“Excessive stress hurts our nature so much that if it became a movie, the candy stand would make money selling Kleenex.” ~ Author Unknown
I had to include this right-on statement. It still amazes me the amount of stress building stories I carry with me. I live with them every day, some days better than others.
ACTIVITY: To reduce or relax stress, visit a natural area and get its consent to match a natural attraction you find there. Physically assume its shape and/or motion. For example: To match the radiating shape of a tree leaf, posture yourself with your body and arms spread like the leaf and wave as it loves to do in the wind. Note what you sense while doing this.
This activity is similar to analytical therapies. It helps differentiate stories form the past with opportunities in the present, including the opportunity to psychologically change past stories that stress us. It helps us identify injuries we sustain from fighting the unseen war with a tree or nature that we are taught to engage in.
I was in my yard, gaining my consent from Mother Nature there, and I was again drawn to the same rose bush as my last activity! I stood in front of this massive bush and I need to be honest, I felt silly, overwhelmed, like I couldn’t do this activity! My instructions as I understood them to be were to physically assume the shape that could mean someone may see me!
It took me a few minutes to really allow myself the stress of moving into this experience. I stood in front of the bush looking around kind of like a kid refusing to eat my carrots!
Then in my mind I decided to get a hold of it, out loud I spoke… close your eyes. As soon as I did that, I no longer cared who was watching, they might just see something beautiful I didn’t need to have my eyes open, I could see that bush and its loves as if my neighbors were not there!
I brought my hands in really tight to my chest, sunk my head to join them. I stayed in this posture, like the bud of a rose. I stayed in the state to truly FEEL what it feels… it was tight and constricting but not in a harmful way. I was aware of all my muscles clenched and strong. As I began to feel restless in this position, I controlled very slowly how I was opening… I could feel the warmth of the partial sun nurse me and it gave me life as I slowly allowed my head to raise as my hands unfolded… then my arms… it started to rain but I didn’t allow it to stop the pace… I remained in this slowly and let it feed me.
I could see in my mind’s eye the different stages of bloom, until my arms were fully extended to my sides my head looking up to the sky, rain washing my beauty. I allowed myself the intense feeling of becoming that flower… and as I stood in the most outward of positions, I felt proud, and beautiful and strong. I had purpose. I wonder what kind of yoga pose we could name this as…I thought to myself well that was cool!
But it wasn’t over! I began to wilt, arms falling slowly head dropping back down… I thought I should feel sad yet I didn’t. The warmth of the sun stayed with me; the rain still poured. I drooped and fell to the ground, fulfilling my purpose. Even in this it was not over! I felt the need to repeat the entire process but this time with my eyes open It was magnificent. The beauty was overwhelming and I got so much from Mother Earth that I felt peace for days, a wonderful activity. I thanked the bush so much for all it had offered to nurse me. What an awesome experience.
INSTRUCTIONS: Try to remember if or when you have felt this relax sensation(s) before, indoors or outdoors. It has a history throughout your life and the life of the planet. For example, you may have sensed it when you once sat in a rocking chair, climbed a tree on a windy day, or stood on a swing. Ask yourself: When you experienced this sensation in the past, was the feeling considered to be an expression of the natural world? If not, under what label, concept or interpretation was it placed?
I have felt these sensations before but not consecutively. When I was curled in a bud posture. I have felt that way recently as I stepped out of an abusive relationship, coming to a knowing and beginning to break free from that. Aware of how long the process has taken but how open my bloom has become… I have purpose, and joy, and peace. The sun continues to shine on me as the rain continues to wash me in all its glory. Up until this point in my life I was aware of these sensations from time to time, but I was not aware it was an expression of the natural world. It was labeled ….just life I suppose.
Too often, our natural senses are thwarted by cultural wranglers. We “toilet train” these senses to bond or addict us to society’s ways. Can you remember any incidents, beliefs or people who removed you from enjoying this particular natural sense? Are these stressful past stories alive in you? If you saw somebody enjoying this natural sense, what might come to mind?
There were stress producing stories present at the beginning of my activity for sure. Things like “ummm I think mom has lost it! She is curled up in front of a bush outside, Oh no wait, she is growing now… yup arms outstretched in front of the bush, she has definitely lost it!” or… if a neighbor sees me, what will they think… I look forward to a day in this process when I really have none of these stories control me. But I have lived with them a long time and let them feed on me. and I appreciate the process: identify and discard.
