The Nature Effect: Mindfulness and Connection

I have found that nothing unites people like being out in nature.

Two years ago, our family took a trip to Olympic National Park, Crater Lake National Park, the Redwoods and many amazing points in between. The breathtaking beauty at each of these locations seemed to soak into our pores. It made us slow down and filled us with awe and reverence.  While we were hiking through the silent redwood forests amidst the giant trees, we encountered other families on the trail. They said “hello” to us with hushed voices as if we were all in a sacred cathedral, which of course, we were.

This summer we took a whirlwind road trip to Niagara Falls.  The city of Niagara, Ontario has casinos interspersed with loud arcades, a wax museum, an amusement park, shops of all kinds, restaurants, and bars. The weather was hot and the streets were packed.  

But when we walked down the hill to see Niagara Falls, we forgot about all of that.

This incredible, powerful and beautiful force of nature made the crowd pause. We all slowed down and were united by our joy and wonder. We were smiling both at our families and each other. There were people of all ages, shapes, colors, and countries.  And we were kind to each other as we shared this beautiful place. 

We gave each other space to enjoy the view at the ledge.  Those enjoying the view spent some time and then politely moved on to another area in order to let the next group have a turn. The mist from the falls cooled our bodies and frazzled psyches and soothed our spirits.

One could gaze at the view and listen to the rush of the falls for hours.  And we did, from every angle: above, below, beside, from the Canadian side and the US side, daytime and the nighttime. It was humbling, exciting and fun.  When encountering the power of the waterfalls I had the similar feeling that I get at the edge of the ocean or in the mountains: feeling small, and at the same time, feeling the oneness and connection with nature, God, and the entire planet.

No matter where we are, we are surrounded by the incredible beauty of nature. In order to cultivate awe, peace, and connection all that is needed is to shift into a state of awareness in the here and now.  Letting go of the remembering, planning, worrying mind and connecting to our senses allows us to be present to what is here, right now. To experience this connection to nature, you don’t have to go further than out your door.

Give these mindful nature experiences a try: Stand outside, look up at the white clouds, blue sky or bright moon and stars; feel the grass or sand beneath your feet; reach out and touch the bark of a tree or a leaf or petal; listen to the wind, moving water, birds, squirrels, frogs. Smell a flower or herb growing in the garden; bite into a just-picked fresh fruit or veggie and truly taste what you are eating.

Enjoy the beauty!



If you’d like to schedule a Reiki energy healing session or guidance in an individualized therapeutic home yoga practice, please call The Ommani Center.  If interested in attending a group yoga class, I invite you to drop-in on Tuesdays at 9 am or Wednesdays at 6 pm.


August 2018 Shelley Carpenter, Physical Therapist, Registered Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master Teacher is a practitioner at Ommani who offers group (Tuesday and Wednesdays) and individual therapeutic yoga sessions, physical therapy, and Reiki care.  Call our office at 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.