This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Surround yourself in nature's beauty

If you're trapped indoors all the time, you're missing out on the most natural way to mend the mind--nature.

Plan outdoor walks, weekend excursions (even if it means a road trip to the nearest park), or some kind of last-minute getaway. Nature offers naturally what the mind and body needs to heal itself, especially if you're talking about stress, fear or anxiety--three things that can get in the way of a person's forward movement.

The above photo, of course, is an extreme example of what I mean by getting out in nature. I took it at sunrise from the balcony of my hotel at Monument Valley in January. It's one of the majestic rock formations called a mitten. At Monument Valley on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona, there is no such thing as a bad view. Have you ever seen anything so peaceful?

I bet you can find something equally (enough) as lovely where you live.

Imagine what it would be like to sit on that balcony where I sat and just stare at the rock formations like these that surround your space. Maybe you're sipping a cup of hot coffee or tea. As the sun rises, you witness the many layers and colors of the sky take shape behind the stone monuments, creating a palatte of pleasure for your mind you don't want to escape. Pretty soon, that's all your mind needs. There is nothing else. It's captured your attention and won't let go. Not a bad place to be "kidnapped."

I would say I was lucky to be able to visit this magnificent place this year as part of research for my travel guide. But sights like these are exactly why I focus my work around travel. It's something I've purposely chosen so that I can incorporate nature into my life's work. I learned on those bike rides of mine that got me through my roughest times: nature is man's best medicine. At a time when my therapist kept suggesting anti-anxiety pills, I kept saying, "No, thanks. I have a bike." That's what worked best for me. I'd like to think it would be more prevalent a prescription than pills.

Even if your job, career, or business doesn't involve the outdoors, you can make time for it on the weekends or evenings just by taking walks through your neighborhood. You don't have to plan a grand experience. That's not important. What's important is that you give yourself time to just be. Time without letting stress, fear or anxiety get in the way of your thoughts is a beautiful thing. It's a rare thing for some, but it's a necessary thing for all, I think.

Some of our nation's most notable men in history attest to the benefits of the outdoors as well. David Thoreau, for instance, the author of Walden, once said he could not preserve his health and spirits unless he spent at least four hours a day in the woods, hills, and fields where he lived. But it was Hippocrates, the Greek philosopher and "father of modern medicine," who first referred to walking as man's best medicine.

If you don't think you'll be going anywhere anytime soon, there's always your backyard, or a chair by a window. Just sit and watch. Soon, you'll see the birds flying around, or you'll hear them chirping and cooing back and forth. Maybe you'll see a squirrel scurry across the lawn. Maybe you'll view an ant carry his giant crumb across the sidewalk.

If nothing else, just sit and watch.

Pretty soon, you'll see what I mean.

Do you have a meditative or healing experience with the outdoors that you'd like to share with us? If so, post your comment below and let us know what you think about surrounding yourself in nature's beauty.


Tony said...

I remember my first visit to the Grand Canyon nearly two years ago. As it turns out, it was also the grand opening of the new Sky Walk bridge. You know, the glass and steel structure that extends out several feet from the rim. Did I mention it's glass??
Imagine taking all this in at once: seeing the spectacular view around me AND the Colorado River down below. UNDERNEATH MY FEET. Out of admiration and respect for this blog's author, the first words out of my mouth are not fit to print on this site.
After I was able to maintain some composure, I was able to take in the sights. The colors. And thinking about who traveled this canyon many many years ago. It's almost mindblowing to take it all in, but then you exhale and thank God for such a beautiful place to visit.

The BIKE Lady said...

Okay, Tony, I walked the Sky Walk. Yeah, right. If you call hugging the side AND the rail around the whole thing...waiting for people to walk AROUND ME! But I'm glad I saw it and did it, anyway. LOL

Thanks for posting. I'm glad you were able to see that magnificent place.


polkadotsuitcase said...

Since I was a kid, if I needed a break from everything, I'd climb a tree. Even through college and in my bachelorette days -- things got crazy, I'd find a tree. I loved sitting as high as I could go, feeling the wind gently rock the tree, quietly eavesdropping on the birds and was my cheap retreat! Climb down, everything would be right with the world.

Haven't done it in ages, though (except for this past week when I had to rescue a baby bird -- blogged about it if you want the full scoop). Good to know I can still haul the old body up a tree if I need to!


The BIKE Lady said...

I love that--tree climbing for respite. Glad to hear you're still in good enough shape to do it today. :-)