Category Archives: Nature Inspiration

The Surprising Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot

 

Photo: Source

Photo: Source

Mmmmm, Walking Barefoot Feels Good

In the past, on some rare occasions, I would take off my shoes while walking in the woods.  At first, an intuitive tingle in my feet would prompt me.  Then, I would slowly and carefully walk up a hiking trail, maybe for a quarter mile, feeling the dirt and the shapes of the stones, beneath my feet, being careful not to step on a protruding sticks or rocks, that might hurt my feet. This complete absorption of my attention, as to where I placed my feet, would make me more present and grounded.  The end result was a deeper connection to the woods around me and the earth beneath me.

Recently, I  read two articles on earthing, which is the practice of walking barefoot on the Earth for scientifically proven health benefits.  As a result, I started playing with walking barefoot again.  Keep in my mind that I live in NYC (Brooklyn, NY, to be exact), so I don’t quite have the luxury of a backyard to play barefoot in. As my first experiment with earthing, I sat on a bench at a community garden and then planted my feet on a bare slab of stone warmed by the sun and felt the warm tingles of magnetic energy float up my feet.  Ahhhhh.

Then, the other day I walked barefoot, for a little bit, in the park.  Now, mind you, I was a little anxious about it.  I was afraid of stepping on bugs, dog poop, garbage, you name it.  I don’t know if this is my city conditioning or if country folk would feel the same way.  But, yet again, I felt that flow of energy, once my shoes were removed.  It was actually, kind of, subtly incredible.  With my shoes on, the sensations of the Earth are muted out.  Of course, the Earth has a force field, that we can feel with or without shoes on, if we  pay special meditative attention. But, with bare feet, suddenly, that connection felt immediate and direct.  No separation any more.  The bottoms of my feet became alive and my nerves awakened as they sensed the grass and the texture of the ground beneath me.

The Science of Earthing

Going deeper, earthing (or sometimes referred to as grounding) is about the flow of electrons.  The Earth is negatively charged, so it has an abundance of electrons which can nourish us through the soles of our feet.  Our feet have a high concentration of nerve endings and guess what?  Nerve tissue is electronically conductive.  Usually, however, we are insulated from this particular benefit because modern-day shoe soles are made from rubber and plastics, which are excellent insulators from electricity. (Old-fashioned leather shoe soles, by the way, are excellent conductors of electrons.)  As a result, we rarely get to experience that nurturing, direct contact with the Earth.

So, why would we want these electrons flowing up through us?  It turns out that the surplus of electrons provide an antidote to free radicals, which are molecules that have become unstable due to a lack of an electron.  Free radicals can cause damage to healthy tissue as they scavenge for their missing electron.  Free radicals go hand in hand with chronic inflammation, an underlying cause of of many diseases, such as cancer, heart-disease, arthritis and diabetes.  What this means is that walking barefoot on the ground is a potent antioxidant for our body and, most likely, a birth right for our health and well-being that we simply don’t take advantage of.

According to Dr. James Oschman, a pioneer, in earthing research:

” So really what is happening with grounding or earthing is that you’re protecting your body from — I call it, collateral damage,” Dr. Oschman says. “Damage that was not intended to take place but does take place because we have disconnected ourselves from the Earth by putting rubber and plastic on the bottoms of our shoes.”

Dr. Oschman further states that the symptoms of inflammatory response- pain, redness, heat, loss of range of motion and swelling- do not need to happen.   Grounding research has discovered that when you place your bare feet on the ground, after an injury, electrons will flow into your body and spread through your tissues.  Any free radicals that have leaked into healthy tissue will be electrically neutralized.  This happens because free radicals have a positive charge and the Earth’s free electrons have a negative charge, so the two cancel each other out.

So, here are the many health benefits of earthing:

  • Beneficial changes in heart-rate
  • Thins the blood, preventing elevated levels of viscosity associated with heart-disease
  • Reduces chronic inflammation and associated pain
  • Neutralizes free radicals in our bodies, significantly reducing oxidative stress and enhances recovery from  injuries, trauma and exhaustion.
  • Improves balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems
  • Enhances circulation and improves energy levels
  • Improves sleeps
  • Reduces hormonal and menstrual symptoms

Now, that you are ready to earth, what are the best surfaces to step your bare tootsie on?  I say do whatever you can.  I live in Brooklyn, NY without a backyard, so whatever patch of grass I can find, I step on (you know those patches of grass that are between the sidewalk and the street).  However, walking barefoot on the sand, in the ocean or close to the water is especially beneficial and ideal, as  sea water, for instance, is a great conductor of electrons.  Walking on dewy morning grass is also great.  Even concrete is a good conductor, so long as it hasn’t been sealed by paint.

Do you walk barefoot on the Earth?  Are there any other health benefits to doing so that I haven’t mentioned?  Please share your thoughts and experiences and  happy earthing!

