Awakening to Wild Places
Dr Hilary Garraway, consultant clinical psychologist, explores how nature offers an alternative setting from the traditional therapy room and walking therapy can encourage a more active and creative process in talking through difficulties.
If we climb a mountain and feel the exhilaration of achievement, then perhaps this gives us courage to face challenges in our own life. When we look over an expanse and see dots of houses that seemed so big when we first set out for our walk, this perhaps gives us a different perspective on issues that seemed unsurmountable within our own lives. Somehow what we are experiencing externally in these wild places can often mirror our internal landscapes and literally give us the space to reflect and to see things differently within ourselves.
Try this Ecotherapy Mindfulness Exercise...
- Go for a walk in nature with the intention of awareness rather than getting to a destination.
- Firstly focus on what you can see both near and far, observing things with fresh eyes as if you are seeing them for the first time.
- Then stand still and close your eyes for a moment and be aware of what you can hear; then block your ears and with your eyes still closed, see if there are any smells from the natural environment around you; lick your lips and see if the setting offers any tastes in the air.
- Finally continue your walk and be aware of the sensation of touch, perhaps the wind in your hair, the rain or sun on your face and an awareness of how the terrain feels under your feet.
- You may wish to touch the bark of a tree or a rock as you pass to immerse yourself more fully in that moment.
- Fully engage with nature through all your senses, without judging or evaluating but just being.