In the September of 1999 my daughter was born. Whilst she was as perfect as a porcelain doll, I Immediately knew something was wrong with me. I expected the joyful flush of new motherhood but instead felt an anxious unease As the weeks rolled away this unease developed into low mood that became a black cloud, following me around every day after lunchtime. Regular as clockwork a feeling of anxiety snaked into my chest that grew into a feeling of dread deep in the pit of my stomach.
I would take my baby upstairs and spend the rest of the day on my bed watching crappy TV. I told no one as I didn’t have the words. My mouth fell open and nothing came out. Everything was perfect wasn’t it? What did I have to complain about? As the months passed I became more isolated and introspective. I felt broken and had no idea how to fit it.
In hindsight, that autumnal afternoon I dusted off the pushchair and pulled on my welly boots was the result of an urge. Hardly a call to the wild but a definite nudge, a tug to step outside as if something was waiting for me there. In my mind I was heading to the end of the lane and back but my path was barely perceptible when I returned home 3 hours later.
This afternoon hike became ritual, driven by necessity for nature’s daily prescription. An intangible extraction of down to the boots and bones healing that was medicine for my body and mind. If it was bottled what would I write on the label? Contains everything you have forgotten you need.
There is a beautiful concept of holding space for another. It is an act of presence without judgement. Compassion and acceptance held within open palms.
Nature held me in this space. Whilst I spilled salt baked tears in the last rays of the summer sun, howled into the Autumn winds and cracked open my heaving heart on the frost topped fields, making my way home in the dark.
I am not alone. I see so many others seeking solace in wild places. An instinctive pull towards these ancient healing spaces. Sometimes I am called to the expanse of big skies, sometimes to root my feet in the soil and other times to reflect in the waterways as I open my soul to the liquid pool.
I have since found nature a great container for times when I’m seeking mental restoration. I also work with others in this way. If your mind is busy and your body tense, step outside into the natural world and simply immerse yourself there.