"In a world filled with doubt, step into a garden to know Divine Intervention exists."
— Mary Maude Daniels
Some of the best memories I have as a child took place in the great outdoors; running through the field that extended our backyard, climbing up in a nearby tree to gain higher perspective, and retreating in the row of lilac bushes along side of our home. I have wonderful memories of my sister and I making crowns out of dandelions, and stringing them into necklaces in the balmy Midwestern months of summer. These childhood memories, planted years ago, remind me of my call to nature – my call to nurture.
When my children were young I was fortunate to live close to forest preserves and parks that provided them with their vitamin “N” (their nature vitamin). Each season we witnessed the ever changing natural world and cycles of life. Today with memories rooted, I feel fortunate to partake in the gift of appreciating nature with my granddaughter’s who instinctively know they are a fluid part of it all. Reminding myself of the words of Terry Krautwurst, in that, “Our challenge isn’t so much to teach children about the natural world, but to find ways to nurture and sustain the instinctive connections they already carry.”
It’s easy for our lives to get so full that we forget the importance of just “being” in nature. We often take for granted that if it wasn't for the rotation of the Sun and Moon, those occasional rainy days, and the towering trees that are so important for the air we breathe, we would not survive. When we slow down with nature, we can become sensitive to how much we are a part of all things. We can breathe.
Connecting with the natural world is fundamental to our mind, body, and spirit, in so much that, it’s been found that individuals who are healing do so quicker when they have natural light and views of trees out their hospital windows, compared to the sight of brick buildings. More and more, studies remind us that immersing ourselves in nature can enhance our mood and self-esteem, reduce feelings of anger, confusion, depression, and tension.
Yet, you may be thinking, it’s not so easy anymore to live in the green. And that’s true for many. Today more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, making it understandable why we may be lacking in our nature nurturance. However, to this lack of nature sets in place an important goal. That the more high-tech our lives become, the more important it is to balance our lives naturally. Even if we live the city life, there is usually a park nearby that we can learn to “be” in. We can also bring the outdoors in so that we are not completely nature deprived.
Here are a few ways we can increase our nature neurons in our living spaces.
Bring in the Green with Plants
I have plants in just about every one of my rooms. Aside from making me just plain happy, they help to lower airborne pollutants and have a calming effect on the environment. They can also be useful...on my desk along with one of my orchids, I keep a basil plant that I use for cooking.
Having plants in our homes can add to our tranquility and incite creativity. Aesthetically pleasing,
these living organisms also benefit the quality of our lives. Some plants actually take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Orchids, succulents, and epiphytic bromeliads fit this description and are great plants to keep in our bedrooms to refresh the night air.
*Please be sure to keep plants out of reach of young children and pets.
Fresh Flowers and Fruits
For most of us just the thought of receiving flowers evokes joyful thoughts. I can’t think of anything that cultivates appreciation and gratitude in me more than a lovely bouquet of flowers, especially if I have had an active role in the growing process. Flowers have strong emotional effects on our well-being crossing over into all age groups. They are known to increase positive mood and create a more welcome and shared environment.
In the event you have allergies, consider a bowl of lemons, limes, apples, oranges, or a combination of the like in your home and work spaces. Glass, wood, or hand painted bowls can help you take them out of the kitchen into your living and work places.
Light Up Your Mood
Light uplifts our spirits. If your home doesn’t allow for natural sunlight, be sure to switch the lights on for your mood and mental health on those cloudy days or when you’re feeling a bit blue. When possible, use halogen light, it is the closest to natural lighting. Just be sure to keep the bulbs away from curtains or fabric, as they can get very hot.
Another way to brighten rooms, is to hang a large mirror that will reflect natural and artificial light. Adding shiny objects such as accents made of silver, chrome, copper, or crystal will also create a happier reflection in your home, and on your “inner” interior.
Have fun with the type of lighting your use in your home and don't forget the candles. They're not just for special occasions, They're also to remind us of the light we bring to life.
Nature is not only a great tonic for our mental and physical health but a wonderful way to connect with our creative spirit. This week, while at the market, be grateful for the foods that someone has grown in distance places so that we can have the convenience of nutrition at our tables. Appreciate a little glimpse of nature and remind yourself how it can nurture us in so many ways.
If you would like a little visual inspiration, you can visit my Nature page here.
© Cathi Curen 2017