Question #12

Day 12 of CoAnQuMo is here and I love this next question:

Why do you feel that being out in nature is so healing/renewing?

I will start answering this question by sharing some pictures I took today on my walk around my neighborhood in Seattle. In addition to having the intention of moving my body (I was feeling a little stuck and computer-bound) and being in nature, I set out find as many red colors in nature as I could. (BTW, this is a *great* strategy to use to get your buns out in the world when you feel stuck. Add a task, like finding a color or counting birch trees, or tracking down squirrels!)

Here’s what I found:

Many of the trees around here are becoming bare and so it was lovely to get a last little red leaf burst before the next windstorm turns the branches into “bones,” as my friend Robyn likes to call them in late autumn/early winter.

So what was healing about this walk in nature today?

Being in nature opened my senses:

I tasted fresh air, created by the plants around me, causing me to take even deeper breaths then I did when I was inside.

I smelled the musty-rotting soil — a rich, muddy scent that grounds me.

I surrounded myself with COLOR, and looking all around opened my full visual spectrum that gets narrow when I am on the computer or focusing on an art project.

I listened to the crunch and whoosh of leaves and the cawing of crows and twittering of chickadees — very primal, reassuring sounds letting me know that everything is a-okay.

I touched tree trunks, fallen leaves, and a neighborhood cat. I felt the earth beneath my feet and felt secure and safe being in my body. I made contact with nature gently and with intention, which increased my sense of mindfulness and wonder.

With just this little walk today I felt a great sense of renewal because I allowed all of my senses to engage with the energy of nature. Nature can be both gentle and forceful, quiet and booming. Regardless, Mother Nature speaks the truth of what she is experiencing. What a beautiful model for ourselves! What if we could be more like nature and express our true inner natures more freely? What is more healing than feeling like we can be 100% ourselves?

with handfuls of leaves and an open heart gesture,



About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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2 Responses to Question #12

  1. monk-monk says:

    I read somewhere this week that even just listening to 2 hours of nature sounds a day can help with stress. How much more can actually BEING in nature do for us I wonder!

    I love all the red you found. It might be fun to do a 7 day challenge…Monday red, Tuesday orange, Wednesday yellow and so on. I feel much more mindful when I go into the world looking for photographic tidbits like red leaves. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    • Thanks, Jenna. Yes! Listening to nature sounds, particular bird sounds, can reduce stress! Our primal brains know everything is okay if we can hear the birds chirping!

      Ooh, and I love your idea of a 7-Day Color in Nature challenge. Maybe I’ll try that — and you, too?

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