Renewal in the Woods
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden
For the better part of a week I have been hanging out in the woods, hugging trees and drinking in freshly-released oxygen. Standing on a trail surrounded by moss-laden rocks and trees while three feet from the river, I intentionally stood still and invited the fresh air to enter my lungs and skin while awake to the osmosis effect. Aaaah. Renewal.
I spoke aloud, “God, I accept this fresh air as evidence of my body reviving and renewing itself. Distribute this life-affirming energy within my body wherever it is needed, and repair my perspective so that I deliver and see more Love.” The fatigue and stress pockets in my body transformed as I stood witness to a nature-based healing within me after months of intense shift, loss, and changes. With each breath, I returned to my Core and felt my Soul doing handstands and backflips. Vitality was rebooting within me.
Science now can tell us exactly what happens when we hug a tree. Oxytocin increases in the body and joy floods our being. Studies show the power of each tree and the benefits of their contribution to the body and the environment. Essential oil which has been used as medicine long before our conventional medicine and has documented the power of breathing in organic plant-based scents. Loaded with all kinds of mental knowledge, I prefer to let it go and just feel the environment surrounding me witnessing a life cycle active in front of me. The feel of it all opens my heart and activates my imagination to receive revelations; my favorite, is the vastness of God’s Love for me as evidenced through nature.
Artists have a powerful relationship with nature. Poets and song writers use land metaphors that evoke an inner resonance with their work. (You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like a mountain in spring time, like a walk in the rain. J. Denver) Painters capture the dimensionality and perceptions of those in the creator’s seat. And, mystics, have gained inspiration by the solitude of this great majesty.
Years ago I facilitated a retreat by a river. One of the activities we did was take a nature walk and choose a plant, rock, or tree to have a dialogue with. Each of us brought our big life questions to ask our chosen natural representative our heart-laden questions then stop and listen. The guidance for each of us was so very powerful. One woman stood in front of a tree with its leaves changing colors from summer to fall with some on the ground being recycled. She asked the tree about a current burden she held and saw the change in seasonal cycles as a message to her to be willing to change her own color; to ripen into a new self.
Our last day of the retreat we held our own made-up church service in the river. Folding chairs were placed within the gentle river flow and we sat with our toes immersed in the stream. Standing in the forest, now, I am back in that church. I am aware of all of the ways The Mother has supported me and how blessed my life is and has been. I make a mental note to return soon and to bring with me my big questions. Today is not a day for questions, but a day for renewal.
Join Reverend Bonnie three Thursday evenings beginning November 29th at her home in Phoenix for chanting, silence and meditation. 6:30 to 8 pm. Suggested donation $25 per evening. Contact The Rev for an address.