Guest blog: How does nature call to you?
I am delighted to share this post from Kathryn Walton. I met Kathryn last year when I attended one of her restorative self-care outdoor workshops. It was a real highlight of a tough year. Here, Kathryn shares some inspiring thoughts around the incredible role nature can play in supporting our health and wellbeing ... if we just pay attention.
Throughout time and place, nature has played a varied but always essential role in the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants. I wonder, how does nature call to you?
Nature has an amazingly holistic way of supporting human life - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Something wondrous happens when you spend time outdoors and intentionally bring your attention to your surroundings. Your mind begins to notice details and patterns in both your external and internal worlds, your heart connects with your physical sensations and deeper feelings, and you experience a sense of awe and respect for your world.
There is no other space like nature that supports healing, nurturing, processing, calming and learning. Even the hardest life lessons are mirrored in nature and incorporate the strategies needed to manage them. Nature doesn’t judge anyone who ventures into her world, but she does give your inner child permission to run, skip, climb, jump, twirl, dream and to be still. So still that you can feel your heart beating and your breath at the tip of your nostrils. Still enough that you notice the delicate aromas around you, hear the trees whispering to each other and feel the breeze in your hair. Nature is a place to feel fully alive whether it’s through stillness or activity.
With a symbolic language that needs no spoken words, nature supports you to connect with, understand and process your inner and outer life. She has a habit of calling me into her arms each day, reminding me that I’m part of a much bigger world. When I spend time outdoors, nature’s embrace reminds me I’m not alone. I breathe deeply in and out and become one with the waves as they glide across the sand at the beach. Touching the rough bark of an iron bark tree, I recognise my own strength and resilience. And walking across a dry pebbly creek bed I know that the challenges of today will become a strong path for me to walk on tomorrow.
The author John Masefield wrote one of my favourite poems called Sea-Fever which was published in 1902. He beautifully depicts the calling he has to connect and reconnect with nature by the sea. He knows the peace to be experienced and he yearns for that feeling of relaxation and jollity that he knows he’ll find there.
Sea-Fever by John Masefield
I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
I wonder, how does nature call to you?
Kathryn Walton integrates her love of physical exercise, family, bush adventures, nature and creative arts with her background in mental health social work to guide women towards healthy lifestyle habits.
You can read Kathryn's blog at kathrynwalton.com.au
and follow the Outdoors is my Therapy podcast on your favourite podcast app or online at kathrynwalton.com.au/wp1/podcast