 

 

 

 

The Magic of Summer Rain Dances

Photo Credit: Daxe09

Photo Credit: Daxe09

Who Likes Dancing In the Rain?

Apparently, I do.  For the first time ever in over 37 years, I willingly threw myself into a downpour.  No more of that timid stuff– mists and sprinkles (although, they are amazing, mind you.)  I was ready for the intensity of a gorgeous, full force rainfall.

Stepping out of my apartment, with my semi-broken umbrella (i.e. security blanket), I gently got used to rain drops hitting my skin, where my tiny umbrella did not protect me.  I, then, pulled away the umbrella to feel the rain on my skin and then shielded myself again.  I went back and forth like this a few more times, until I ditched the umbrella altogether.

The rain briefly lightened– not so bad.  But then, the deluge returned, and just like jumping into cool lake, where at first it is slightly unpleasant as my body gets used to the temperature of the water, I soon adjusted, feeling the pure watery bliss.

Okay, so I never, literally, danced in the rain, but I was dancing in side.  I tilted my head back, letting the rain slide down my face, down my arms, down my back, down my legs, soaking my dress completely.  Ahhhh, cleansed by water– joy free flowing.  I opened my arms wide to the sky, letting the rain beat down upon my heart.  As I walked down the street, I saw a few people dashing to get out of the rain and a few more people standing in doorways waiting for it to pass, but I was loving being in it 1000%.  So much so, that I ran in it, like a child expressing glee.

It’s moments like this that I realize that more rain dances and expressions of joy are in order.  Next time, I want to go deeper and wider, and not stop and go home to take my laundry out of the wash, but keep going, allowing the moment to fully blossom and awaken my life.

 

The Magic Of Rainwater For Your Hair

 

Who enjoys dancing in the rain?

Who enjoys dancing in the rain?  Photo Credit: Praise Philly

Nature is absolutely magical and sometimes even beautifying.  The simplest things can be the most profound.  Take rainwater, for instance: while I used to resist being outside in the rain, particularly in cold weather, I now remind myself, when caught in a spring sprinkle,  to relax and enjoy.  The rain brings out the child in me who wants to splash in puddles, muse at drops glistening over leaves and enjoy the sensations of tiny droplets falling on my skin.  Not to mention, rain does amazing things to my hair.

Just two days ago, I got caught in the rain.  I told the part of me, that wanted to hurry to my destination and get out of the rain, to relax.  I slowed my pace, relaxing into the sensations of a light, cool rain showering all over my skin.  I was wearing flip flops and seemed to inadvertently splash some dirt, from puddles, up the backs of my legs.  There was a joy to this messiness.

Once I got indoors and spied my reflection in the mirror, my previously flat, slightly frizzy hair, was now wavy, soft and glossy.  Hooray!  I have also noticed that when I get caught in a rain or mist, that I can go an extra day without washing my hair.

So, what is about the rain that creates this hair magic? Rain is a soft water which hair loves. Hard water doesn’t wash your hair as well; you can’t lather as well and it doesn’t rinse out the soap scum very well either.  Also, rainwater doesn’t have chlorine, which is harsh for our skin and hair.

Digging a little deeper, what I found out from a company called,  Rainwater Connection, is that rainwater is a “high quality water” that “is soft, neutral in pH, free from disinfection by-products, salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants.”   However, they caution that you should properly collect and filter your rainwater for personal use.

When googling about the benefits of rainwater for hair, several websites cautioned against using acid rain.  Holistics.com cautions: “Rainwater still has chemicals in it, but it won’t contain some of the heavier chemicals found in hard water. Rainwater is not safe to drink without filtering it first. If you live in an acid rain area or any place where a layer of smog casts a pallor over the town, washing with rainwater is not for you.”  I even looked at a map that showed acid rain prone areas of the United States. It looks like I live in one of them.  Still, my hair seems to love getting caught in the rain.

Here are some other website pages that tell you how to wash your hair with rainwater and also things you should be cautious about when using rainwater:

I keep wondering, however, if there is something else about rainwater other than it’s softness, lack of chlorine and lack of other contaminates?   Unlike treated tap water, it comes from the sky and is part of the cycles of nature.

It is alive.

A selfie of yours truly, enjoying a light morning rain.

A selfie of yours truly enjoying a light morning rain.

The Persistence Of Nature In The City

 

Springs lushness ignites the soul.

Spring’s lushness ignites the soul.

Spring has been springing for over two months now and I’m still in awe.  A city that had felt hostile, cold and barren now dances in bird song and explodes in green lushness, flowers and joy.  I just can’t get over it and nor do I want to.

The beautiful merging of man-made and nature.

The beautiful merging of man-made and nature.

I often take the scenic route, avoiding busy or ugly streets, preferring the magical blend of beautiful architecture, lush gardens and the sway of trees sighing in the gentle wind.

Every bit of green helps.

Every bit of green helps.

