Being in nature, being at peace

Below are a few examples of research findings that suggest that being in nature often has a healing effect on humans. Having encountered a black bear in a park in Colorado, I can say firsthand that it is not always so tranquil to be in nature! That experience was exhilarating, to say the least. But in general, I think that nature does have a healing effect on my psyche. When I am in nature by myself, I breathe deeper and notice more of my surroundings. I explore my curiosity and follow the sounds of trees rustling, the trails of animal tracks and the scents of flowers and earth. Even just being in my garden for an hour is often incredibly therapeutic. I feel the texture of the earth underneath my feet, examine the leaves and fruits of my plants and smile to my brightly colored nasturtiums and gladiolas. I enjoy a sublime serenity when it is quiet (when the rugby team is playing in the nearby field, it is not so quiet!). More

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Reflections on pain

I wrote this piece almost exactly four years ago, when I was experiencing severe back pain.

We were born from pain. Every mother who has ever given birth to a child has undergone some kind of severe pain, even if she had an epidural or a Caesarian section. Her body knew the pain.

Our heartbeats, our breaths, our eyes first lit up in the earthly realm as our mothers’ bodies opened to physical labor and the tearing of tissues. Somewhere in the depths of physical pain there is an umbilical cord that links us to all of humanity. In every sensation of pain this cord tethers us, whether we recognize it or not.

All sentient beings experience physical and mental pain at one time or another. The forms of this pain vary widely. Sometimes we forget that we all share the experience of pain. Sometimes we get lost in thoughts that propel us into behaviors to escape the pain. Of course we want relief! Of course we want ease!

In the relatively short time I have been alive, I have experienced severe pains, both physical and mental, from heart procedures, Crohn’s disease, major abdominal surgery, car accidents, migraines, pelvic pain, various biopsy procedures, and now sciatica. More

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