I dare you to go hug a tree & climb a mountain...here's what happened when I did.
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
My personal life changed in the late summer of 2016. Suddenly I found myself alone on a Sunday, something I had never experienced before then. The first Sunday was spent crying on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself, missing my children so much it physically hurt. Then something remarkable happened. Actually I should change that to someone remarkable turned up on my door step the following Sunday and opened my eyes to all the wonderful things I had always wanted to do, but somehow had never found the time to do them.
Emily my co worker and dear friend turned up at my door and instructed me to wear some wellies and off we headed up to the woods. I am incredibly lucky to now live surrounded by woods of Beech, Oak, Chestnut and Pine trees. When we reached the large forest Emily told me to go and hug a tree. I hesitated and laughed nervously thinking that she had finally gone mad. Then I stood by a magnificent beech tree and lost my inhibitions and hugged it. I managed to quieten my mind for a few moments and started to tap into this strong tree and its energy. As an Acupuncturist my job revolves around reading, moving and feeling energy of humans. This was a completely different type of life force energy. Its gentle vibrational energy subtly started to affect my own energy and I felt grounded, strong and at peace. When I got home I started to research tree hugging and discovered (much to my left hand side of my brains delight) that there is lots of scientific research to prove that trees really can affect biological behaviours. I discovered that Qigong Master Chia worked with trees to mediate explaining that trees are natural processors that can help you transform your body’s sick and negative energy into positive vital life force energy (Qi).
Then I thought back to my childhood the one place I always went to when I was sad, or needed some space alone…I would walk to a wonderful old oak tree in Dorset.
Now I was starting to discover how our outside environment around us can be utilised and harnessed into our own healing, helping us on our paths towards self discovery.
Slievenamon is a mountain here in Tipperary. She is known as Sliabh na mBan meaning the mountain of the women. This modest mountain has been my backdrop for well over a decade. I watched her from afar, always admiring the way the colours changed as the sun rose and set. This mountain stands 721m tall and whilst she is smaller than many of her neighbouring mountain ranges, her history is steeped with folklore and legends, hence her name.
This mountain was my second Sunday adventure, again with Emily. Whilst I had admired this mountain for many years, I never found the time to climb her. So with a brand new pair of walking boots off we went. I am quite fit, I run a bit but running on the flat isn’t quite the same as climbing up a hill/mountain my calf muscles kindly told me this as we started our ascent. I found it challenging to begin with my heart rate was up and I found myself stopping to admire the view a lot! Once we reached the top it was breathtaking.
How do mountains benefit our own individual energy? Picture a mountain; energetically they represent strength, balance and stability. The energy created to manifest a mountain is incredible, each mountain is different and I believe has a different affect on you. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view when you walk up a mountain (or steep hill) the emotions that will really benefit from this experience would primarily be the Heart and Lungs and Kidney energy. In TCM the heart emotion is Joy, many of us have suffered heart ache, and being up a mountain can bring the Joy back into balance. Moving to the lungs where the emotions of anxiety and grief can be held, with each breath of air (providing you’re not climbing Everest) starts to move stuck energy, helping to clear the anxiety many of us carry in our shoulders, neck and face.
I have found lots of milky quartz and clear quartz crystals as I climb these crystals alone can have a powerful affect on our energy. More recently I found some amethyst which were absolutely beautiful.
To summarise I have discovered a lot from being outside and tapping into the energy of mother nature, something many people already know and that’s healing starts from within. In order to do this we must often have to move out of our individual comfort zones. Challenge our bodies and work with the emotions that come from this. Do what truly makes you happy. For me I found Mother Nature and being surrounded by her and all her beauty helped me start to heal. Many of my patients come to me having lost the battle to balance life and work. It is incredibly easy to get to this point at this time. Many of the mothers that come to me have lost themselves in the process of giving everything they have to their children. I have learnt that in order to be the best mother, therapist and friend I must look after my emotional and physical health.
Try for yourself if you haven’t already. Go for that walk in the woods. Climb up a hill, then go for it and experience the energy of those mountains, but be warned… the mountains will call you back again...