Part of the matching activity is using the Reconnecting With Nature (RWN) 9 activity to get your new brain to match your inner nature with the natural world and relax. Activity 9 is where you write: My favorite plant, animal, mineral or sensation while doing this activity is:
- I like it because it (insert statement of attraction)
- Complete this sentence fully, state why you like it.
The plant in this natural area that I like is my rose bush.
I like it because it is beautiful.
I like myself because I am beautiful. (This is still a difficult thing for me to do)
The important things I learned include that even in death there is purpose, I am nature, that everything I will ever need is already here.
I enjoy the fact that nature brings me the peace and comfort I seek.
From bud to death life has a plan and purpose that is natural and beautiful.
Mike Cohen says “we can do some of his activities with a potted plant, and I actually had one client where this was shown to be correct.”
My client had been in a motor vehicle accident and had multiple injuries that prevented her from getting out and about. She was in chronic pain and was having severe anxiety attacks.
There was a nice potted plant in her living room (I think it was a dieffenbachia, but I’m not sure). I described how we are in a mutually-supportive role with plants — they provide us with oxygen and we provide them with CO2. I suggested that when she was feeling anxious, she should breathe with the plant, exchanging gasses and recognize that they were being mutually supportive. As she did so, I could see her visibly relaxing. Within a few minutes she reported that her anxiety was gone and her pain was somewhat reduced.
Over the next few weeks, she successfully used this technique whenever she was anxious. As her physical abilities improved, she began spending time in the garden and then began gardening from her wheelchair. Her anxiety was completely controlled without medication.
I don’t know what she bonded to, but she developed a sense that the plant (and later her garden) was her friend and that they were in a mutually supportive relationship. This feeling was able to help her
overcome her anxiety.”
“I live in the projects, and I’m broke, limited on the gas needed to find nature in my area. “Surely you jest!” states my literate mind after a long stressful week of work and two long days of heavy study attempting to uncover the secrets of the universe…. Literally! I declared that I need a moment in nature. So, optimistic on what type of nature lies outside my project window I begin to see life all around me in what seems to be a dead area. I observed a small tree not dead but resting as does most life in the winter. Surrounding the tree was numerous seeds or acorns, nestled in the soggy ground drenched in water from weeks of snow. And let me tell you about the snow, the tree, and the seeds explaining to me; relax let life seep in, drink up that which the highest has placed on you. The plain gray turned to vibrant peace, dark brown represented protection and comfort the seeds lay there as a mother was nursing them. My own stress and overwhelmed spirit began to be nursed by the same mother that fed the seeds the tree and the ground. I learned to relax and let it all seep in.
“I sat in the full moon light. Letting it bathe me, letting my heated frustrations leak out as the cool completeness of this moment settled in. I remembered the quote about “sensing anxiety producing or discomforting Webstrings”…why is it that my relationships sometimes seem to twinge my hurt natural attractions (“we have no choice to act from a place of hurt”). I breathed and felt again. Saying attraction to myself. The moon looked down at me, always whole and full even when all I can see is a piece of her…or I have a different point of view.
I learned about remembering to just be and to allow my partner the opportunity to just be, as well. To let my hurt feelings to just be and instead choose to in the moment and find an attraction. Letting this frustration be a guide instead of a hindrance. I chose to let my attraction to the coolness of the night and fullness of the moon fill me. Breathing I felt that I could return to my partner and establish a natural attraction affinity again allowing us to build on our relationship instead of letting it crack the relationship.
My experience in nature shows me I am a person who gets good feelings from sitting in the cool moon light because it feels balancing to me. I can release my heated frustrations and come back to a temperature that allows me to feel balanced, supported and loved.”
“The relaxation activity I love best is laying on the earth and sensing everything all around, even listening to the microbes. I have shared with more than a dozen people now. What I feel when doing this is the hold that earth has on me. I feel gravity and a sense of the earth actually holding me. When everything is falling apart, I know the earth will hold me this way, no matter what.
If I wish to visit weightlessness, in space, I know I can someday (if I can afford it) but the most likely outcome will be to sense an even greater longing and belonging to the blue and white marble floating and pulling me back home.
Project Nature connect teaches us we are all of one community. To learn this profound belonging is crucial to any wellbeing to follow.
