By now most of us have witnessed the catastrophic damage that Mother Nature has wielded on our planet with ferocious hurricanes in the United States and a deadly monsoon in Asia. As I watched the destruction, loss of life, and cries for help, a question entered my mind. I wrestled with it in my soul for days. How can I profess that nature heals when all of this is happening?
I hold the intention to blend the art of caring with the healing power of nature. That is the mission of The Nature Nurse platform I created. This question created inner conflict swirl inside me. I let it swirl inside, as I jumped in to try and help the nurses on the front line of Hurricane Harvey as best as I could. by creating social media discussion aimed at sending them support and resources. I believe if we want to help the people in these disasters, we need to keep their healthcare team strong.
The nurse heroes selflessly volunteered to step in and care for patients in need, leaving their own families and the unknowns behind. They remained steadfast for days without relief and sometimes without coffee, water, or needed supplies. Throughout it all, they posted a few pictures of their team with huge smiles and words of gratitude that they were going through this experience with the most awesome team possible. They cheered when relief nurses from around the country arrived via military black hawk helicopters. When the waters finally started to recede, they acknowledged the stress and exhaustion as they headed home to assess their own situations- if home was still there.
One might think that what would follow is their list of complaints. Perhaps there were, but I didn't see any sign of that. Instead I saw nurses who made it through the storm with a new set of eyes. A deeper appreciation of what mattered. An excitement and expression of people coming together regardless of color, status, and gender to help other people selflessly, often risking their own lives.
Tweet used with permission.
That is when my 'aha moment' came-Nature Humbles. That is how, in this situation, nature is healing. Healing the rifts in our society. Proving deeper meaning to our lives. Giving us a greater sense of purpose and appreciation.
This is not to say that there wasn't major loss, especially loss of life. As of this post, at least sixty people have lost their lives due to Hurricane Harvey. We even lost one of our own nurse tribe members, Colette Sulcer, a 41 year old surgical nurse who drowned while her three year old daughter clung to her. Her daughter was rescued.
The tremendous energy exchange that occurs when a hurricane is formed is intended to cool the ocean. Nature is only trying to repair the global warming damage that scientists believe we humans have caused. So it stands to reason, if we want nature to rebalance in a less violent way, we need to work together to heal her.
Authors note: If you would like to help the nurses who have been working tirelessly on the front line of the Harvey and Irma situations, you can donate to a special fund established by the American Nurses Association. The sooner we get these nurses back on their feet, the sooner they can help care for their communities. Learn more here: http://ow.ly/AqRM30f6NpP
All of us can recall a relationship with someone where we give, give, give, until we are so depleted, we can give no more. Maybe it was a spouse, a boss, or someone we thought was a friend. It often ends when our own need for survival kicks in and makes us walk away from a blood-sucking situation.
When a relationship is balanced, however, with a healthy give and take volley, it is a treasure. We enjoy giving and we bask in the returned kindness. It's a win-win.
Mother Nature, as powerful as she is, is no different. It appears she loves a reciprocal relationship as much as we do. At least that is what I have seen and experienced. Give to her, and appreciate her, she gives back, tenfold.
Two recent examples come to mind to showcase this phenomenon.
In the tropical, blue waters of the Cayman Islands an idea was born. Rudy Reyes, a former Recon Marine, who had been struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress and Depression after returning home from combat overseas, was transformed into a calmer, smiling person within days of his dive trip with friends. Jim Ritterhoff and Keith Samm, friends of Reyes, recognized the healing effect. The three men linked the need of the oceans' damaged coral reefs with the help these highly trained dive veterans could offer the reefs.
In return, the ocean was willing to help restore and repair the Veterans, who are so often too proud to ask for help. The power of water to heal is a term researcher, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, calls Blue Mind.
Eager to share the opportunity with other combat divers to once again have a mission-save our coral reefs, Ritterhoff, a marketing expert, and Reyes, created a non-profit organization, Force Blue Team. Force Blue Team has tested the concept of partnering Veteran combat divers with Marine Biologists, as well as mental health experts, to restore coral reefs and improve the mental well being of Veterans, with great success. The program is a win-win for both our oceans and our Veterans.
A documentary film is being created called Mercy, Love and Grace- The Story Of Force Blue Team. I recently saw the premier of the introduction of the film in New York City. It was moving, inspiring, and if you forgive the pun, very deep. I think Dr. Brene Brown would be proud to see how these fierce, tough, men and women open themselves up in the movie and expose their vulnerable, human side. Their candidness on how their military missions have affected them and the joy of finding purpose and camaraderie again through Force Blue Team was emotive.
If you would like to learn more about how to help sponsor the film so that it can be completed, please visit this IndieGoGo page: Link.
