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Thinking Out Loud: Using Nature to Help You Get Through Grief!

Thinking Out Loud: Using Nature to Help You Get Through Grief!

   “Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better” … Albert Einstein
   I love jogging near the ocean or near rivers, lakes, and ponds.  Such a habit has so often brightened my day and restored my very being during times of immense sorrow and grief.  Many studies have revealed the restorative and healing potential of nature, especially during difficulties in life.  My own personal experience has enabled me to capture my insights and wrap them into the five healing powers of nature that I would like to share with you at this time.
   First, the healing power of the senses – When we are in nature, all our senses are immediately heightened.  By taking time to evoke all the wonder that is there, we can renew ourselves in the beauty surrounding us.  The sensation of a grain of sand stuck between our toes or the flash of a darting minnow in the shallows is a sensory example of how interacting with nature helps us heal.  Enjoy gulping in the heady fragrance of wild honeysuckle or hear the sweet call of birdsong from afar.  The colors of a feather splayed out in its glory, its smoothness gently stroked.  These simple experiences allow us to escape from the ordinary into the sublime world that nature is. Our sensations come alive, enabling us to feel invigorated, to feel better, and to enjoy a stolen moment of pleasure in the midst of our grieving world.
   Second, the healing power of a special place – Nature has so many places we can escape to; it can be the beach far away or lying on our lawn looking up at the moon singing its song through the stars.  We will each find our own special place where we feel connected to nature, where we can shout and cry in our loneliness, where we can escape from our lives for just a second or two.  Here we can inhale all it offers to us freely.  It can be our quiet place, our safe place, our healing place, our forgetting place, our special place.
   Third, the healing power of quietness – A peaceful environment can help us to clear the mish-mash of random thoughts and images that constantly pour through our head.  We can breathe in the fresh, clean air, and as our minds gently clear, we are able to stop the chaos for a while, allowing contemplation, reflection, and inspiration to flow in their place.
   Fourth, the healing power of getting on – Nature and movement are happy partners. The benefits of activity are well known, affecting us positively on an emotional and physical level.  Opposingly, inertia and immobility deplete our energy and restrain us in a fog of “stuckness.”  Nature provides us with a beautiful environment to walk, swim, jog, or cycle, giving us a surge of feel-good chemicals throughout our body, as well as many more benefits.
   Finally, the healing power of regeneration – Nature goes on no matter what; the sun rises every day, spring follows winter, bare trees form buds.  When the bush is damaged by fire, we soon can see signs of new growth, as seedlings sprout and form out of the blackened earth.  It reminds us that as nature renews itself continually, we too can be renewed on our journey through grief.
John T. Catrett, III
Scissortail Hospice Chaplain
306 North Main Street, Suite E
Bristow, OK 74010
918.352.3080

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