“People naturally change in order to gain pleasure and avoid pain.” That says it all in just a few short words. When an extremely basic and natural attraction instinct is followed, wellbeing and better physical, mental and emotional health is the result.”
“Today as I was sleeping here in Afghanistan, I heard an alarm. When we hear the alarm, we are supposed to go to the bunkers if we are not in a hard structure. Well, my building is hard structure therefore I didn’t move but then I heard many gunshots. When I came to work, I saw military in position. At first it felt scary then I turned my attention to the beautiful mountains still covered with snow and it softened my heart.
When I go to the dining hall I eat alone because I eat so slow it feels more comfortable to be alone but that is a time of reflection and I people watch. I don’t go to church, I tried but I could not stand all the dogma…. I tried many times. There are glimpses of times when I feel peaceful inside.
Being here in the war zone and being in this class has increased my awareness of Nature, I have noticed things here that I did not see before. I have become appreciative of more of what we call the simple things in life. Therefore, I have become better even in the midst of lockdown.”
“Several things in your post this week spoke to me. I loved your idea about the school garden. Interestingly enough starting a community pea patch came on my radar screen this week as well. I’m a board member on a coalition that is trying to save an out of use school as a park. It’s just down the street from me–my son went to the school when it was still open–but we’ve played there for decades. At our coalition meeting we talked about doing a guerilla garden and will meet again this week to discuss the idea. I laughed when I read: I cannot take one pastier white, pimply faced, stressed and twitchy teenage boy telling me about how he spent the entire weekend indoors playing video games! Perhaps next year my answer will be to hand him a trowel.” Sounds like a great idea to me.
It is the time of year for regeneration. My tulips are starting to peek through…I loved this thought–
“There was evidence of life and growth from what appeared to be dead. Also, I noticed the intelligence of preservation * the power of the instinct to just hunker down and preserve strength so that one can survive.”
This also spoke to me: “From these quotes I learned that humans have always known or intuited their role in the natural world * the connection and commonalities between every living cell and creation. Something else I recognized or learned from these quotes: how very far we’ve strayed from valuing this type of intelligence, this way of knowing, and how badly we need to return.” This week, I learned how badly I need to return to my eco-intelligence.”
“I have come to this park looking for a particular spot for my stress management activity today. As attractions I considered the open vista, the monstrous live oak trees, the water geyser in the pond and the camellia bushes. But it was the sprightly yellow that drew my attention and gives me pause to sit amongst these bobbing, innocent heads of a daffodil patch. “Who are you without your names and labels?”, I ask.
“We are shoots from the Earth heralding the arrival of Spring. We are gold reflecting and absorbing the sun’s radiance. We are blossoms of the Earth and glitter from the sky pronouncing “Love! Love! Love! Love your life in all its glory right now. Now is all you have. Isn’t it golden?” green and gold…we are awaiting spring!”
Who am I without names and labels? I am a mystery from The Great One seeking connections to sustain myself in balance and harmony. I too come from the Earth over a long spell of evolution and seek love and a desire to share it in more than human terms and form. I am all there is now and forever. I so agree, we are all one!
As I return my glance to these yellow stars, they seem more vivid and embolden by our communion. Perhaps they are a celestial choir come down from the sky and assembled before me. The less perfect ones are no less precious than a pristine stem.
The activity made me search for just the right locale and drive ten minutes up to the park. Little did I know I would commune with such divine essence. Many concepts and sentences from the reading stir my knowing at a profound level and by doing the activity I regain much of what is otherwise muted consciously and unconsciously until an opportunity arrives to expose such truth. Everything in its time.
I feel refreshed from coming outside to breathe clean, spring air and listen to birds and the water geyser. My heart is replenished from a sense of restriction by giving and receiving with the yellow trumpets. It is from relationship that we understand ourselves. Agreed, one understands self then others as self.
I would be sure to regret any withdrawal of my ability to experience this relationship, but only for a moment as I am certain a different attraction would replace it even from a different dimension. This is a deep thought. I do agree that nature is in all things as well as dimensional. Thank you for sharing this and bringing the thought forward.
I trust my experience of daffodil is real – sheer petals, ruffled rims, haphazard faces and buds yet to open. I am inextricably drawn.
