Balanced Living 👍

The theme of this month is using mindfulness to create greater balance. Originally it was going to focus on another topic all month, yet all around me I kept hearing from loved ones to slow down and I kept receiving  messages from the universe to slow down or else! I heard the warnings, and I even felt some- yet I did not head them So as nature would have it, I  piled up a bunch of consequences as I just pushed on ignoring the signs, the signals and the pleas of loved ones. 

Today when I sat in meditation I asked a simple question, “what have I been ignoring?” What arose was the instant replay of the messages I have been getting and ignoring….SLOW DOWN! 

Restoring balance to my life, my relationships, my bank account all require me to slow down. So I want to share the decision that I made today because I trust the wisdom of balance and know in my wise mind that I am far from my middle path. I gave myself permission to move through the day like a turtle, starting first with my choice of morning beverage, continuing with my breakfast, my walk, the choice of activities and so on. By mid day I had finally slowed down enough to relax fully into a day of being slow, on purpose, to reset my mind, my body, and my soul. 

You are receiving this email much later than usual because I chose to slow down and rebalance my energy today. My intention is to take a few more turtle days until I can revamp my schedule and reassign some responsibilities and redesign a life of balance.

A few questions to ponder…..

1. Am I moving to fast through my life?
2. Do I cram too much into my days?
3. Am I adding more to my to do list than I am taking off?
4. Am I occupying myself all day with busy work?

Perhaps….

1. Am I laying in bed all day convinced there is nothing worth doing?
2. Do I avoid my tasks until it is five alarm fire?
3. Do I attempt to get others to do things while I lay listlessly on the couch?
4. Do I put off living waiting to have teh energy to move?

Maybe….

You are living balanced, moving fast when you need to catch teh garbage man or slow when you empty the boiling pot. The wisdom in action of moving and living in balance can grow from our meditation practice and also requires incorporating supportive daily habits. For me, slowing down has been a lifetime of work, and I am pleased to support others in doing some inquiry this month about your current state of balance and how you can restore if needed. 

Join our facebook group and share what you discover and do not hesitate to reach out if you need support getting back to the middle. 

With love and gratitude for all those who keep nudging me,

Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
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Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm BeachesDr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

52 Weeks of Mindfulness – June 20, 2021

On my weekend play-getaway trip earlier this month I came across this delightful book (PLAY:  Ideas, Exercises and Little Ways to Add More Fun to Everyday, by M. H. Clark) at a local college bookstore. I had been looking and looking for something that spoke to the important role that play holds for the average adult — someone like me — who may need a reminder or two both about the “why” play can be a healthy (even essential!) activity for us, and also a little guidance about the “how” to fit it into our lives. While not my typical literary go-to (I much prefer either non-fiction explorations of topics of interest for me, or psychological thrillers that are either real or made-up, not picky), I’d been hard pressed to find a book about play that wasn’t geared towards educators or parents wanting to dig their teeth into something that may support them in facilitating or understanding play in children so I took a look-see into this journal-style activity book about play. And what a sweet treat it was! Also, the serendipity was not lost on me that I discovered this little gem while engaging in a weekend filled with intentional and mindful play!


Because the type-A gal in me loves lists and check boxes no matter the topic, one of my favorite parts of the book was a list of types of play that may interest the reader. The intention of the list was not to necessarily try each of the activities one-by-one, but rather to identify which activity will make me feel good and then allow this suggestion to help me figure out what types of play (indoor/outdoor, individual/team, physically active/quiet and sedentary) I may prefer and then coming up with additional ideas of things to try. What I discovered about myself is that I prefer solitary play, and activities that also involve learning or trying something new. I made a commitment both to try some new recipes out on my family (yes cooking can be fun!) and also to maybe take a gardening class to learn more about how to plant and take care of a window box of flowers I have been wanting for outside of my kitchen window. 


Do you know the types of play that you enjoy? Take a look at the list below and check off the activities that appear fun or interesting to you, even if you notice resistance to actually doing them. What emotions arise when you imagine engaging in each of these activities?  What do you make of the resistance if it is showing up? How much of your reactions are based upon beliefs or prior experiences you have with these types of play? How might beginners mind help you to discover new activities that you may enjoy? Let us know!

 Play a simple outdoor game with others (cornhole, boxball/foursquare)Paint or decorate a birdhouseBlow bubbles outsideTry a new recipeSing in a local choirTry Tai Chi or yogaHand write and decorate a letter to a friendScrapbookPlay a simple indoor game with others (hide and seek, Uno)Join an adult recreational sports league

As always, with so much gratitude,

Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
 
Join our Facebook Group for challenges, book reviews and exclusive content!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

52 Weeks of Mindfulness – June 13

There were so many other things I could have been doing this weekend … catching up on work, tinkering with things around my house, laundry. Instead, I trekked to Western New York with some girlfriends for a nature-based retreat, and carved time out of my hectic life for play. I climbed massive rocks and kissed a garden gnome at a state park nearby, and ventured shoeless into a trickling creek. I pretended to be a coyote, walking intentionally, playfully and with curiosity, and I made friends with a beautiful, flowering tree. And I laughed and laughed at myself when I mistook the twinkling lights from headlights of passing cars as fireflies. It was joyous and freeing. I was really present in each moment as it arose. And as I sit here reflecting on my weekend in the mountains, I am also turning inward … noticing a sense of calm underneath the collected excitement and gratitude gathered throughout the day. And I feel more alive than I have – truly alive and aware and whole – in a long long time. How can you give yourself the gift of surrender to play this month? How can you allow yourself to reawaken to the wonder in the world?

As always, with so much gratitude,

Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
 
Join our Facebook Group for challenges, book reviews and exclusive content!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

52 Weeks of Mindfulness – June 6, 2021

When was the last time you laughed so hard your belly ached? Or you surrendered yourself fully to painting or singing? Doodled? Daydreamed? Danced? Fully enveloped in the wonder of the moment without letting the mind carry you away into your responsibilities and to-do lists? Allowed yourself to PLAY?

So what do I mean by play? Play, simply, is an activity engaged in purely for fun and recreation. No particular goal other than doing something for the purposes of enjoyment. Dr. Stuart Brown from the National Institute for Play defines play as “something done for its own sake … it is voluntary, its pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.” He further refers to play as a particular “state of being.” Seems simple, right? Actually not so much. 

I know for myself, surrendering to play doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Now that my kids are older, I easily make the excuse that my time is better spent in a “more productive” way … I type these words as I see my phone notifying me of work messages and my washer calling to me with the familiar switch-me-to-the-dryer ding. So much to do each day, and so many tasks requiring what feels like immediate attention. And then my attention drifts to the sunlight bursting through the trees outside my window … sparkling on the azure blue water in my pool. The mermaid inside me awakens, longing to swim, dive and float in the sunshine. Soaking in each glorious moment. I ponder my options, and return to typing … making a commitment to play sometime later today.

All work and no play … well you know the rest. In fact, play, frequently associated with child development, is actually an essential activity for adult emotional wellbeing too. Incorporating play into our daily lives can positively affect our bodies (often involving coordination and movement), our minds (improving memory and concentration) and mood (increasing the release of endorphins). It sometimes offers opportunities for collaboration and socialization, and other times can be a chance for much needed relaxation and ease. 

I read something recently that our culture is currently suffering from play deprivation, which for both adults and children can lead to a variety of negative consequences, according to experts. So how can our mindfulness practice help reintegrate play into our lives? The foundational mindfulness attitudinal tenet of beginners mind is a great place to start. Try seeing the world through the eyes of a child, and look at everything as an opportunity for something more than autopilot may dictate. Also, noticing when the mind wanders into fantasy or imagination — this may be a signal that you need some time to let go of the day-to-day grind and engage in some spontaneous unstructured play. Remember, play is a state of being — voluntary, enjoyable, timeless — not something we do. How can you find more time to play in your life? Let us know!
 As always, with so much gratitude,

Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
 
Join our Facebook Group for challenges, book reviews and exclusive content!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

May you walk Mindfully

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.
When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.
Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness.
This is the I AM that is deeper than name and form.
You are the knowing, not the condition that is known.
– Eckhart TolleWe can deepen our connection to our innermost self by practicing daily meditation AND by bringing mindful attention to activities in everyday life. Mindfulness in daily life means we intentionally, direct full attention to what we are doing, without judgment. This “one pointed attention” I shared in the blog article last week, that eliminated my allergy to doing the dishes, has also resulted in gaining greater joy from simple daily routines. 

As the momma of two adorable dogs who love the outdoors, and require daily exercise, offers me the opportunity to walk them with  mindful attention, rather than talking on the phone or listening to music. This has become a daily ritual that brings immediate joy- by uttering a simple question, “Want to go for a walk?” or the jumping for joy begins as soon as they see me put on my sneakers. The excitement and joy they express reminds me of what is available to me when I walk with mindful attention. Our pets can be helpful teachers and for me I have discovered how much beauty, peace, and joy that is available when I am present, fully present, on those daily walks. 

