While thumbing through my copy of a popular yoga magazine I noticed an ad sponsored by the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.. The ad shows Micah Mortali (Director of Mindful Outdoor Leadership) in a meditative pose against a tree and includes a mini article which recommends six ways to reconnect with nature. These six way include:
- Nature meditation - a little tricky in Michigan in Winter but if you dress warm it can be done. Spring, Summer, Autumn activity for me.
- Hike with your hands - walking while running your fingertips over the bark of trees, rocks on the ground, etc.
- Find a sit spot - A place in your yard or in nature (safety first if your an urban dweller) where you can spend 5 minutes a day just breathing.
- Walk barefoot outside - Sink your toes into grass, dirt, sand (being careful of what's on the ground around you). My favorite thing to do in Summer.
- Meditate near water - We are fortunate to live 15 minutes drive from Lake Michigan (amazing place to meditate) but also near some parks with streams and rivers in them. If you have a place to go near water I recommend visiting at least once a week and get in tune.
- Offer gratitude - Leave a small offering of bird seed or water before you leave and thank the Land Spirits/Nature (my take on gratitude, not the author's)
You may be reading this and saying "We're Pagans. This is a thing we do." True. But even as Pagans our lives can become so busy we do not have the time to go out into Nature on a regular basis. Right now, I'm cooped up inside because of snow storms and frigid temperatures. Even with Spring around the corner the possibility remains that with jobs and other activities with family or friends, going outside in a mindful way can take a backseat. A busy life can remove us from the spirit/soul connection we have with our Earth Mother unless we choose to go outside for the sole purpose of connecting.
Maybe Pagans in more temperate climates do not have this issue but as a Witch in a northern area I find it can be easy to become distracted from Nature because of many months where access is limited. This is why I'm choosing to be mindful about my connection to Nature.
I practice this with the plants in my home. However, there are trees beside my driveway I can spend a few minutes with in quiet meditation on pleasant afternoons right now. I can stop and take a moment to breathe, look up at the sky (even if it's mostly cloudy or gray) and be grateful for the connection I feel with the Earth Mother. I can offer seed at the base of bushes or trees. And as the thaw begins and the Spring sunshine warms the soil in a few weeks I can venture out more each day, taking the time to "be".
Mindful practice has become an important part of being a Witch for me. Why?
As a solitary, I am the sole motivator in how I walk this spiritual path and do magickal work. Perhaps those who are in groups, covens, groves, or kindreds do not have an issue with disconnect from nature because of particular riuals or activities expected within the Tradition. Solitary practioners do not have this kind of routine or schedule unless set by themselves.
Mindfulness in all I do in spiritual practice is what keeps me grounded, connected, and motivated as a Witch. And sometimes I need a little kick in the pants (thank you Yoga Journal). So I thought I'd share that with you, dear listeners and readers, as a reminder to step out into Nature with purpose.
Your Earth Mother is calling.