It’s finally warming up and I’m itching to get outdoors. Vitamin D does the body so much good. And regular time outside truly nourishes the soul. If you’re feeling a little stuck on your spiritual journey, just take a step outside. Maybe your tired body or foggy brain is preventing you from hearing your inner voice. A short walk can knock down those walls. Maybe you’re frustrated that you can’t connect with God. Meditation and prayer under the stars open your spirit and open the heavens. Simple spiritual steps practiced outside can do wonders for the soul.
I grew up in the middle of 40 acres of woods—and it was the best place for the formative years of my life. Being outside in God’s beautiful creations provided nourishment to my soul and opened my spirit in a way that only nature can. There’s nothing quite like catching fireflies at night or climbing a tree to see the world around you. Being outside expands your perspective and provides a perfect place for self-discovery. Getting out really helps focus in.“Turning your attention toward the scenery can help you practice focusing on the present instead of mentally cycling through worrisome thoughts. By spending more time in nature, you might even unintentionally build a mindfulness habit” (Ecotherapy and the Healing Power of Nature). I love the dichotomy of nature—an opening of the spirit for a greater perspective, but a more intimate look inward. The outdoors allows us to recognize the beauty of our spiritual nature. “How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies looked at you and thought the world needed one of you too” (Unknown). I’m often amazed at the grandeur of mountains or peacefulness of a body of water. But both are so unique and provide different kinds of beauty on God’s canvas. You are no different. You are needed for your personality and unique contributions to this world as well. Consider making a regular habit of being outdoors and you might discover a deeper connection and understanding of your spiritual identity. You just might find “you” outside.
Outdoors with Others
Your soul also needs connection with others. Relationships nourish your spirit and getting outdoors with others can be fun! A recent study shows that even 5 minutes outside together yields greater family cohesion and cooperation. By stepping away from the constant notifications and long to-do list, moods improve and we can focus on things that matter most. “With all the stimuli in our everyday environments, our attention is taxed more than we realize. In nature, you can relax and restore your attention which is needed to help you concentrate better” (thriveworks.com). Get outside to strengthen those family and friend relationships. Focus on the people you love most.This last year with quarantine, we’ve all been deprived of outward connection and have been cooped up inside. We've seen mental health cases rise and individuals struggling more than ever before. I know my soul has felt a little weary with loneliness. Your spiritual health has taken a toll because of this quarantine as well. So--find a way to get outside, invite a friend, and notice your soul feeling refreshed. Outdoor adventures await everywhere. Check out this top list for outdoor fun.
The Outside, Upward Pull
While your soul longs for fun and connection with other people, it also yearns for a relationship with your higher power. This sacred, personal relationship will experience a new level of connection outdoors. If you’ve ever been stargazing, you know the special feeling of looking into a vast sky. There’s an upward pull, a moment of awe. Clear blue skies and early morning sunsets are evidence of something greater as well. Imagine engaging in regular spiritual practices under God’s beautiful sky. Connection unlike ever before.So, try it. Breathing in fresh air while studying sacred text will allow your mind to absorb it more quickly, which will enable faster application. Outdoor meditation, while taking in the beauty of the world, will open your spirit and fill your soul with direction from heaven. Reflective journaling under a tree helps expand your vision of who you are. These spiritual habits will have enhanced benefits when completed outside. There is greater peace, greater direction, and the best kind of connection found outside. Get creative with your spirituality and discover ways to take it outdoors.