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Let Go Outside: What the Outdoors Can Teach Us About the Nature of Being

Let Go Outside: What the Outdoors Can Teach Us About the Nature of Being

let go outside, letting go, nature and healing

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Letting go outside amounts to using nature as a catalyst for our relaxation and healing on a mental and emotional level. We need nature to survive. That’s the first lesson. And I don’t only mean on a physical level. We need nature for our emotional sanity. And that’s why learning to let go outside feels so good.

As we “progress” into the future and reproduce as a species, we’re burning a large gaping trail in our path. Instead of respecting and loving Mother Nature for her nourishing powers, we neglect Her while continuing cycles of destructive behavior. Ironically, as we destroy the planet, we also destroy our capacity for peace. 

Let Go Outside: What the Outdoors Can Teach Us About the Nature of Being

According to the philosophy of Shinrin-Yoku, also known as “forest bathing,” we benefit on a genetic level from immersing ourselves in nature. This makes sense when considering how only 0.01% of our species’ history has been spent in modern surroundings (buildings, stressful traffic/work, etc.). Could this help explain why many people today face copious amounts of stress and anxiety?

Forest bathing is supported in current scientific data as providing health benefits for the mind. Nature makes us more present, calm, and joyful. 

But what, more specifically, can the outdoors teach us about the nature of being and how to let go?

Let Go Outside: What the Outdoors Can Teach Us About the Nature of Being

Reach for the Sky But Remember Your Roots 

This analogy comparing us to trees can be presented in a couple of different ways. Both are effective.

The trees teach us that although we may grow tall and reach new heights, we’re attached and surviving by the nutrients of our roots. To many, this means remembering where we come from while traversing and growing in the complex terrain of life. When we make it far in our lives, we should remember the friends, family, and support system that nourished us in our earlier phases of life. 

Trees are also mythologically thought to reach up to the heavens while also rooting down into the darkness of the underworld. This explains our need to face and even embrace our “shadow work” if we are to transcend our limitations and “reach high” in life. The darkness really stands for our fears, anxieties, depression, and general mental and emotional hang-ups. As we gather the strength to transcend and befriend these aspects of ourselves, vast rewards await us. Heaven on Earth awaits us. 

We are Made to Move

It’s no secret that exercise helps us thrive on a mental basis. We are made to move. Movement is a core ingredient for longevity which is evident by its implementation in all the Blue Zones worldwide.  So how does Nature teach us this and what does it have to do with how we can better let go outside? 

Nature is always moving. The rivers are flowing, the trees blowing in the wind, and that wind catching leaves, shrubs, and even buzzing insects in its path. On a subatomic level, all atoms, even those of solid rock, are vibrating. If all of life is moving and thriving because of it, shouldn’t we naturally aim to move as much as possible as well?

My favorite component of Nature to visit is Her rivers. The sound of water is utterly peaceful, settling the mind into bliss. But looking closer at the river, we can learn a lot, including how to let go outside. 

There’s a quote in the  book, Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse about the river:

“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”

 

The river teaches us that to be present, we must become one with our past, future, and yes, present. To feel the steady, blissful flow of life, we must accept our past while embracing what our future could be—instead of dwelling on what the future might be!

The river doesn’t judge, criticize, worry, grow stagnant, wait, or rush. The river flows, flows, flows, and flows. By studying the river, we see that our lives can be an ecstatic dance!

Let Go Outside: What the Outdoors Can Teach Us About the Nature of Being

Have Patience and Know All is Being Accomplished

A quote by Lao Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher and the reputed author of the Tao Te Ching, sums up an important lesson that can help us let go outside:

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

 

To many, this might just be another one of those cute little quotes found on the label of a teabag. But look deeper! These words have a profound power to change the way we “be” throughout our days!

It’s no secret that much of modern society is in a complete rush. Everywhere there are triggers that make us hurry anxiously. The traffic-laced streets, the capitalist model, the lack of nature in our cities! This can make it difficult to find an outdoor space to let go.

People feel guilt and shame just for slowing down and resting. But if we look to Nature (which we are a part of), we see clearly that we are made to take our time. Like the forests that take ages to develop, we too should grow patiently. We’ll enjoy the journey more this way and as Lao Tzu explains, everything will still be accomplished!

Some Final Words and Tips

The gist of the article is this: if we spend more time in nature, we’ll learn to let go outside. Nature will teach us how to just “be.” We’ll be better able to slow down, grow healthier, and flourish on our journeys with joy and gratitude. 

Here are some final tips to incorporate the outdoors in your lifestyle so you can let go outside.

  • Go hiking alone.
  • Aim to exercise (run, swim, etc.) outside when possible.
  • Practice “forest bathing.” Basically, go to a forest and hike or meditate there (or both!). 
  • Pay attention to the elements. What are they doing? How are the trees, rivers, and mountains “behaving?” This can reveal a lot about how we can better “be” in our existence. 

Want to learn more tips to optimize your well-being?  Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog!

Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™ 

let go outside, letting go, nature and healing

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