Force Blue Team is also looking for donations and corporate sponsors. To learn more, please visit their website or contact them. Their website is www.forceblueteam.org .
Over on dry land another reciprocal relationship with nature blooms. This one in Raleigh, North Carolina, just a few miles from the Capital city.
A drive down Old Baucom Road will lead you to an explosion of yellow sunflowers standing at attention, like soldiers, to the sun. Photographers, families, dog walkers and bikers gather along the white fence surrounding the field to bask in the awe.
While the happy flowers bring immense joy to hundreds who flock to see the massive bloom, they have a greater purpose.
According to the City Of Raleigh, " The fields serve as an application site for biosolids from the Neuse River Resource Recovery Facility. The stabilized sludge (biosolids) is applied to the field as a fertilizer. The sunflowers are planted to keep the nitrogen-rich soil from washing into the streams and rivers in the watershed. Finally, the sunflowers are harvested and the seeds are used to produce biodiesel."
They also are a smorgasbord for our struggling pollinators-honeybees, bees, and butterflies. They were loving them!
Once again, Mother Nature seems thrilled to give back for the efforts to protect her.
To learn more about our reciprocal relationship with nature and how nature can help heal you and promote your wellness, sign up for Sue's blog and/or socialize with her on social media @TheNatureNurse.
You don't have to be a dog in order to have days where the heat of summer makes you want to just lie on a chaise lounge on the back deck, or sip cold tea on the front porch. Now that summer is officially here, in the USA, the temperatures are creeping up and in some areas it feels like a steam room.
While our bodies may willfully agree to take a seat, our busy minds may want to keep zooming along in the left lane of our brain. Experiencing a mind-body disconnect can feel like we are being pulled in two different directions, like an overstretched Gumby doll. We may feel fatigued, frustrated, antsy and maybe overwhelmed.
For some meditation and mindfulness helps shift the mind into a lower gear. I've spoken with many, however, who say they can't, or don't enjoy, the trendy M practices. Maybe yoga is your thing or tai chi? For some people the arts help them find their center: music, painting, dancing.
Last weekend, on a blistering hot, sunny day, my husband and I took a walk in the woods at a nearby State Park. The lush, green canopy of leaves and intermittent breeze, created a moist, cool room to wander through. I brought my camera. The slower we went, the more we saw. The slower we went, the more the natural inhabitants of the forest went about their business; communicating with each other, scurrying through leaves for food, hovering over the lime green, algae-filled pond like a spaceship.
I stopped to take some pictures. Before long, my husband was asking to borrow the camera-each of us discovering something different while standing right next to each other. I have to admit, at first I got a little cranky being pulled out of my one-on-one moment with a dragon fly, who finally landed on a branch in a way that I could capture its glorious wings. But, I took a deep breathe, and reminded myself that it was more important to enjoy the moment watching my husband find that calm, in the now space, with a frog I didn't even notice was near us.
Here is a sampling of our photos:
Summer is a time to savor, ponder, explore, relax, and create memories. Our natural environment displays a unique show during this time. Maybe you will want to get out and enjoy the free show. As the thermometer rises and the evenings are filled with light, how will you slow down and enjoy the season?
Summer has unofficially started; at least it has here in the USA. Memorial Day signals the beginning of a season where we wear more white, barbecue with friends and kick back with a great book to read.
We can make our outdoor time more pleasurable by creating colorful container gardens. The 'jewelry of your home' these pots of floral wonder add joy to our patios, create a meditation focus by our pools, or great us with good cheer by our front doors.
Creating a gorgeous container garden is simple if you follow a few simple guidelines.
The most important thing to consider when choosing plants for a container garden is the amount of light your mini garden will get during the day. Full sun, morning sun, afternoon sun or shade. Plants often come with tags describing the best light conditions. If you need more help, consider visiting a local, independent garden center where you are more likely to find knowledgeable people to help you.
Consider plants with different traits and textures. Use upright plants in the center of the container if you will see the pot from all sides or place them in the back of the pot if it will be placed against a wall. Mounding plants go nicely around the upright plants and trailing plants will cascade over the edge of the planter. While flowers are fabulous, mixing in non-flowering plants can add unique flair.
Use fresh, good soil. Think of the soil as the plants nourishment. Just like us, bad food in, bad performance out.
Relax while choosing the plants you want to use. Let your intuition guide you. What plants do you feel drawn to?
Water. Depending on what plants you choose and the light they will be in, they may need to be watered daily or every few days. Be sure your container has a hole in the bottom for draining. If plants are left to sit in a puddle the roots will rot and the plants will die.
Check out my how to youtube video to learn more:
Have questions? Feel free to post them below.