Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Recently I received a message from a client in Washington state who has been busy working during this uncertain time. He was calling me with an update about a stress management strategy we had put in place for him. He has been short on sleep and really felt he needed to get outside to spend some time in nature. Sitting meditation was challenging for him so we integrated Forest Therapy walks into his strategy. He was looking forward to the weekend so he could get out and go for a walk. One important element needed when implementing a stress management strategy is internal awareness. Each one of us has our own guiding light, something that lets us know what we need when we need it, even when it points to doing nothing. To live with self agency one must be aware of the self, this internal guidance system can lead to wellness on all levels. Our current culture reinforces the need for external information, while I don't disagree, remembering to check in with what is going on inside will serve us well. Checking in internally offers what you need to proceed in the present moment. This is really what my client was sharing with me. He got out and went for long walk. He kept his distance from others, took some pictures, spent some time exploring invitations (in forest therapy walks, these are suggestions for interacting with the natural world) and came to the end of the trail, there he paused, something felt off, he checked in and discovered clearly he was not ready to leave. This internal tug was letting him know it was not quite time. He listened to this guidance, turned around went back for 30 minutes and then felt ready to go home.
How often have you been aware, had that internal guidance, that compelling feeling about something? I am sharing this because during a time of high stress we often focus on the external which can often disconnect us from our internal wisdom. My suggestion is manage the stress in your life right now, however you do that, stay connected to the outside world and then check in to what is going on inside. Find a way every day to be aware of what is happening on the inside, this guiding light is there to take care of you directing you to your true north.