weight. Sometimes I'll cry for ages. I always feel better after. Nature never judges. It never critiques. It's just beauty, peace and nourishment.
We're made of the elements. We are the rain, the earth, the fire, and the wind. We have those components in our bodies. We have that innate connection. The plants and trees have been here for so much longer than us. If we choose to, we can deeply connect with all of them. Meditate with them. Nature and the elements are wise and ancient. And spending time just sitting in a place with them and connecting with them can be incredibly soothing and healing. This practice can ground us into our deepest truth.
These days, nature is my deepest ally. We're taught that nature, trees, plants, earth, and more are "things". But they are not. They are all alive. Deep, wise, loving beings that are longing to connect with us if we come from a place of love and respect. And they have so much wisdom and so much love and support to share with us if we are open to receive it.
If you feel you need to ground, to reconnect with nature, try this practice:
First of all, take a few minutes to relax and ground. Set the intention to ground deeply in your mind. Get comfortable and with your mind's eye, send roots down into the ground. Send them deeper and deeper into the ground until they reach the heart of Mother Earth. Feel your connection to Mother Earth. Feel her love for you. Feel her connection to you. You can rest here for a while. Then allow her energy to come up into your body. All the way up into your roots. All the way into your body. Feel the warmth.
Go out into nature. If you don't have access to the wilderness, go to a park or a place in your garden. Bring a little gift with you. Something compostable like some of your hair, fingernails or dried flowers. Be aware of nature all around you. Just relax and let go of having to be a certain way, having to please anyone. Just allow yourself to be. Start to see your surroundings in your peripheral vision. Notice if you feel "watched" by your surroundings. Mentally ask nature where would be a good place to sit and follow what feelings arise. When you sit down, just relax and be aware of nature. Let your mind go so still and focus on listening to your surroundings. Just listen. Be open. After a while, you might state why you are there. Speak to nature as you'd speak to any being you have respect for. Stay a while. When you're done. Give your offering. You might like to give your offering before you've even started. This is a lovely thing to do.
Make sure you say thank you after.
Here are some useful links:
There are many people out there offering re-wilding courses. Bringing us back into connection with nature. Here are some of these people:
And this beginner's guide to forest bathing: