By Cheri Stringer
The healing powers of nature are experienced less and less by our fast-paced, interconnected society. We turn into our phones, into our computers, more often than we ground ourselves in the forest, on the edge of a lake or in the mountains. Why do we remember these short trips into nature as such transformative events in our lives, when most of our time is spent away from the natural landscape? I can’t help but think about my passion-project, Edge2U, a nature immersion company that combines adventure and wellness. Nature Immersion is in my mind the key; To be immersed means, in essence, to be alone with our thoughts, through nature. For me, the healing occurs in a combination of open space and plant material.
When I go on a backpacking trek in the mountains, the vast space around me, in all directions, of forest, stream, lakes, mountains, gives me a sense that I am part of something bigger, something beautiful and profound. It slows my thoughts down, refreshing and cleansing my mind, body and spirit. If each of us had the opportunity to experience nature in this immersive way everyday, How might we be different as a human race? In many ways, meditation mimics the experience of nature immersion; That feeling of peace and connectedness to one’s thoughts and environment. However, nature has the power to bring you to this state of mind without practice, or intention, it simply heals in the experience itself.
During the construction of outdoor environments which I create with my team, I often think about the healing which will take place in that landscape when we are done, and I strive to maximize this potential. Oftentimes I ask myself questions: Will I feel immersed in this environment, amidst the color and texture of plant material? Would I be able to connect with family and friends here, over fire and food? Will the beauty of the space drive an inner dialog of peace when I have my morning coffee?