In the Spring of 2010, I lived, worked and played in the downtown core of Halifax. My life was typical of a city lifestyle. I never questioned it. I was happy, or so I thought.
Within a month, everything that made up my happy life was ripped out from under me. I had a back injury and was told I would have to take a year off work to recover. My boyfriend broke off our relationship. My grown son decided to move in with his partner.
All of the faces that Nanci wore were stripped bare in a very short time. I later learned a term to describe this from Dr. Darren Weissman, the creator of The Lifeline Technique. I was being presented with “a gift in strange wrapping paper.”
A friend suggested I move to St John’s, NL for the year and take a program called Yoga Enlightenment Studies (YES). After all, what else did I have to do? I spent the first month outside Corner Brook in a little chalet tucked in the woods by a river. I took my first walk in the woods, tentatively at first because my doctor had frightened me with graphic descriptions of what would happen if I wasn’t careful with these precious herniated discs. Yet the more I walked, the stronger I became. My back pain diminished and my short walks turned into long hikes.
I learned yoga philosophy, meditation, vegan diet, mind clearing, and experienced Enlightenment Intensive Retreats. And I do mean intensive! But none of my courses taught me as much as the trees. Although with meditation I experienced a place where my thoughts weren’t, it was in the woods that I experienced silence.
Trying to get away from our busy heads is not discovering stillness. I remember the first time I realized that the woods smell different after the rain, that a bird’s song has a beautiful melody. The breeze blowing through the leaves and the ripple of tiny waves over the rocks in a stream is actually healing. Mother Nature provided me with all the medicine I would ever need for my healing.
A year later, I bought myself camping gear for my birthday. Some of my city friends thought I had finally lost my mind. What’s ironic is that I actually had. The busy thoughts that were my constant companion had diminished. Contentment and serenity surrounded me like an old comfy blanket. A true love, which had nothing to do with another, blossomed in my heart. The trees taught me this.
In the years that followed, I continued to learn more about the divine healing energy that Mother Nature made available to us all for free. I watched a documentary called “Grounded” that shows how connecting directly to the Mother Earth helped heal a town in Alaska. I became friends with The Walking Monk, who teaches and practices pilgrimage. He walked across our country from Cape Spear, NL to Vancouver Island, BC in 1996.
He did the return trip in 2003—and is still walking. My point, my friends, is get out there. Get your hands dirty. Sleep under the stars, swim in the ocean, feel the warm breeze on your face, dip your toes in a cool stream. You have my promise it will be far more healing than any prescription. This is what the trees taught me.
Nanci Barton is owner of The Rising Phoenix, Mind and Body Rejuvenation: therisingphoenix.ca