In the corner of the world where I am, it’s that time of year when the trees explode into brilliant fall colors. I LOVE to walk beneath their beautiful branches and look up into that world of wonder. The energy that comes from walking in nature when it is calm, is one that rejuvenates the mind, heart and body. Sharing how to connect with nature and really appreciate and feel it’s beauty is so important for the growing and developing child’s mind.
I have always been drawn to be in the forrest. In reading the Hidden Life of Trees, I am fascinated in how threes communicate with one another through the network of their root systems. It’s a whole new world that opens up in knowing that an entirely hidden conversation is taking place underground. When Julia Butterfly Hill perched herself in a giant redwood named Luna to save it from being harvested for paper, she lived there for eighteen months, saving the tree’s life. As she lived and breathed with the tree for so many months, she began to feel the tree’s response to the other trees being cut down in the forest. The tree seemed to “cry sap.” Her children’s book that features this story, can be found on Amazon:
Here’s some other sweet children’s books on the topic of nature and relaxation:
2. Hold This
Recently a friend showed me how to be more present in my appreciation for trees and the essence that they create. She explained that tree energy is much slower than human energy and that trees appreciate it when we move slowly to approach them. She even smells the bark with mindfulness before sitting down to meditate back to back with the tree at the base of the trunk. As she was showing me how she connects with trees to practice mindfulness and to relax, I had the thought that this would be a wonderful relaxation activity for kids. So, here goes
Tree Connection: How to Relax With a Tree
- Start with a mindfulness walk. Begin to walk in a circle counter clockwise, a short distance from the tree. Walk slowly. Walk barefoot if you want and it is a safe, comfortable place to walk in the grass. Mindfully check in with how the grass feels between your toes: notice the coolness, how it tickles the bottom of your feet, the wet or dryness of it.
- Next, begin to gaze at the tree, mindfully taking in all of the features. Notice the branches, the shape of the leaves, the roots, it’s overall color and shape, the height. Find what you appreciate about the tree, what you like about it. Begin to think about it and consider the tree’s beauty, what it provides for us such as shade.
- Slowly, like in slow motion, begin to touch the tree’s leaves and branches. Walk very slowly, almost like in slow motion as you approach the tree. Ask the tree, either in your mind our softly out loud if you can approach it to touch it. See if you get a sense of a “yes” or “no.” If you get a no, move on to another tree and another until you feel a “yes.”
- Slowly approach the tree and begin to touch it’s bark, softly and gently.
- Smell the tree. There are beliefs that if you can smell a tree’s aroma, it is inviting you closer.
- Finally, sit down at the base of the tree, with the base of your spine touching the base of the trunk of the tree. Back up until you are touching the base of the tree. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
- Sit quietly next to the tree and relax, listening, watching and noticing the thoughts that are going through your mind. Ask yourself, if this tree had a message for me, what would it be. Listen quietly to see if a message comes into your mind. If not, no worries, just breathe and appreciate the strong tree supporting your back.
- Thank the tree, say words of appreciation and gratitude to the tree as you slowly get up and return to life. Breathe deeply and relax. Feel the peace that is present in the strong, solid, tree.
I tried this with the tree in my front yard and found it to be a very relaxing experience. I felt so peaceful and grounded afterwards, deeply focused and content. Try it with a child in your life and share your experiences. This is a wonderful way to connect with the trees in your yard if you have them!!
Other tree activities on this website are listed below. Have a week of relaxation with the trees! Wishing you brilliant and many peaceful moments,
Classroom Relaxation Activity: Tree Feet
Treehouse Relaxation Script
Hug A Tree Relay
Forrest of Calm: Group Tree Pose
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