No pets? No worries! Take yourself for a mindful walk and open to nature, your neighborhood, your street, or yard. Slow it down and notice what you see, hear, feel, and smell. If you walk the same path each day, bring along beginners mind to help you see with fresh eyes. Be the puppy dog, or child who leaves the house without all the mental baggage and experiences joy every time they venture outside. Leave all your stirrings behind and simply walk.

Download the Walking Meditation Guide below and use as a journal prompt (print or download it) to take along on a walk or enjoy some post walk time to journal what you noticed and experienced.Make time to step outside fro walkObserve the objects: shapes, sizes, colorsOpen all your senes to sell, listen, touch and seeNotice how you feel in your body as you sense and savor on your walk.If you live local, come join us Friday May 21 at the Swinton Community Garden for a sense and savor walk through an edible garden in East Delray.

Want to learn more about nourishing your mind and body in nature? Check out our 8 week eco-mindfulness course and sign up now with the early bird registration. 

With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
  Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming class of Eco-Mindfulness and we nourish ourself in nature. Look for upcoming MBSR and MSC classes this fall and come practice in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Download Walking Meditation Guide

Mindfulness in Daily Life

Being mindful in daily life is the point of a daily meditation practice! This month join us as we explore the many ways we bring our practice off the cushion into our relationships, our work, and even the ordinary activities of daily life. 

My first meditation teacher, Eknath Easwaran, taught an 8-point program where one of the eight points was bringing one minded attention to simple everyday activities.This was later cultivated through DBT skills training, known as one-minded attention and over the years I have shared this skill with hundreds of clients in our psychotherapy practice. 

What is one-pointed or one-minded attention? It is simple and yet difficult at times, especially when we have been conditioned to live a life of multi-tasking. It means placing full attention on the present moment and if engaging in an activity such as walking, it means being present with the activity of walking. All attention is placed on the body walking, the sensations, the surface, the body moving through space. Bringing mindful attention to walking, eating, cleaning, driving, listening, cooking, and on and on.

The practice of one-minded attention can be cultivated through setting the intention to bring mindfulness to whatever we are doing in the present moment. A special challenge can be to bring it to things that we often do on “autopilot”, or we dislike doing. I have been practicing this for the past 20 years and have discovered the joy that exists in simple things and truth be told- transformed some of my less than favorable habits and changed my relationship to things that I once avoided at all costs. 

My mother would be shocked to read this and learn that I have spent years now practicing doing dishes with one-minded attention. As a child, I would disappear into the bathroom for a LONGTIME to avoid doing dishes and had a serious aversion to touching dirty dishes. My mother would joke that I would get a lifetime supply of paper plates as wedding gifts because she was sure I would never use dishes. Bringing mindfulness to doing dishes conditioned me to enjoy this time and even enjoy doing it in solitude, just like a meditation. 

Between mindfulness training and giving birth to an avid environmentalist I no longer use paper plates or single use items and have learned to conserve water as I scrub the dishes. This is all an unexpected change that came about through setting a simple intention to bring mindfulness to doing the dishes over several years- yes that is correct, “SEVERAL YEARS”.  It was not an overnight change and yet, if you ask my mom, it was deemed impossible at one time in my early life. 

I have so many other stories to share on how this simple, yet challenging skill, can transform your relationship with everyday life and even turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

If you are on facebook please join our Facebook group above and see more about practicing mindfulness in daily life. Share your experiences with our community of like-minded individuals and stay tuned for more tips this month.

With Love and Gratitude,

Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

 Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Explore nature 🌴

My return to nature sprung from my eldest daughter, Lizzie’s,  relentless pursuit of outdoor adventure and more importantly her passionate quest to understand and protect our precious planet. She quickly out grew the traditional summer camp and discovered Sustainable Summer as a way to learn and enjoy outdoor adventure all at the same time. Her trips to Ecuador and Costa Rica introduced her to camp counselors, Haley Pangman and Skyeler Congdon, a dynamic duo of nature loving explorers.

Lizzie’s love of these counselors, the endless stories, and the profound impact they had on her pursuit of knowledge and desire to integrate nature into her career prompted me to connect with them given the focus of this months blog on mindfulness in nature. 

It took some time to connect given their busy schedules and remote living on two separate farms in Colorado. Despite Skyeler’s lack of wifi connection, we managed to channel his energy and enthusiasm this past Monday, as I was joined by Lizzie Shutt and Haley to discuss the impact of leading groups and facilitating learning and growing through reconnection to nature. 

I hope you tune in and take some time to enjoy this interview and try out  the mindfulness activity Haley shares at the end on exploring how a simple walk in nature can provide a natural mirror to our inner life of emotions, thoughts, and intentions. I especially love how she guides us in marking a clear beginning and end to the walk as a way to contain the experience. I am trying to be vague so you will listen to her beautiful soul.

