By Julián Ruiz Sáez
I live in Montevideo, Uruguay and today I walked to the city coastline, a very popular promenade.
The access to the beaches is closed with fences like those used for shows. I already knew this, but watching the beach behind the fences and that something so common as going down to the beach was now forbidden made me feel quite sad and frustrated.
Yet, while I was watching the beach through the fences, I felt that today, and more than ever, nature is one of our best allies to find solace in times of COVID-19. Nature may help us to get out of those thoughts that make us feel fearful, anxious, insecure and uncertain and connect with our inner peace (so necessary in these times).
During lockdown and with restrictions to access public green spots it may be more challenging for finding nature, but not impossible.
I invite you to try one of these GREEN PAUSES:
1. Finding nature outside
Go outside for a short walk and open your senses to nature.
On my walk back home I was still feeling quite down for not being able to go to the beach when I suddenly saw this puddle with an astonishing reflection.
Watching this puddle with attention, certainly changed my mood. Nature offered me its solace, once again…
2. Nature journaling
When I returned home I wrote this in my “Book of Green Pauses:"
“Nature shows me, once again…
That it is possible to connect with nature, even in the city.
That we do not have to go to amazing places to be amazed.
That a simple puddle may be source of amazement.
That it only takes us to pay attention.
That while watching the puddle the inside and the outside become one.
That I am one with nature.”
Writing about our positive experiences in nature is a way to live them again and fix them in our minds. It may be just telling the story of what we found in nature and how did it make us feel. If you feel inspired you may also try drawing or writing poems about your experience.
3. Finding nature at home
If, for a short time, we just pause our household chores or labor activities (without cellular phone, computer or TV) and we pay attention to our senses, we will be surprised to find nature in the most simple and daily things.
WATCH how clouds play in the sky,
SMELL the coffee or tea that we have prepared,
LISTEN to the songs of a bird among the noises of the city,
Gently TOUCH the leaves of an interior plant or the surface of a small stone that reminds us of a park we visited, or;
TASTE that fruit we usually eat in a hurry.
4. Nature connection guided practice
Lastly, I share with you this guided nature connection practice. It only takes 20 minutes and it only requires you to hold something natural in your hand.
During lockdown, these GREEN PAUSES may help us both; to connect more with our essence (without fear or anxiety) and to connect better with those who surround us. I hope you enjoy them!.
Julián Ruiz Sáez is a nature and forest therapy guide living in Uruguay.