Note on Safety If you’re someone who is just starting or already enjoys hiking, especially in unpopulated areas, you might consider using a Hiking GPS. These have many advantages over a cell phone for assuring you can always find your way. This Hiking GPS guide can help you choose one for your needs.
An 8 Year Old Learns the Peace of Nature
When I was 8 years old, and without consulting me, my family decided that I should get baptized. I didn’t fully grasp the situation, however, I couldn’t swim and I was afraid of the water so this idea truly scared me. One Saturday morning I learned that my brother-in-law Monte was on his way over and the family was going to take me to do the deed. As soon as I saw an opening I grabbed a little jacket and I high tailed it out into the woods and holed up in one of my favorite hiding places. I waited until it was getting close to dark before I went back home, avoiding the baptism that day. (Though they did catch me later!) But the entire time I was hiding, it was like I could hear voices of reason from the forest and trees talking to me about what I was doing, why I was avoiding the baptism and why I felt like it was an important thing for them to ask me if I wanted to be baptized. It was a strong sense of peace for a frightened little boy and as a result of those very clear feelings that I had, I knew that anytime I needed help or answers, nature was there for me.
As the years went by it was a tremendous comfort to know that when I was feeling troubled by something that the open arms of nature were waiting for me and through the years it has served me well more times than I can count. When I would have problems at home or school or issues with friends, I could go out and think about things and receive insights and new ways to look at them.
Conversing With Nature. Literally.
As an adult I grab my walking stick (one I carved myself) and go on hikes regularly on our local trails. I’m a bit of an unusual hiker. I talk out loud while I hike. I may just talk about what’s going on in my life in general, as I would to a friend. If I’ve got a particular problem that I’m trying to get clarity on I’ll say “Here’s the problem that I’m having. “And then I explain it. Then as I go along, I listen. The thoughts that come to me as a whisper in my head are what I perceive is a higher force talking to me. You can call it God, Father, Mother Nature or whatever fits in with your own beliefs. But for me it is very real.
One time recently I was having a particularly tough day so I decided to go on a hike. As I went up the trail I kept stopping and looking around because I thought I heard something. But I didn’t see a bit of wildlife or anyone else on the trail. I remember thinking, “Where the heck is everyone?” I usually run into folks now and then or see various critters but there was complete stillness and I thought “I’d love to see an eagle soaring about now.”
I walked into the next clearing and rested for a minute to catch my breath. As I looked out across the way, in a very large tree was a huge hawk looking right at me. It was almost as if it was waiting for me to make eye contact and when I did it jumped into flight. It flew in several big circles over me and then soared for a bit looking right at me. I said out loud “Wow. Thank you.” It’s things like this that I take very personally.
The information I receive on my forays into nature might not be the overall answer to my problem, but it’s always clarity to some facet of it. Something that allows me to calm down and see the different sides and vantage points and how I sit in the middle of it all. No matter what the issue, every time that I go out there’s something I receive. Every time.
How To Connect
I believe anyone can connect with nature and get answers using the following concepts.
- Find a place you can go to, where there is some type and feeling of nature, even a small amount.
- Empty your mind and focus on what’s right in front of you. Feel what you’re feeling, notice the smells, notice the sounds in the wind and the feel of it on your face. Feel your leg muscles as you walk. Be highly attuned to everything around you and shut off the non-stop idle chatter many of us have going on in our heads at any given moment.
- Ask your questions. Either speak them or just ask them in your mind. Then be still and listen. Insights will be subtle for most. One small insight can be the answer you’re looking for.
What If You Live in the City?
Though I grew up in the country, we moved a lot, sometimes to less rural areas. But there was always some place, even in the city, that I could go to. There were large vacant lots that were grown up, or parks. There will always be little places of nature here and there. Don’t think this only works if you have a forest to roam or a mountain to climb. Even in the middle of the city with cars buzzing around, you can sit on a bench and look up at the sky, watch the clouds, the birds and connect.
Because I’m such a fan of nature I’m also a believer in the good energy of crystals. I placed one on the top of my hiking stick that I made so I would have it with me while I hiked. Carry a clear quartz crystal with you in your pocket or fanny pack when you hike for an added boost, especially if you live in the city!
Going into nature can feel like a breath of life. It’s naturally invigorating and cleansing and it’s a time you can feel a part of the entire planet. But most importantly, it’s a place where an answer awaits in the stillness. All you have to do is ask the question.