Ever since I was a little kid, I was going “into the woods”. My dad is a deer hunter and when we were little, he would take my brother and I with him into the woods to look for deer tracks, deer crap, antler rubs, and any other signs of deer existence. I considered that our bonding time. Those are my most favorite memories with my dad and brother. That and when we’d go fishing. I know I talk a lot about my relationship with my dad and I might sound bitter a lot of the time (more like hurt), but not all of my memories with my dad were painful. When we’d go out into the woods to look for deer tracks, it was peaceful. That’s the calming effect of Mother Nature. Even She could calm his anger.
Nature is home for my dad. It’s where he gets to do what he loves: hunt. But I know it’s more than that. For me, it’s where I feel safe. It’s where I feel the most at peace. It’s where I feel grounded. It’s where I feel like I belong. And I believe it’s the same for my dad. It’s more than just a place where he gets to go do what he loves, even though he may not see it like that.
I didn’t always see it like that either. I never realized how much I NEEDED nature until this year. I needed it to “refuel”. To connect. To stay grounded. 2017 has been an intense year of healing for me. My energy levels have been up and down, up and down. It’s been exhausting, but it’s also been freeing? I’ve spent a whole year doing nothing but healing. You would think it would be relaxing, right? I don’t have a job. I’m not “working”. I should be in Heaven. Yeah, no. Because I felt like I didn’t deserve to relax. Shame and guilt. And I dealt with a lot of criticism and judgement from myself and others. I dealt with a lot of fears. But right now, writing this, sitting on a fallen tree by the river, listening to the birds and the wind blowing, I feel at peace. I am relaxing. My biggest lessons I learned this year: 1. Trust my intuition and follow it. 2. My needs are important. and 3. Stop being so hard on myself and others. It’s true. Once we learn how to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves, we learn how to do the same with others.
I lost faith and hope for a long time. Then I felt like they came back, but recently, I feel like they’ve been leaving again. So I decided to head out to the park. Coming out into nature, it makes me feel grateful. I’m so grateful for everyone and everything this year. Even for those who don’t have faith in me. I’m grateful. They motivate me to continue to have faith. I’m not giving up and don’t you either. Keep the faith. Lots of love. And if your energy levels are low, I recommend going out into nature to refuel. These pictures are from Cape Fear River Trail. About 25 minutes from where I live. ❤
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin