For eons, people have been struggling with the idea of time. It permeates our language and affects our outlook on life. After all, time is money, time is of the nature and time flies, right! And sowe fight for control over time: we measure time, stretch time, drop time, kill time, and never have enough time! It’s not surprising we believe this way.
The pace of life today is much more frenetic than it was just a generation ago. In the battle to control time, we have grown so out of touch with the natural world that it does not appear to matter whether it is day or night, cold or hot, winter or summer. We control the climate in the home, in the car and in the office. We produce artificial environments to expand our days. We consume food with little regard for its source or season.
These artificial life choices further separate us from the rhythms and cycles of nature, desensitizing us to nature’s seasonal signs of passing time. When we stare into the cold displays of our electronics we disconnect from the natural world around us and forget our roots. If we need inner peace, we will need to learn how to coexist peacefully with the inevitable march of time rather than attempting to control it. We will need to synchronize with time whatsoever levels. Time moves on whether we’re hurtling through life or savoring it.
We can – indeed we must – know to stay calm and still amid the torrent of obligations, not permitting our overscheduled lives to rob us of the time we will need to recalibrate and relate to the natural world, ourselves, and each other. The simple act of spending time in nature is one such solution that has many healing properties. In Japan, this recovery process is called “shinrin-yoku” or woods bathing.
Scientific studies confirm that spending time in nature may result in decreased stress hormone production, lower heart rate and blood pressure, elevate mood and fortify the immune system. If you have ever had the chance to come back to the identical place year after season, you would remember the personal pleasure of reconnecting to a particular place every time you returnedbecoming aware of the height of the wave, the direction of the wind, the time of sunset and sunrise, and the phase of the moon.
Having a place in nature to return to enables us to reconnect where we had left off, similar to picking up an old friendship. Sometimes we experience the energy and beauty of the natural world in a startling moment: celebrating the grandeur of a rainbow after a storm, or viewing the beauty of a small creature up close.
These are magic moments when all sense of time stops and we are caught up in the wonder of the current moment. To link to nature is to reconnect with our own roots. Stepping from our man-made schedules and duties – even if only for a few minutes – to look at the clouds, smell the air, feel the breeze on the skin, helps us reconnect to the eternal nature of production and find peace. Ada Porat is a kinesiologist and pastoral counselor who founded Stillpoint Holistic Services, a centre for healing and transformation which serves customers around the world. She’s passionate about helping clients live their best lives.