COMMUNITY, SUPPORT & HEALING
for adult children of alcoholics

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Nature Heals

Why Nature Makes Us Feel So Much Better

You often hear me say “nature heals.” You often see me post about “nature time” in my feed and in my stories. There’s a reason. Nature does actually heal us in a profound way. It’s why I’ve made time spent in nature an integral part of our events and our soon to be launched Change of Air guide. After another weekend of hiking that felt ever so good, I thought it would be powerful to re-share with you exactly HOW nature heals:

“Nature restores mental functioning in the same way that food and water restore bodies. The business of everyday life — dodging traffic, making decisions and judgment calls, interacting with strangers — is depleting, and what man-made environments take away from us, nature gives back. There’s something mystical and, you might say, unscientific about this claim, but its heart actually rests in what psychologists call attention restoration theory, or ART. According to ART, urban environments are draining because they force us to direct our attention to specific tasks (e.g., avoiding the onslaught of traffic) and grab our attention dynamically, compelling us to “look here!” before telling us to instead “look over there!” These demands are draining — and they’re also absent in natural environments. Forests, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans demand very little from us, though they’re still engaging, ever changing, and attention-grabbing. The difference between natural and urban landscapes is how they command our attention. While man-made landscapes bombard us with stimulation, their natural counterparts give us the chance to think as much or as little as we’d like, and the opportunity to replenish exhausted mental resources.”

Ready to plan your next outdoor adventure yet? Even a short nature walk daily can be transformative. I’ve linked this entire article from The Atlantic in our bio. I hope you’ll read and see for yourself how necessary nature is to our healing. It has been a savior for me and that’s why it’s a key part of everything we do.

Out of the Shadows, Into the Light

I’ve had this plant for 4 years. When I first got it, I planted it with another type of succulent. One with tall, bushy, bright purple flowers. I planted those purple flowers right in the center. Big, brash, proud, clearly the most important thing in the pot. And for three years, those purple flowers remained center stage. And these guys you see now – tall, flowering, majestic af – were but tiny little under-succulents to the purple flowers. Just little ground cover. Barely seen. Always in the shadow of the towering purple blooms.

I then moved this pot to my desert house. And a miraculous thing happened. The new air, the nature, the sun, the completely new environment was not so good for the proud and showy purple flowers. They died within a month. I thought for sure the under-succulents would, too. But! But! Those little guys were just waiting for the right spot to do their thing. To become so fully themselves. So fully alive. I had no idea they could grow this tall. I had no idea they could bloom like this with tiny delicate flowers all over. I had no idea that all this beauty was waiting there, years in shadow, for just the right climate to shine. And it’s even more beautiful than I ever imagined.

We are these succulents. And we are finding our climate. We are healing so we can create the environment we need inside ourselves and around ourselves. And oh my goodness will our strength and power and beauty astound us when we are ready to come out of the shadows.

Get Outside

Get outside this weekend. Get outside your head. Get outside your situation. And get into your body and heart. Stand at the top of a mountain and feel the air in your lungs. The wind on your face. The dirt or sand or grass beneath your feet.

It may feel cheesy and so outside your comfort zone of staying in and worrying over the intensity of your past or your current situation. Yet nature acts as a soothing balm for all your pain, all your worries. You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest this weekend, but committing to a little nature time will lighten your load and bring you back to YOU. Promise.