Weathering life’s storms

How the living planet and our own wild, wilful bodies, are an extension of each other

Children use five times more words when playing outdoors compared to indoors; nature helps us find the words. As an outdoor psychotherapist, I see this every day. So many of us express a longing to return to more natural and connected ways of being. We may have reached a point in our lives where we’ve become disillusioned with the old systems and burnt out from the pressures of modern life. We not only want life to taste organic, we long for it to feel organic – authentic and nourishing.

Life can be weathering. Our pressures, griefs, and transitions are many, but when we begin the process of reconnecting with nature in mindful, embodied and often creative ways, we start rebuilding a relationship that can offer us long-term, renewable restoration and repair. We begin to see the many ways that the living planet and our own wild, wilful bodies, are an extension of each other.

After an unseasonably long, rainy spring, now on the brink of summer, I’m reminded that the weather and landscape is echoed inside of us. When clients are struggling to find the words to articulate their inner world, I often ask them to turn outwards, where weather is the mood of the mind and landscape is their physical body. What is the forecast? What’s coming in from the horizon? What terrain are you walking right now? We don’t get to choose the weather or what life throws at us, but the natural world offers us companionship and a template for how to sit with, move with, or even welcome what arrives into our day.

As the seasons shift, we’re invited into remembrance of this impermanence. We might start our mornings by unfurling and gently shaking our bodies (this is revitalising). We might make a list of three beautiful things seen from the kitchen window (recognising beauty increases positive emotion and awe reduces bodily inflammation). We might plan to explore a new footpath in our local area – a commitment to blaze trails inside and out, trusting that new movement
on the outside often promotes new thinking on the inside.

Ruth Allen is a geologist, psychotherapist, and the author of Grounded: How connection with nature can improve our mental and physical wellbeing and Weathering: How the earth’s deep wisdom can help us endure life’s storms. Follow her journey via her website or on instagram.


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