Give Yourself a Soul Date in Nature

I recently treated myself to a solo nature retreat, my own adventure into the blooming deserts and coasts of the West. Women’s Empowerment Workshop was on my mind as I rafted the Salt River, hiked through giant saguaro cactus fields, listened for stories from ancient Anasazi ruins, adventured among the Joshua trees, climbed rocky peaks, felt the ocean spray on my face and sat in awe at the foot of Zion’s cathedrals. It was a true Soul Date in Nature that reconnected me to myself!

It has been many years since I wandered and wondered alone to this extent, and I found that in these roamings I re-discovered my personal pace. I ate when I was hungry, slept when I was tired, awoke when I was ready. I hiked without a goal – stopping to take photos, or witness a small mystery unfolding between insect and flower, or observe the dancing shadows cast by giant cottonwood leaves. I stopped often so that I could simply BE in a place, all senses awakened and, like a sponge, soaking it into the depths of my being.

The concept of intentionally creating space for official Soul Dates was introduced to me by WEW facilitator, Holly Bahadur Bryson, and it’s a good one. Set aside an hour or two of unstructured time each week just for you and your wanderings. Hold a question and then open to your experience in nature for answers. A lovely concept and practice. It reminds me of when I was a child on my own in nature. I ran, frolicked, splashed, picked up stones to see what was underneath, made forts, rested in tall grass, talked to the clouds, explored and experimented with everything around me. I played at my own whim and it was yummy.

Somewhere between athletic training, college studies, a career, having children and social demands, it was easy to lose sight of my own personal pace and move through life to the demand of someone else’s tempo. Wandering in the desert for a week or two was the perfect reminder of my personal tempo, and that when I’m aimless and wondering in nature, I’m deeply connected to my soul.

Have you had a Soul Date in Nature lately? Happy wanderings!

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