                   Listen here: Haley with Patty and Lizzie Shutt

Learning more about Haley and her pursuit of a Masters Degree in counseling and a focus on eco therapy, especially her love of the ocean, made it clear that this was just beginning of our time together. As many of you know me, the wheels were turning and ideas starting flowing.  So stay tuned to see how the seeds that were planted that day, take root, grow, and perhaps flower into healing opportunities with Sacred Treehouse and Therapeutic Oasis. 

See more about Haley below and join our facebook group or join the email list to be the first to receive information on our offerings and our upcoming 8 week virtual course of mindfulness in nature starting June 12, 2021.

With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
  Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org
Click here to listen to our recent interview with Haley Pangman
Haley Pangman

Haley is a graduate student in Counseling at Humboldt State University and currently resides on a regenerative farm in western Colorado. As a budding therapist, she is focused on deepening her relationship with Ecotherapy and Rites of Passage work. Haley finds her purpose through helping people explore and connect with the vastness of their inner and outer landscapes. She is also passionate about rock climbing, which she considers a form of radical self-care! Inspired by her work with the School of Lost Borders, Haley hopes to bring seeds of unconditional support and hope to the diverse communities she meets. Haley believes in the power of nature, people included, with her whole heart, and is committed to leaving footprints of compassion wherever she goes! 

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Nature Fix…the benefits of BEING in nature

My childhood summers were filled with outdoor adventure in the mountains, hills, and creek behind my grandparents’ home in rural New York State. Not all of it was fun, especially being chased by two older brothers toting snakes, crayfish, frogs and insects, who had the intention of scaring me to death.

Despite the countless memories of the teasing and difficulty keep up with older brothers, I nonetheless have a deep connection to those mountains, hills, and slow flowing creek that all hold a special place in my heart. I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to grow up near the ocean in sunny South Florida and spend my summers in the country of Western NY. 

I know from experience that nature can have a profound effect on calming the nervous system and reducing stress. My peaceful place continues to be my mother’s home nestled in the mountains and trees of Ellicottville, New York. Almost immediately upon arriving I can feel the tension drain from my body, as my shoulders drop several inches and all my worries and ruminations seem to just fall away.

I am the least physically active in my family so when everyone else heads out to hike, fish, ski or do the ropes course at a nearby mountain, I am content to sit on the deck listening to nature and taking in the sights and smells of the forest of trees surrounding the home.

I know in my body what nature does for me and instead of just waiting for those rare vacations in nature I am setting an intention to weave into my life some shorter bouts of nature bathing. And in the interest of learning more about the science behind how nature effects humans, I took to reading The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams.

The idea that nature can positively impact us was clearly not new to me, yet the idea of learning a bit about how research has finally caught up with anecdotal evidence I have gathered over the years is appealing to me as a psychologist, as I am always looking for ways to support people in healing and wellness.

In the Nature Fix, the author sets out to various places in the world where researchers have been active in collecting data on the effects of nature on human brains, and exploring the factors that contribute to positive effects.

What is responsible for the changes the researchers are finding? Is it the trees? The fresh air?  The effects of exercise? The absence of technology?  or just simply being on vacation and taking a break from daily routines?

One of the people Florence connected with was Ken Sanders, who recognized a profound shift by day three in groups he took on rafting trips in Utah, subsequently coining the term, The Three Day Effect. He teamed up with David Strayer, a neuroscientist, at the University of Utah to conduct research on what Sanders was observing trip after trip. Some of their conclusions are shared in the book, among so much more remarkable insights gleaned by other researchers across several continents. You can also check out the podcast 3-day effectby Florence if you prefer to listen rather than read. 

Tips from the experts on ways to start getting back into nature.

  • Try to go one weekend a month to a natural area
  • Visit a park once a week
  • Get your hands dirty and garden
  • Walk under trees
  • Go to the ocean, lake, river, stream, or pond

Stay tuned to learn more about the findings from research as we continue this month to bring our mindfulness practice out into nature and interview some bad ass nature loving guides and share some tips on social media.

If you are a local South Floridian, you can join us at the Delray Community Garden on Friday mornings for an 8:30am guided meditation or you can enroll in our 8 week virtual (for now) mindfulness-based nature program starting June 12th and offered by the Sacred Treehouse and coming this fall a 12 week Eco-Therapy group specifically focused on supporting healing from trauma.

