Deep Forest

Fresh off of a week in the rainforests of Costa Rica, I am keenly aware of the impact the natural world has on our well-being.

The sound of running water from small waterfalls and rocky creek beds soothed and relaxed my nervous system in a way far beyond my conscious control. The visit to a 300-foot waterfall, tinted blue from the sulphuric runoff from the nearby volcano, was a reminder of the possibility of experiencing majesty simply by being in close proximity to such natural wonder. The exotic flowers looked otherworldly, like some kind of inside joke of the gods. They had bright vivid colors that attracted multitudes of hummingbirds to feast on their sugary nectar, and brought gasps of surprise at just how intricately and colorfully designed both the plants and birds are. A little tiny brown frog sunning on a rock at the edge of a pond, smaller than a kernel of corn, was living its life from the perspective its size offers.

I felt the leaves of a forest plant, the undersides of which feel like the softest velvet, and the forest bamboo that vines through other plant branches, holding tight with its tiny spines you can feel when rubbed the opposite direction, much like a cat’s tongue. I witnessed the downpour of the almost daily rains that brought a dense layer of fog descending onto the surrounding mountains, only to rise up and out as the rain ended, revealing a beautiful relief of textured trees.

I felt in intimate contact with the four elements: the soft breeze of air on my skin and the heat of the momentary sun warming me, the constant sound of running water washing my thoughts clean and letting them go down the stream, purifying my whole being as I meditated in the open air pavilion; the richness of the dark soil that supports me always, no matter what geographical location I am in. As without, so within.

I am grateful for a new depth of awareness of how important and enriching it is for all of us to experience the amazing wonder, beauty, and ever changing, ever surprising nourishment of the natural world.

Get outside, at least for a little while, away from all of our man-made inventions that are so entertaining, yes, and helpful, but also stressful, distracting, preoccupying, and addictive. Develop a more intimate relationship with our cousins, the trees, plants, and animals. Drink in their generous gift of teaching us how to better just be. And as you relax into that being, drink it in, and let it soothe your weary soul.

Diane Ingram, PCC, is a Coach, Coach Trainer, Workshop Facilitator, and Speaker for Personal and Professional Development. She is a regular contributor to Pawling Public Radio and the author of five books. To learn more, visit online.