Chara and I connected earlier this year in a Shift Series interview, “The Importance of Nature in health, healing (and even recovery!) for Children” and I am excited to have her back as a guest blogger.
Chara is a passionate educator and advocate of the importance of right relationship to nature. She is a unique blend of incredible “book smarts” with the biggest heart and most beautiful earth loving soul you will ever meet.
What if seeing the natural world as your partner can transform your wellness?
I believe that a major development of the 21st century is the re-connection of people’s wellness to the Earth’s wellness. This reconnection is affecting everyone, including you, and the benefits are many.
We’re learning more all the time about how our bodily wellness depends on the natural world. From the air you breathe to the water you drink, the sunlight and plants that provide so much of your food, and whether or not your air is clean or promotes asthma, the natural world is your life support system. It’s also your stress-relief system: mounting medical evidence shows we can alleviate health problems that are caused by stress by spending time in nature. The essential oils we breathe when we’re in a forest even appear to strengthen our immune systems! You can turn to nature for major up-leveling in your wellness.
However, simply knowing this doesn’t count for a lot. You need to place your body in healing contact with the natural world as much as possible in order to gather the health benefits. You can do this by spending time outdoors, grounding your energy through Earthing (placing bare feet or hands on dirt, grass, or sand), and eating natural, unprocessed foods. You also can use herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, and other nature-based healing remedies. I’m not saying that the intellectual or scientific foundations of our wellness choices are unimportant. But your knowledge about how your wellness connects to nature is far less important than whether you actually do connect to nature.
What leads to healing for both people and planet is letting your body be your guide. If you listen, your body tells you that it desires clean water, so caring for water is a healing choice. Your body tells you that smog smells frightening, so you should help us create less. Your body can tell you that the companionship of other species warms your heart, so spending time with plants and animals becomes a wellness choice. Your body provides the kind of guidance that truly puts us on the path of protective action on behalf of ourselves and the natural world.
So, what if healing your body involves also honoring the Earth? What if self-care isn’t as much a game of measuring your immune function or weight or cholesterol, but a body-centered practice of loving both your body and the planet that supports your body? By reconnecting your self-care to what’s good for the natural world around you, you can transform both your health and the Earth’s.
What you can do for yourself today is to care for the Earth—for the air and water and plants that support your life. And what you can do for the Earth today is care for your body in ways that are safe for both of you. Choose natural, unprocessed, organic foods. Reduce your carbon emissions because doing so makes the air cleaner for your lungs. Use natural body care and household products because they’re not only safer for your skin, they keep your drinking water and many animals’ habitat free of hormone-disrupting chemicals. Recognize that what is truly healthful for your body is usually truly healthful for the Earth, and vice versa.
Open into appreciating the ways in which self-care intertwines with Earth care. You can watch your wellness increase along with the wellness of the beautiful life-support system we call “Earth.”
You can find Chara Armon, Ph.D., at http://mutualflourishing.org, where she writes and offers e-courses and flower essence consultations. She welcomes you to join her on Twitter at @ArmonChara, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MutualFlourishingForSelfAndEarth, and on Instagram at https://www.pinterest.com/CharaArmon/