It is interesting how many recent studies are surfacing about the benefits of playing in the dirt, spending time in nature and grounding barefooted to the earth. Even though it can be educational to understand the scientific reasons we might be pulled to doing a specific activity, we do not need this reassurance to know how natural and healing these activities can be. I feel it necessary to take a different approach to exploring the benefits to playing in the dirt, leaving the scientific research to those passionate about those aspects. So why do we enjoy playing in the dirt? Why do we feel at peace in nature? What is it that feels so nurturing and comforting about laying on the beach, while pushing the sand in between our toes?
- We hear the sounds of nature more clearly. There is something magical that happens when we escape the buzzing of traffic, and sounds of the neighbours dogs; we can hear nature. When we connect to those sounds such as a gentle breeze, or the ocean tide coming in. The soft sounds of the birds singing and the trees swaying in the wind, that is when we find inner peace. We move away from the overwhelming experience of the city and we move into a state of calm and tranquility.
- We experience the world more intensely through our hands and feet. Many of us are naturally hands-on. We experience the world through touch. When we are in nature we are able to connect back to that natural instinct. We release our feet from the foot coffins we wear everyday, and allow ourselves the space to FEEL again. Feel the mud in our hands, the sand between our toes. The different texture of the rocky mountainside or the mossy ground. We slow down enough to feel again, to process how touch can change our emotional state.
- Shifting into parasympathetic nervous system. When we are relaxing on the beach we allow ourselves the permission to be in the moment. Releasing ourselves from the pressures from the world and all the “to do” lists. We let go of looking or being a certain way. We become present in that moment, where nothing else matters. When we experience this shift we move into the parasympathetic nervous system and we slow down and begin to rest and relax.
- Connecting back to our authentic truth. When we are away from the pressures of the world we have a chance to listen to our inner voice. Connecting to who we are under all the labels and expectations. Remembering ourselves, surrendering to that inner voice of what we need and where we are want to go on our journey . When we quiet everything around us, we have a chance to honour our truth fully.
- Connecting back to our ancestors. When we tend to our gardens or forge for wild herbs or mushrooms we connect back to our ancestors. This connections is powerful and something to be honoured. As we walks the same trails, and harvest the same wild berries and tending to the same lands we open ourselves up to that deep connection. This experience teaches us so much about about humility, and gratitude. About strength and respect. When we take what we have learned and pass it down to our little ones, we pass on our traditions, and rituals that can not learned in schools. It is this connection that grows a deep respect for those who came before us.
- Reconnecting to the earth, the universal energy and beyond. This is one of the most beneficial aspects of being in nature. We reconnect to how much this earth has provided for us. We find gratitude for the trees that clean our air, the water that cleanses our souls and the abundance of plant medicines and healing foods. Mother earth has given so much to us, and so selflessly. To honour this, is a privilege. As we connect to the earth below we connect to skies above. When we see that everything is woven together, it shifts our existence on earth. We find compassion for those around us. We move towards making choices that supports the collective because we know that the success of one, is the success of all.