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How a profound nature connection happened with four easy steps

How shifting focus and attention reduced heart rate, eased breathing and enhanced joy

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I’ve noticed I can go for a walk one day feel amazing, inspired and free yet other days I return still stressed and worried my friend shared while sipping her coffee. 

Happened to me last week walking up the mountain.

Gasping for breath I stepped aside letting someone whiz up the path. Acutely aware my post lockdown body is slightly heavier and less fit than before, I looked around. Beautiful bush and birdsong enveloped me. How in my puffed climbing state had I missed it? 

Einstein said to look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.

Words of wisdom from a nature based training at a local park gently came to mind.  We were asked to really connect and notice ways the bush impacts on all aspects of life.

With the intention of complete presence I walked toward a stand of trees.  Shifting my awareness from the joy of children playing in fallen leaves I felt a difference on my skin. Almost as if the atmosphere was changing.

It was as if I was entering a parallel version of the path I’d wandered for years. I could feel and sense energy shifting from plant to plant in a variety of hues and vibrations, all wrapped in an essence of peace and Love. 

My body seemed to absorb information in a different way, my skin and heart in particular. As if a magical world that exists all the time was opening up to me.  As I walked through different trees the energy changed and I paused to change mine. I could sense the plants “reading me” and choosing what to share.  

Then two people ran past me. I was stunned as I “saw” them encased in a big bubble filled with the chatter of their conversation and problems they shared.  Caught up in their “stuff” they didn’t see me or sense the trees stretching towards them offering Love, healing and information.  

They seemed oblivious to it, turbulently brushing it aside as air is disturbed when a plane lands or takes off. After they passed the air (atmosphere) settled again and the plants return to their pre-bubble way of being. 

While the couple running looked like they were enjoying themselves, they were not connecting to the environment aside from the occasional glance at trees and the path ahead.

I remembered times I’ve run in the park to get fresh air and resolve whatever stress of the moment  was affecting me. Sometimes emerging better for the run but still in my bubble of stress. Other times emerging renewed and inspired with insights after really connecting, noticing the trees and  taking time to breathe in the atmosphere,.

Remembering this as I stood puffing on the side of the mountain, I recalled a Zac Bush, MD video   describing the importance of connecting with the microbes around us.  I chose to really focus, become present to the plants and consciously connect to the microbes in the mountain air around me.  

Aside from the almost instant feeling of calm and love, what really astounded me was the change in my breathing and heart rate.  Within less than one minute my heart rate had dropped from 143  to 87 bpm; my breathing from gasping to a comfortable 12 breathes per minute.  I felt fabulous.  I remembered to ground myself (imagine myself really connecting to the earth). With that, a tiny niggle in my knee eased.

Curious if this was a one off fluke or something to pay attention to, I tested it out on more mountain walks. Same outcome – niggles easing, breathing calming, heart rate dropping.  The best thing was feeling connected to the beauty around me and people passing and a deep sense of gratitude for being alive.

I’ve distilled it down to four easy steps which I shared with my friend. They might help you next time you’re feeling ungrounded or need inspiration.

If you can go outside, give your self time to really connect on your walk. If you’re currently socially distancing due to Covid-19  focus on indoor plants, a view of nature or simply remember a time you were around nature.

Then, as I did, play with these easy 4 steps:

  1. Shift from ordinary to extraordinary awareness. Be open to a wider, deeper perspective around you.  
  2. Choose what you want to breathe in. For me it was awareness, clarity, peace, calm, connection and Love. 
  3. Take time to really notice what the trees or plants are offering. What colours, textures, sounds, smells are there?  What does your skin feel like?  What does the air taste like as you bring in the plants wisdom?
  4. Be open to new insights flowing through you, and perhaps as Einstein said, you will understand everything better.
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