With a deep breath, cloud bits sweep into my lungs. In the distance, I hear the silky mumble of wind rumbling down the valley; in a few moments, it tickles my skin and licks my hair. The pine needles and soil beneath me are supportive and soft. I am thinking what it true: I am intimately connected to the environment.
With over a thousand hours of formal training and going on seven years of experience as a body worker, I have spent a considerable amount of time considering healing. To me, one of the most profound ways to heal is to connect to the larger part of who we are – the space around us.
The private and adjoining public land near The Ranch provide countless opportunities for engagement with your body and place – hiking, riding, biking, yoga in a meadow, meditation to the twittering of birds, etc. As you engage with such a welcoming, rich environment you are bound to expand – release – relax.
If you want to dive more directly into this type of exploration, there are numerous tools that can support your quest, among some of the best: books. One such book is Andrea Olsen’s Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide.
Whether you want to consciously benefit from the layered beauty of this place, or simply just be here – which is really enough – this place is restorative.
Let’s say you do want to consciously benefit from a deepened exploration of your body’s relationship to place; I do. Below I share with you an experience I had in conversation with Olsen’s guide – may it inspire you on your own journey, and, if it is right for you, may it lead you to the magic of this landscape.
Merging with the Landscape Activity:
Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide is loaded with all sorts of information, stories, and activities to deepen your understanding of your body and the space that surrounds and fills it. Your exploration can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or, ideally, a combination of all four.
For the activity I am choosing to share, “Merging with the Landscape,” the directions are simple. Olsen encourages her reader to walk and find a place that invites participation. Then she suggests that the reader blend into the space. After the unification, Olsen recommends reflection and asks: does “release of identity expand awareness of self and other”?
My journal entry:
The breeze purrs through aspen leaves creating a gentle rattle. A woodpecker clacks distantly among the sweeter chorus of other birds. Grasshoppers click in the grass, occasionally flapping into the sky for a moment; like weighted butterflies their yellow wings begin to wane before their ascension is true flight. Shades of sun and shadow – color! – auburn, tan, rich brown, baby blue, white, gray highlights – and countless shades of green. Fallen trees, rocks, pine needles, dirt, loam, moisture, clay…rock…lava. The base of my spine hums.
The longer I sit here the more full my eyes, ears, nose, mind, and heart become with the essence of this place, its welcoming wide. Whatever I become, the landscape will hold. I could scream. I could sigh. I could dance. I could sink deeper into the supple orchestration.
The more I identify with its tempo, the less my mind spins until I feel like the breeze – free and soft.