The Places That Heal Us

The Places That Heal Us

What is your most favorite place? Describe it. What qualities does it have? Beauty, silence, solitude, wildlife, wild people…what makes it special to you? 

We might not consciously realize it, but our body-mind-spirit is tuning in to the energies of place.But what makes up ‘place?’ It’s more than rocks, grass, sky, trees, flowers, wildlife. It’s all of that and more…the essence of place includes something that is perhaps nameless but it includes a felt sense of something special. 

When you are in your favorite place, what do you notice about yourself? What is happening in your mind? Your body? Your emotions?

I’ve spent years writing about how Nature affects me, how it touches my soul and brings me to greater harmony with myself and the place. I’ve bared my soul trying to encourage others to find this sense of wonder because in my experiences there has been nothing more profound and satisfying to connect deeply with whales, dolphins, rocks, sea, manatees, mountains…and at the depth of that connection find myself deeply in communion, in profound Oneness.

It’s obvious that humans find connecting with Nature healing, at least on some level. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the most visited national park in the United States had 12.5 million visitors in 2019. Grand Canyon NP had 5.97 million, Rocky Mountain NP had 4.7 million and Zion NP had 4.5 million. The total number of national park recreational visits in 2019 was 327,516,619 with a total recreation visitor hours of 1,429,969,885. Great Smoky had a record number of visitors in June of 2020 with an increase of 7% from 2019 and an increase in camping of 21% from the previous year. And this is only national parks. National forests, state parks, state forests, city parks, and other public owned lands offer much more opportunity for outdoor connection. And then there are places that are never statistically documented where people go outside to connect with Nature. 

Why do we go into Nature? Ultimately, I suspect the common thread that draws us is beauty. We still want to feel awe and wonder and capture wildness, even if it’s photographing a bear on a cellphone camera from 200 yards away or standing at the base of a heavily visited waterfall to feel the mist of water that plunges from above us to the ground where we stand. The same urge to connect with the magic of Nature is as strong for the person yelling and whooping at that waterfall as it is for the person standing in silence with tears running down their face.

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