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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from the Publisher

Oct 02, 2013 01:32AM

“Nature doesn’t bang any drums when she bursts forth into flower, nor play any dirges when the trees let go of their leaves in the fall. But when we approach her in the right spirit, she has many secrets to share. If you haven’t heard nature whispering to you lately, now is a good time to give her the opportunity.”

 ~ Osho, Osho Zen Taro: The Transcendental Game of Zen

I’ve been doing a lot of “forest bathing” lately. It’s a term I first saw used in a study by Japanese medical researchers evaluating the healthy benefits of walking in a dense forest. They suggested two to four hours of walking in the woods for stress reduction, plus regularly spending three days and two nights in a forested area to yield cancer-protecting effects. Might we see prescriptions for forest bathing in the future for patients diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension?

I’ve been lucky enough to spend whole days in my favorite woods this summer, the tall pines, white birches and other hardwoods lining the hiking paths and paddling streams in northern Michigan. My spirit has been craving to be where I first put down roots as a child, an environment where my growing nature deficiency could get back on life support and reconnect with our living, breathing Earth for long periods of time.

I feel especially blessed to be present for a northern autumn this month, anticipating walks among God’s glorious palette of alizarin crimsons, yellow ochres and cadmium oranges as fall’s cooling temperatures bring leaf hues to peak vibrancy. Likewise, at home in Southwest Florida it’s hard to let the sun set without witnessing it, either. I love walking barefoot along the beach, bathing in the light of painted clouds.

The beauty our Creator provides always reminds me how essential connection with nature is to my well-being, and how we all depend on one another to care for the well-being of the natural world that sustains us. In this month’s special Environment issue, we address some critical challenges Mother Earth is facing as a result of humanity’s disconnection from her delicate balance. Perhaps it’s a spiritual awakening we need more than anything. Lately, the only inspirations deep enough to sustain the core of my being come from going deep into nature for long periods of silence to just be and listen.

Thank goodness we have several environmental heroines in Southwest Florida that have been working to protect our heritage as fiercely as a mother protects her offspring. Having joined forces with each of these women over the years, I recognize their spiritual callings at work, so essential to remaining tirelessly vigilant and active in their chosen unpaid roles. I think of them often when wandering the woods these days.

I wonder what might shift if we all took a few days to go into the woods to sit silently from time to time. When you do, stay until you feel an integral part of the natural world… one with the healing wisdom of the planet.

To your natural brilliance,

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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