• Living

    Of the importance of the natural rhythm

    It is already March, and Spring is definitely on our doorsteps. I am sure you will have noticed the daffodils, as well as cherry plum blossoms. The days are getting longer, and the mood is generally a bit more positive. In the last few months, I have been drawn to books observing the seasons, celebrating nature, including Emma Mitchell’s The Wild Remedy.

    As any parent that have experienced cabin fever with/of their children, I am already a convert to the power of nature and outdoors on our moods. The kids are out and suddenly life is manageable again. However my main mission of getting my kids tired (not an easy task in my case), leaves a lot to desire as far as transmitting an interest in nature is concerned.

    I was attracted to Emma’s book because she roots it in her experience of managing her own depression – SAD especially – and how going to the woods, watching nature develop, helps her everyday. It’s beautifully written and illustrated with her own drawings, paintings and photographs. She refers to the latest research into the positive impact of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese ‘forest bathing’ concept. It is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge over the gap between us and the natural world.

    Being closer to nature is undeniably good for my creativity. I must admit I prefer to be walking long distances to find my own creativity and it does not involved much reflection on the beauty of nature. It sounds really pathetic and like I take nature for granted (I don’t) but I have been drawn to moving my body rather than reflecting and meditating.

    The book is written in a form of a journal throughout the month, and include reflections about the chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters that lead to depression. Some months are really hard to read, because you can feel the depression getting hold of her. There is a part of me that feels for her because I used to feel like that, and yet maybe not as bad, ever. Some parts depressed me. There is a lot to take out of the book, possible ways to feel better, adding to possible paths integrating in weekly rituals to feel better. And in fact, I do go on a long walk with a friend every week and not having that walk makes the week that little bit more difficult.

    As well as discussing the natural world, she discussed crafting as a depression remedy. This is of course of interest to me, and hoping to share my experience of crafting in this blog (there is a create section in this blog name after all). Emma talks about the sense of achievement you get by finishing a crafting project, as well as the soothing of the repetitive activity of making stitches. It totally speaks to me.

    Other books I like about observing seasons include The Almanac: A seasonal Guide to  2019 written by Lia Leendertz, Spring, an anthology for the changing seasons edited by Melissa Harrison. I bought ‘I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree’ for Luc and Louise, which includes one poem a day. I am not sure it speaks to Louise yet, but as Luc is learning about writing poems this year it is a great introduction to poems and how they are inspired by nature. It is a very relaxing read, compared to some of the books he chooses to read from school.

    The reality is that modern lifestyle does move us away from the movements and cycles of nature. No distinction is drawn between the food we eat and activities we pursue throughout the seasons of the year. Our immune systems are weakened as we are less exposed to the natural elements and need to filter out more pollutants and chemical material from our bodies. The natural rhythm is lost. Equally I do love the City and its buzz, and I need it too.

    As I mentioned I have already included walks in my weekly routine, learning to embrace the natural rhythm is an activity I would like to include on a more regular basis. What books have you read lately that is shaping your weekly routine? I will create a book board on Pinterest to share recommendations as well as my own reviews in one place.

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