Self care suggestions for the weary change agent - Part Four: Lean on the power of nature

It has come time for some final suggestions for how you can best care for yourself in order to have the strength you need to make change in this world. (If you missed them, previous suggestions include caring for your bodyfinding mental peace, and seeking assistance from others.)

If you know much about me, you probably know I can't really talk about change without talking about nature. So it shouldn't surprise you too much that this last part is all about how to use its power in your life. 

Part Four: Lean on the power of nature

  1. Take refuge in awe-some landscapes. There's been plenty of research showing the many benefits of time spent outdoors (here's some blogs I've written about them), but I suggest as always that you find out for yourself how big of a difference this can make in your life. I spend some time every day outside (except maybe when it's below freezing), and a significant amount one to three times a week, ideally in places removed from city scenery.

  2. Watch and listen to animals. I like to spend at least a bit of my time outdoors connecting with those who call it home, whether it be a bird, squirrel, or tiny insect. I've found I can learn much not only about them but also from them, about patience, discipline, and joy.

  3. Use water for cleansing and calming. Often the time I spend outside is also near water, but even in my home I find water to be a source of comfort, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed. Hot showers, steam baths, hot tea, and even hand-washing can bring me back to the present moment where I can find peace. (Check out the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto for more on the magic and mystery of water.)

  4. Apply fire to get things moving. While water helps me slow down, fire can help me speed up when I'm feeling sluggish. Burning candles, dancing (which is certainly fire-inspired), and cooking hot meals can release me from feeling stuck or resistant.

  5. Employ Earth for grounding. This one may sound obvious, but I think it is also very frequently overlooked. Gardening is always a guaranteed way for me to get out of my head, which I often badly need. In any moment when I feel like I'm losing focus, I can bring my attention to my feet on the ground and remember that I am here and now and always supported.

  6. Air out your thoughts. Hiking in the mountains, breathing fresh air, and feeling its coolness against my face always wakes me up to new ideas and understandings. At home, I can open windows and doors, letting in light, the scents of flowers, and the sounds of life. No matter where I am, I am always breathing in and out, reminding me that inspiration is always at hand.

  7. Look to the stars for guidance. As humans, it has long been our tradition to do so, though increasing light pollution seems to be blinding us to it. Unfortunately, many of us have also only experienced astrology through cheesy daily horoscopes, and thus are missing out on invaluable perspectives on our lives. I have been reading Rob Brezsny's insights for decades and I listen to Anne Ortelee's podcast every week, both of which help me better prepare for changes to come and, most importantly, take everything less personally.

Now that this series is concluding, I am curious if there's anything you would add or suggest. What has worked well for you that I didn't mention? Please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below - and to let me know if any of mine have made a difference for you.