Here we are in MID-summer. Peaches, paddle boarding, piggybacking and outdoor play. It is a great time to get outside to savor and celebrate the sunshine. I just returned from a visit with my Vancouver family, hiking through the temperate rain forest and playing in the tall pine trees. It was fabulous to be in a return to the type of forest I grew up playing in, hiking in and exploring.
Back here in Colorado, I am enjoying the forests bursting with life, the rivers flowing, the trails blooming. Nature is peaking all around us!
Being in nature is a very big part of my personal recipe for peace, centering, and energy.
So when I say 'GET NAKED' in nature, what I really mean (other than spontaneous skinny dipping and irresistible forest streaking) is that we can go into nature and shed all that is not serving us. We can reveal our truth, and nature will guide us. We can let go of what is blocking us, and nature will lead us into the light. Nature is a powerful place to come back to ourselves and find our center.
When I go outside with an intention, it is with a body prayer, or with a calling for guidance and clarity. I often sit on a rock and contemplate, write in my journal, or simply cleanse through my sweat, my tears or my sorrows.
Whether it is the ocean or the mountains – being in nature keeps me attuned to my intuition and inner wisdom.
According to a recent article published in the New York Times, citing a study from the National Academy of Science, those people who had strolled along the quiet, tree-lined paths regularly showed meaningful improvements in their mental health.
A little shy to get naked? No worries... Here are my "Get Naked in Nature" nuggets.
• Find your spot
It doesn't matter where you live or whether you have mountains near by. What matters is that you take yourself outside in the expansiveness of nature, and explore yourself. Any place that feels sacred to you will work. Sit near a little stream, under a tree, or in the wide open park. Bundle up and walk freely in the snow, feeling the flakes melt on your cheeks. When we have a sacred spot or a power spot that we can go to outside, it is like a sanctuary for our soul.
• Leave it
It’s hard I know, but try to leave all of your technology at home. This is for the specific purpose of finding some peace of mind. When you are going on an intentional pilgrimage to cleanse your mind, your ringing cell phone will distract your from your connection to nature and to self. The more peace and quiet you can be, the better for inner listening.
• State your intention and desire
As you walk focus on your intention and your desire, ask for guidance, wisdom or clarity. I have done this on long walks in nature and it is soul medicine for me.
• Infuse a sacred item
Often I bring a sacred item with me on ritual hikes for the purpose of infusing them with the restorative and insightful qualites of my experience. This sacred item will then act as a reminder for me to remember what was revealed to me, what I am intending or what will anchor me in my day-to-day life. A crystal from home, or even find an natural item from your time outside such as a rock, a leaf or a feather will work just fine. Bring your item home and place somewhere that you can be reminded often.
• Move from your inner rhythm A certain grace occurs when we move in nature hooring our inner rhythm. It is as if we synch up from the inside out. Because we are truly part of nature ¬¬- every cell, every breath and every intuition – when we are honoring our inner rhythm things flow organically. This means on days when you are energetic - sweat it out, hike it out, move your body with fierceness. When you are more tired, restful, melancholic – enjoy sitting by a river, walking with a slow and relaxing pace, or even laying in the tall grass.
Also, if you need a little time this summer immersed in nature – time to find your personal rhythm, shed the old, and restore in the Colorado Sangre de Cristo mountains and hot springs – be sure to check out the Eat.Pray.Yoga Colorado retreat coming up this August.