Bodywisdom: Healing Nature

A bout of negative thinking left me sick with a cold which had been building up over several days. As the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, a night ruminating ended with me having succumbed to the cold which was exacerbated by an inability to sleep for a couple of nights.

Across the continuum of our existence it behooves us to be responsible for our own health, both mind and body.

The field of holistic health empowers people to discover what helps them function optimally. Addressing preventative methods including nutrition, stress management, healthy lifestyle choices, adequate rest and exercise inspires self-agency and transformation. Information about alternative natural therapies abound both online and in print. Sustainable health care is self-care.

While taking an online class with shaman Sandra Ingerman about strengthening our relationships with the spirits of nature, I am reminded that the beautiful flowers springing forth in my yard and across our river valley are sentient beings whom the Lakota Sioux include in their honorific expression “all my relations.”

I have three giant orchids living in the bay window in my office. In full bloom right now, they symbolically represent my kids and grandchild. I bought them to tend lovingly and send good energy to, vicariously.

Exquisitely formed and colorful, the orchids overwhelm my visual field. I respond in kind to their positive vibration in appreciation for their voluptuous blooming on my window sill. Cultivating the beneficial “attitude of gratitude” for their beauty and presence transforms my negative mood and shifts my energy field.

As if a shade has been lifted from my eyes, suddenly life is full of promise again and abundance abounds. It’s a miracle cure! My cough subsides, energy returns and I feel better instantly. In this feeling of rapture, it seems like the answer to everything is to lift up my eyes and lighten up. How can I frown when these ambassadors of beauty are smiling so beguilingly?

Even though I have ordained the orchids to represent specific members of my human family, they are family in their own right, not for any symbolic representation but for themselves only. And it’s the same for the house plants; those green friends I water who grace our habitat while purifying the air.

Plants exhale oxygen and inhale our exhaled carbon dioxide. We in turn inhale their exhaled oxygen. This is a symbiotic system. “Symbiosis” derives from the Greek words for “with” and “living,” and refers to a close relationship between two beings of a different species.

Biophilia is a term describing our “innate affinity with life.” It is a resource for us to draw upon and explains why views of nature are such therapeutic forces in hospital rooms and schools.

Inspired by “all our relations” from across the interspecies boundary, beneficial emotions heal our hearts and soothe our nerves balancing our Being in their wake.

Nancy Ivey teaches yoga at CSUB and locally. She researches and writes health-related articles. Email her at