Scripture: Psalm 104:24-25
Some of my favorite questions, which I ask people of faith as I try to get to know them is “Where do you feel most grounded?” or “Where do feel God’s presence most strongly? ” The answers people give are amazing and unique. The majority of time, though, people name a place in nature: a favorite hiking trail, beach, forest, mountain, etc. If most of us feel closest to God when we are outdoors in nature, I wonder why we spend so much time indoors!
Not only does being in nature help some of us feel closer to God, but it also has remarkable physical and psychological benefits. Research has shown that simply walking on the grass barefoot can help improve sleep, reduce pain, decrease muscle tension, and lower stress! Feeling the physical connection to the earth can ground us in a way that perhaps other things cannot. Our bodies long to reconnect with the creation of which we are a part.
One of my favorite ways to de-stress and reconnect with God and creation is with a prayer walk. I go on a simple walk and try to intentionally open my heart to God. I go slowly and take time to notice what’s happening around me. I watch the birds and the bugs, the trees and the clouds, the flowers and the mountains. I try to notice everything and drink it in, giving thanks to God.
It’s a very life-giving and fulfilling practice for me, so I encourage you to give it a try! If you’re not able to go on a walk, find a place to sit outside or inside near a window and take 15-20 minutes to just pay attention and reconnect with creation. I pray that as you do, God will meet you there.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper. “
– William Butler Yeats