Sitting outside, sensing the warmth of the sun on my face, the sounds of singing birds, the audible exhalation of Riley, our yellow lab, and taking in my view of all the palm trees and all of a sudden- a bird flies down from the roof top and lands on some of my husbands fishing debris. Yes I looked up and paused to take it all in and I even noticed a great big smile emerge from simply observing this precious creature stretch her wings. I could feel that smile radiate from my lips, to my chest, heart, and all the  way down into my tummy.

May each of you take some time to stretch your wings out in nature.

With Love and Gratitude,

 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse faculty

Join our facebook group above to learn more and share your experiences with a community of likeminded people walking the path of mindful living.

Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Returning to Nature

Mindfulness in nature can feel like a path home, a way to return to that peaceful place that rests deep within us. Last week we were invited to the Delray Community Garden to lead a mindfulness mediation outdoors in the garden. This donation only class was designed both as a way to raise funds and awareness for the community garden and to bring people together in a safe way to meditate.

It was a brief, yet powerful, experience that stayed with me throughout the day and provided a  grounded and solid sense of strength to navigate one of the most challenging professional days of my life. It brought me into Wise Mind and reminded me of the trust and faith I have in this practice to unleash love and wisdom as a source of guidance and support in challenging times.  

That day in the garden was not only a wish come true to me, it was also a manifestation of many people who support the garden, the Sacred Treehouse, and WiseTribe. We pledged to continue to offer this Friday morning 8:30 am meditation each week and we (The Faculty of the Sacred Treehouse and SCGP) look forward to welcoming you into the garden at the Swinton Community Growing Project.

There is no doubt you will experience a restoration of sorts. For me it restored my faith and hope in a humanity that can reconnect to nature and through nature find the way home, home to our divine nature. 

If you cannot break away or attend a garden meditation, try this guided practice wherever you are and join our Facebook group to share your experience. If you find this return to nature helpful for your mindfulness practice be on the look out and the first to sign up for the Sacred Treehouse 8 week Eco-mindfulness course starting June 12th. More information to follow and for now step outside and enjoy the guided meditation below.

Listen to a Return to Nature: Mindfulness is Nature Meditation

With Love and Gratitude,

Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

 Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Nature

I have been called a tree-hugger many times over the years.  And while the intentions of my name-callers may not be complimentary, I take it in with pleasure. Yes, I am a tree hugger, both literally and figuratively. When I am present, truly present in nature, I feel a deep connection with and love for the trees. This same connection and love is also felt for the oceans, rivers, mountains, flowers, plants, animals, and sky. Each time I take a mindful step into nature I am in awe as if it is the first time I am encountering a tree, a leaf, a flower, or a bird. It is as if I am revived — all at once I am freed from physical depletion and spiritual unconsciousness, wide awake now to the nature that surrounds me.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I needed this kind of revival most recently when I was overcome with despair and despondency … a deep suffering caused by many external stressors beyond my control. Some of these stressors are shared by most of the world at this time. On a more personal level the loss of an old friend through suicide tore my own heart wide open, and shook all others connected to this friend to their cores. Even though time and distance separated us from so many shared occasions of laughter and love, the memories all came rushing back and left me (and hundreds of others) aching. This prompted me to reach out to the remaining “Father’s Club” tribe of men to gather and support one another during this devastating loss. The healing power of connection that we all only wished we could have shared with our friend brought awareness to the silent suffering of many and the need to build connection and hope. It was that evening that our friends planned the kidnapping of my husband and I to the mountains of North Georgia. Both of us surrendered very quickly – and even now I don’t know if it was because I was too exhausted to fight or resist, or that I knew I needed to retreat into nature to heal. 

It was there in the Blue Ridge Mountains that my body and mind started to relax and release all the stress and emotions, and by the end of day two, I began to feel whole again. The smell, the views, the sounds of nature filled each and every moment with a freshness and ignited my beginners mind that continued through the weekend to bring moments of joy, peace, and awe. 

Poets and philosophers for centuries have lauded the benefits of nature, and now neuroscientists are investigating the effects that being in nature has on our brain and body to promote wellbeing, both physically and mentally. And this retreat to the mountains reminded me again of this universal and timeless wisdom, too. I am deeply indebted to our friends for bringing us back to nature, which revived us both in a way that gives me hope and a desire to inspire others to take a deep dive into nature with me this month. 

Now, this does not require a trip to the mountains … you can start where you are, right now! Take a pause from reading and look up and out to what is around you. If you need to stand up, walk outside or perhaps down the street for city dwellers to take a fresh look at what nature is nearby, please give yourself this gift. I invite you to even take 5-10 minutes each day to open to the wonders and beauty of nature. Join us this month as we continue to explore with mindfulness the benefits of being fully present in nature.

With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse faculty
 
  Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.