I’m back to my roots in rural Virginia this week. What started as an extended weekend trip for a meeting I needed to attend for my brother, turned into an extended stay following the loss of my great aunt. She was one of 6 that included my grandmother, 3 of which passed in the last year, and 2 still with us. Trips home are full of so many emotions related to my own grief process as well as watching how grief transforms families in such drastic ways. Some individuals truly embody the cliché saying of being the glue that holds the family together.
For me, stillness is a very important part of my grief. I’ve been on numerous nature walks in the woods of the family farm. Don’t worry, video evidence to follow, but rural Virginia means access to my mobile hotspot with my cellphone balanced in a window where I can get maybe 2 bars! Yes, these places still exist, lol. Anyway, back to the topic of stillness. Mindful walks… letting my feet get heavier with each step, hearing the dry leaves crunching under each step, and the birds chirping in the distance… bring the stillness to me. I find a spot where it feels right to stop and pause. I pause to listen. I pause to close my eyes and feel the breeze on my face. I pause to hear and open my eyes just in time to see the squirrel scamper through the trees.
The woods hold space for me. They embrace me and comfort me. As the woods hold me, they connect me to nature, giving that reminder that we are part of nature, and the cyclical rhythms seen in the woods around me are equally alive within me. Remember “our people” can be in nature. When in doubt, return to the elements. Turn on curiosity and interact intentionally with whatever elements call to you in those moments.