A Sea Meditation
The sea was steely and thick, it felt heavy with loss and longing. The horizon felt close, stifling and oppressive. Dark clouds and salt-tinged grey air filled the space between the deep expanse below and the closeness of the non-existent sky. I felt squashed, unable to breathe. But in that space I also felt safe. The sea was a metaphor for how I was feeling. Fat clouds burst overhead and cold rain broke the moggy atmosphere allowing a little oxygen to flow.
I was on the north coast of Wales, waiting. To feel better. To feel hope. To feel something.
Because sometimes anxiety hits so hard there’s not much to do but wait.
Nature is always my go-to therapy. In nature I feel safe.
I wasn’t alone. A handful of other lonely people joined the quay to share the sea. Some sat and stared. Some ate a hurried packaged sandwich. Some read, oblivious to the drizzle. Some braved an open window to fill their nostrils with the stinging breeze.
You see, we’re drawn to the sea.
We’re drawn to nature in general. It’s called Biophilia and is integral to who we are as human beings.
Biophilia is a term used to describe “the connections that human being subconsciously seek with the rest of life”. A description coined by Edward Wilson who wrote a (very big) book on the subject. As human beings we have a deep affiliation with nature. We are nature. Our biology is nature.
Most people talk about connection to nature as being in “green spaces”. We use the term being “green” to describe a love of nature and a type of conscious environmentalism. But there are many benefits in connecting with blue spaces as well as green spaces.
Lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, oceans, the rain and estuaries.
Water is, of course, one of the basic elements that make up the world.
Much research has been done into the effects of nature on our health, both our emotional and physical health.
We’ve known for a while now that green space is good for us but studies have also found that when people who were shown images of natural and urban environments, participants in the research repeatedly said they preferred those with the most water in. Even in urban environments. Those images with fountains or canals were preferential.
The European Centre for Environment and Human Health have found that those who live closer to the coast are healthier and evidence also showed that other aquatic environments helped health too.
I feel like we all intrinsically know this.
Water equalled survival in basic cave-person survival terms.
Our psyche is designed to love water.
How can you connect to a blue space near you?
Think about how nature can be part of your journey with positive mental health. Whilst the UK doesn’t currently prescribe nature as therapy (other countries do), we are very aware of how good it is for us. Victorian doctors often prescribed sea air as a cure for an assortment of ailments. (Guardian 2013).
Connect to blue space and come and share your stories with us.
My free Facebook Group Wellbeing and Wellies is a safe place for women to chat wellbeing, mental health, self-care and nature as therapy.