Yellow is the color associated with the third chakra located at the solar plexus of the human body. The element is fire as in fire in the belly (digestive system), and our affirmation of life experience and willingness to achieve. It is from here that we absorb solar energy which nourishes our ethereal body, thereby vitalizing and maintaining our physical body and reducing stress. The third chakra relates to our willingness to act, with self-confidence and vision for growth and expansion. I am sweetly reminded of these dynamics from these delicate flowers. For myself it is worthwhile to claim this interpretation towards my own end and value its worth, my own in gold.”
“For this stress reduction activity, I walked down to the beach closest to my neighborhood. Though it was the middle of winter, we were at the tail end of a month and a half of sunshine, so the beach was bare and warm.
After gaining consent and locating immediate attractions (both with my eyes open and closed for a while), I found myself to really embrace the present moment and allow nature to enter my psyche. The things I found to be attractive by doing this activity was:
- The sun on my body- producing such pleasant warmth.
- The cool breeze of wind on my skin- refreshing and current.
- The sound of wind blowing through the nearby trees and bushes – calming.
- The noise of the waves lapping ashore -soothing.
By simply being there in the attractions of the moment and taking in the intelligence nature was providing, I realized that nothing was annoying or un-pleasant. There is no harsh, abrupt, or annoying sounds in nature like we have to hear on a daily basis with technology. Everything in nature is working in harmony. I was most attracted to this state of peaceful harmony. It is the way the world worked before the age of man with his devices.
I learned that it is nature’s mild way of knowing and relating that creates and sustains the natural world’s diverse balance and beauty. We have the inherent ability to think and relate in balance that does not produce stress and deteriorate wellness of people and the environment. Nothing in nature is out of place (annoying) and this definitely enhanced my trustfulness of nature. It made me feel hopeful and provided a means to an end. I look at the beauty that surrounds me and feel blessed for I am a valuable part of this web of life, and I can make a difference.”
“My temple is under the Koa trees and some other ornamental just beside the strawberry guava, and near Hibiscus bushes. The Koa is a very powerful and beautiful wood. I am proud that we planted this one ourselves, and it was just pruned, it has become so tall. Already the branches hold up arm loads of streaming sunlight that is filtered through lacy branches. The trunk is much like an altar, its wood is polished by wind and the bark is smooth and just barely red on the outside. Koa is the preferred rare wood of kings and canoe builders. Today it is one of the rarest of all wood on earth, but we have our very own and we belong to its “congregation.”
Among the spreading branches spiders weave silken webs that teach their own web lessons. The webs are often six feet from one branch, or trunk to another, and the strands are so fine they are invisible., so one must be careful, and “respectful” when walking near them.
That one will automatically do this respectfully shows this is a place of natural instincts, NIAL, and reverence.
- I am a person who can be strong, and survive as the Koa forests, so rare, have done.
- I am a person who can get good feelings from spiders and their art, where once I disliked them.
- I am a person who knows the sacred beauty of all sacred areas is not for me alone, but for all before, and all to come be they microbes or men and women.”
“The pull for peace was so strong to go bush walking that I called a friend and asked them to join me. On arrival I was delighted to see the Giraffe’s with their stately pose standing so close and just observing, while at the same time protecting the Zebra who had a dead baby lying on the ground. I gently moved toward it, and I think it had swallowed plastic as there was something in the mouth but no signs of teeth or claw marks from another predator. I watched two Zebra standing close to it with really sad eyes and my heart went out to them. How can man be so negligent with their garbage?
After a while we moved on and had a good walk observing many butterflies with the same dominant colour. One group were dark orange with light yellow on the bottom wing tips, others were yellow with the orange and magenta spots on the upper wing tips, and others were caramel coloured with chocolate brown on the tips of all four wings with yellow spots. In another area of the forest, we had white coloured butterflies with magenta on the top wings and yellow dots in the magenta. As we reached the top of the hill a beautiful specimen of a Red Buck jumped out of the bushes and moved swiftly from view. The final gift we received before going home were the miniature daisies of rose, light pink and purple, scattered over the hill and resembling a colourful carpet and a magnificent view, and this once again validated our love of nature.
I do so love Africa with all its nature and its many different faces. The sad eyes of the Zebra Webstring connected me to them. The beauty of the butterflies attractively connected me to nature’s essence and strengthened my pure love for Mother Earth. If I could not have this experience, it would bruise my spirit. Standing among the Zebra and Giraffe enhanced my sense of self-worth and my trustfulness of nature’s powers.”