Saturday, January 19, 2008

Walk in the woods rant


i've learned a few things over the years, but one that is perhaps the best medicine for most spiritual, mental, emotional ailments is the good old walk-in-the-woods cure.

seems that no matter what time of year or the weather conditions, there is something magical that occurs when i suit up and march out to the nearest wooded path (sans iPod) to get some fresh air and a fresh perspective on things.

despite the cold, muddy/icy conditions, i've been out twice in the last two days - tells you something about my condition!

this morning as i was crunching along on the iced-over mud trying to get into the spirit of this little journey without breaking my neck, i realized how little i have done this since last fall.

as i tried to clear my mind, which seemed a useless effort, i started considering what good medicine this walking in nature has always been for me. sometimes i resist it, but once i get there, i always feel some of the burdens of life lighten up as does my perspective on everything.

i ruminated on the fact that while i felt 'down' or 'sad' or even god-forbid 'depressed' during difficult times in my life, i had somehow found strength through various healthy practices (spiritual connection, good friends, exercise, nature, chocolate . . . ). more than once, well-meaning doctor types have tried to convince me that pharmaceuticals could 'help' me get through these times.

it's been tempting. i've had some serious losses, but i've been fortunate not to encounter anything other than what i consider to be situational or normal depression during these times.

i started to think about how completely depressing our culture really is! no wonder all these anti-depressant drugs are so popular. yes, we have more material things than almost anyone on earth, but our spiritual, emotional, mental state seems to be constantly under threat of broadcasted negativity and fear. i think we are a culture that is so caught up in avoiding the truth about certain things and the pain we'd have to feel to accept it that we just keep running in various ways to push it aside - don't feel, don't think, don't stop. it occurs to me that the boom in the pharmaceutical culture makes sense.

i'm not saying that medicine hasn't saved lives or isn't appropriate for some folks, but i do think we as a society are always looking for the quick and easy way to avoid facing our collective and personal realities. i know i'm guilty of it sometimes, but sometimes i find that going back to basics and good old fashioned common sense helps me get back to some sense of balance in the midst of all the chaos. the woods and nature help me with that. puts me in touch with something more enduring than the fleeting images electronically blasted my way.

the rocks and trees sometimes reflect some sadness from pollution that is affecting them, but other than that, they are a quiet steady reminder that there is life despite the illusion of winter or stockmarkets falling or war or epidemics of obesity and sickness or cancer. somehow nature just keeps chugging along.

i pick up on this and it helps me to realize that i too can keep chugging along.

so, make some time to go out and acknowledge some nature today. good medicine.

meg

1 comment:

Morgen said...

Hi Meg,
I enjoyed reading this and can totally relate. I live in a village in an amazing part of BC in Canada. When I step outside my door, nature is there to receive me, no matter how I am feeling. Walking everyday in the forest is the most healing thing I know. I'm glad that you found that solace too. I feel that connecting with nature is the answer to many of of our crazy world's problems today.