You see, ever little bit of green helps in an urban environment.  The less cement, the better.  I often wish the sidewalks were narrower, giving way to plant life instead.  Perhaps, our walkways could be like quaint brick paths with little grasses, weeds and dandelions creeping up  between the bricks, exposing the soil and the richness of life.

Nature persists.

Nature persists.

In spite of the concrete, pavement, dense buildings and humanity’s intent to control and contain nature, she persists, determined to burst forth.  You see her in between sidewalk cracks, growing up the side of buildings and taking over the yards of vacant homes.

Nature persists through concrete.

Nature persists through concrete.

I often wonder about her rich soil and microorganisms trapped beneath streets, buildings and sidewalks, wondering if they persist too?  I wonder about the rain water that longs to feed the soil and give birth to life, that is often left to trickle down the cement and into storm drains instead?

And, I wonder if cities could be like forests, seamlessly merging man-made with nature in a mutually nourishing  and symbiotic dance expressing the web of life?

 

 

Nature Doesn’t Rush

RESIZE IMG_2033

One of the things, that my boyfriend and I seek to do is to enjoy play-dates in nature.  Back in early October, we hadn’t had a nature excursion for over a month. During that span of time, things had become a bit strained between us.  It seemed like, despite our best intentions to nurture ourselves and our relationship, much of our time spent together was logistical and stressful.  As we strained to get the cooking, cleaning, pet-care, errands, work and commuting done, we weren’t present to each other.   It seems kind of crazy that is the norm in our society—being varying degrees of spread thin.

That said, our relationship was feeling very blah.  However, we finally made plans to enjoy one of the last summer-like days of the season at the ocean.  As we drove in the ride-share car out of Queens into Long Island, it felt like the energy between us lightened.   As soon as I got to the ocean, away from NYC, I just felt different.   The energy of the ocean was rhythmic and soothing.  I felt it like a vital force that filled my being.  I felt my heart open and my purpose become clearer.  The forgotten magic flowed between my partner and I again.  Once out of the energy of have-to, chores, work (neither of us make $ at our passions yet) and time-constraint, the love, understanding and playfulness was there clear and strong.

The very next day, the magic, non-rushed energy started to disappear.  I saw my partner’s face look distracted and no longer present, as he mulled over work plans and time seemed, yet again, constrained.  He had to go to work, even though he had intended to take the day off.  However, he still wanted to go out for tea with me beforehand and also do a playful power-walk/jog.  I wanted to eat before we had tea.  I looked up at the clock beginning to calculate how much time would be needed to do dishes, cook, eat, go for a walk-jog and then have tea.  I felt like there was very little time and that I must rush (on my day off, no less).  I instantly started to feel nauseous.  It had never been so clear before.  I was off course.

You see, nature doesn’t rush.  We have designed our society  in many ways contrary to nature and our own true nature.  And that is the adventure and passionate challenge I have set out to explore—creating a life nurturing to me and inspiring others to do the same, where we share our gifts and live in harmony with the Earth.

The Smells And Sounds of Autumn in Brooklyn

2013-11-22autumnjpg

Each season has unique sounds, smells and, of course, visuals.  The visuals are more obvious, so I will focus on the other senses.  I kind of forced myself to go for a walk and enjoy the gradually cooling weather.  I am urban nature lady, am I not?

One thing about living in NYC is that nature sounds are not so abundant.  When I walk down any street with significant traffic, that pretty much drowns out any bird calls or wind rustling through the trees. Plus, there are fewer trees on busier streets, so, hence fewer birds.  Kind of a sad thing for me. If I want some nature sound therapy (one of my favorite things), I have to find a quiet side street not close to a busy street.

What I heard tonight was indescribably beautiful.  To describe it sounds like nothing– I heard a gentle breeze through the trees.  However, there was a subtle delicacy, so refined, organic and intrinsic as if the wind had the most gentle, celestial fingers playing the leaves like a harp.

Also, of worthy note is that smell of smoke that I love in autumn.  Someone must have a fireplace or burned their leaf pile.  And, the coolness of the air traveling up my nostrils, was like a soothing menthol.  Ahhhhhh, autumn.

Moonlight and silent silhouettes

A beautiful musing that a friend and fellow blogger wrote. Please enjoy.

A Part of Nature

Sometimes I think about animals in the wild, and how in tune they are with themselves and their surroundings.  I strive for that.  I don’t always succeed, but when I do, I frequently find that I am happy and content.

A couple of weeks ago, I got all gussied up and went out for the evening.  As soon as I got to my destination, I realized that I had made a mistake.  It was crowded and noisy, and just went against my grain in that moment.  So, I turned around and left.

As I was driving home, I felt downright miserable.  I thought about what I should do.  I was all dressed up, so I thought about going somewhere else, or calling a friend, but nothing sounded appealing.  Then, it hit me.  I wanted to sit in the quiet of nature.

I got home, threw my dress-up clothes in a…

View original post 207 more words