When I’m struggling with my mental health, when my mind is in overdrive, and my nervous system has tripped me into “high alert”, I put my feet in the sand, and I walk.
It only took me around 40 years to realise that this was the answer for me. I always was a late bloomer! (More about that later in the week..).
Now I’ve learned there is science behind it too, but I just know from how it feels that it has a magical effect.
As it would happen, today was one those days. My head was a in a muddle, and my to-do list was getting longer and longer. I couldn’t even think what to write about, and if you know me at all, it’s not that often I don’t have anything to say.
I knew that I had to get out of my head and into my body.
For it is in the body that the wisdom lies. Our body was our first home, and when we go back to it, that’s where we can feel safe, where we can trust again.
Ironically, the body is also the place we go to heal our “body image issues”. For it is not the body that is the problem, it is our thinking around it.
The way to stop our negative thinking around it is to go into it, and to place it into it’s natural habitat – the Earth.
When it’s you and nature, have you noticed you’re really not bothered about your body?
I remember when I was in Lombok, and it was me, a bikini, boardshorts, a moped, a surfboard, and not much else. I never gave a second thought to what shape I was in.
Yet when I returned to the UK, and I was surrounded by images of so-called “perfection”, 8 foot, size 4 mannequins in shop windows, selling a dream that wasn’t real, my insecurities soon returned. In the changing rooms, I was wondering why the clothes in the window didn’t look like that on me.
I remember thinking how ridiculous it was. I had a normal body, if anything, in pretty good nick, and yet there I was feeling “less than” after weeks of not giving a hoot.
So I know now that I need to avoid all of that nonsense as much as possible and go back to what’s real…
What’s real is going back to nature, accepting my body as it is, and where I am now. With my feet in the sand, the sun on my skin, and getting out of my busy mind.
A few weeks ago, I stood up in front of 150 people with only little shorts on. This time last year, I was leaner, skinnier than I am now, but I was way more insecure and I couldn’t have done that with the same confidence, where I did not think once about whether I had a yoga teacher’s body.
That’s because this time around I did not have the voice in my head that told me I wasn’t ok as I was. (If I’m feeling brave enough, I’ll share why later in the week!)
Bigger and Better this year…
When we aren’t grounded, that voice can take over, but when we put our feet into the Earth, we get out into nature, and preferably on our own when we need to, that’s when we learn to observe those voices, question them, ask them if they are true. Eventually we just let them go…
At some point we forget the projections of others, the expectations of the modern world, the unrealistic images of a perfection that doesn’t exist, and we go back into our first home, and it’s OK.