A simple walk in nature has the remarkable power to promote well-being, reset your spiritual awareness and expand your knowledge as a practitioner. Today, I’m going to tell you why you should take the time to do them, how they will benefit you and how to get the most of out them.
Tips to make the most of your nature walks.
-Try wild crafting. There are all kinds of useful things in nature. Bring some home, get creative, and even save some money. Instead of paying $45 for a wreath from the craft store, go outside, find some lovely evergreens, and create something truly unique for free.
–Cook with nature. Obviously, never eat anything if you don’t know what it is and make sure it doesn’t have any residual pesticides. But it doesn’t take long to learn. Did you know the annoying wild onions that sprout up incessantly in your lawn are actually pretty tasty if you fry them in butter? Wild strawberries make a beautiful topping for ice cream? You can candy wild violets and top cakes and cookies with them?
-Focus on the tiny details. The veins in a leaf. The tiniest flowers. The dime-sized mushroom you almost stepped on. These things are magical. Broad, sweeping landscapes may take your breath, but the perfect geometric symmetry of honeycomb will leave you with a sense of wonder.
-Bring home the seasons. Cedar branches burned in the fire place in the winter make the whole house smell divine. Pine cones in a bowl make a simple, elegant centerpiece. And field flowers are so much more charming on a spring table than anything store-bought ever will be.
-Pay special attention to the animals you see. Any and all animals, but particularly if it’s a rare animal. Many cultures around the world regard the appearance of unusual wildlife as a sign. Once, I was walking with my husband hiking a few miles from our home when we spotted a large (40 pounds?) wild black cat about 15 yards off the path. I’m glad my generally skeptical husband was with me, because I wouldn’t have believed my own eyes had he not seen it, too. I spent weeks searching the local wildlife data bases trying to identify it, but no large black game cat is known to our region by any of the local wildlife authorities. I will always wonder where that cat came from, and why it appeared to us.
-Find a secret hiding spot. Whether it’s a off-the-beaten path grove of trees, a secluded beach or part of the desert you know well, discovering hidden gems in the land is one of the awesome things about getting to know your local natural surroundings. Having somewhere to go that is quiet and away from everything else in your life is a tremendous gift.
-Do whatever you have time for, and nothing less. If you only have 15 minutes to go outside today, then go outside for fifteen minutes. If you have two hours to wander aimlessly across the landscape, then take an extended journey. Think of your nature walks as mini vacations. The time spent immersed in them will make the life you go back to that much richer and more peaceful.
-Make it a point to learn the local plant life. Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a blank composition book. Every time you go on a nature walk, snap a photo of a plant you don’t recognize. When you get home, identify it. Within a year, you’ll become an expert on your local plant life. This is an excellent skill for any witch.
-Create an outdoor altar. Any sort-of flat surface will do. A large rock, the cleanly chopped trunk of a tree. An oak in my mother’s yard was struck down by lightening ten years ago. I asked the landscapers to leave the stump, and for me, it still holds all the power and charge of that one stroke of energy. Whether it’s on your land, or tucked away in local park, periodically leave items you find there. –
Look up. Every day, the sky is a new work of art. Lie on your back. Look for shapes in the clouds. Notice the pastel colors of the sunset. Like everything else in life, this moment is fleeting. Take the time to let it capture your imagination.
Benefits of nature walks:
-Live healthier, happier and longer. One 30-minute walk a day has a profound impact on your body, your mind and your emotions. Try it for a week and witness the powerful transformation. You won’t believe what a difference it makes.
–Reduce the amount of time you spend around electronics. There’s no way around it. We’re all “wired.” The more time you spend in front of a computer or glued to your phone, the less in touch you are with the world that surrounds you. This is includes your loved ones, your spiritual awareness and your natural environment. Most people don’t have the luxury of retreating to Buddhist monastery or living on a commune. But you can keep your screen time to a minimum, and nature walks are one way to do this. If your kids think the outdoors is boring, it’s time to show them that their iPhone is the real snooze.
-Increase your sensitivity to environmental issues. The first time you cringe when you see a plastic bottle floating down the creek by your walking path, a bird’s nest made of paper litter or (worst of all) a wildlife animal struggling to free herself from tangled debris, you will begin a lifelong journey of sensitivity to the earth around you.
-Become in tune with the seasonal cycles around you. Direct experience with and awareness of the subtle shifts in seasons creates harmony in the spirit, promoting internal balance. You may (depending on your climate) think of the seasons broadly, as in Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer. But the turning of the seasons is actually very gradual, yet distinct. When is mating season for butterflies? Horseshoe crabs? Have you ever noticed turtles are everywhere for like a week in the spring? People who go on regular nature walks pick up on these things, and they are worthwhile observations.