Things are sprouting. Spring energy felt. In our multi-tasking wired up lives, a shift is felt. As if peeling off those layers of winter clothing isn’t enough, there’s an itch to set our selves free - which, to many, might mean awakening our “nature spirit”. Studies have shown that time in nature encourages creativity, decreases depression, and in energizing, refreshing, and exploring the spirit, brings joy, and allows you to rediscover that part of you that everyday life often swallows whole.
And in these first months of Spring there’s no better time to start discovering that side of us where we mindfully shed the skin of our urban lives, and explore – or rediscover - our wild side. In her book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D. writes “When women are close to (this) nature… that relationship glows through them. This wild teacher, wild mother, wild mentor supports their inner and outer lives, no matter what it could be.” While the author may have explored “going wild” in a broader context, there’s no doubt that nature is the place we can give ourselves permission to experience the awesomeness of the world around us –our place in it, and the good it does our spirit. Yoshifumi Miyazaki, the physiological anthropologist credited with the Japanese concept of ‘Forest Therapy’ in which regular quiet, slow strolls in the forest are recommended - asserts that because humans evolved in nature this is simply where our bodies and minds work best.
The impact, of course, can be powerful: awakening your nature spirit can inspire healing, personal growth and even – more dramatically - inspire you to rethink your life. For most of us, however, “going wild” might simply take the form of a dedication to not just being in nature but learning more about it – educating ourselves in our native herbs, woodland edibles, trees, or bird life, or simply by getting closer to nature by gardening and growing things… No need, of course, to dash off north to find a virgin forest - a starting point to igniting your “wild” spirit could be just a slow mo kayak along the shoreline in which you note each ripple, or passing cloud, a mindful hike early morning in a local park in which all senses are open to the nature’s sounds, smells and sights… Or even, a sunrise meditation lakeside in which you absorb the power of the sun’s rising glory… What do you do, where do you go, to rekindle - your wild side?