The glory of autumn explained: Chris Packham reveals why leaves change from greens to reds and golden yellows.
What is a hurricane, exactly?
A hurricane is a large rotating storm that forms over tropical or subtropical waters in the Atlantic. These low pressure weather systems draw upon warm water and atmospheric moisture to fuel their strength and will gather pace if not slowed by patches of dry air, crosswinds or landfall.
“They are very tall towers of winds that move at the same speed, sometimes 60,000ft tall,” says Jim Kossin, a scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “If they are unmolested by wind shear or run over land they will continue on their merry way.”
Earth, rivers, mountains and trees! Silent canyons, babbling creeks, and growing green gardens! If you spend time in nature, you’ve probably noticed that you feel happier out there than in here.
But why? One of the better known theories, the “biophilia hypothesis,” suggests that we love nature because we evolved in it. We need it for our psychological well-being because it’s in our DNA. This theory rings true to me. But it’s so broad, it also leaves me grasping for more. What is it about nature and our relationship to it, that brings us so much joy?
I’ve been asking this question for some years now. I’ve studied Ecopsychology, wilderness therapy, and nature-based therapy. In my private psychotherapy practice, I work with clients in nature and bear witness to their experiences. And personally, I spend as much time as I can in nature. Putting all of this together, I’ve developed my own ideas about why nature makes us feel good and helps us heal. Here are the top ten:
10) Nature teaches you that there is nothing wrong with you. Consider:
- When you’re in nature, you don’t have to look at advertising that tries to convince you there’s something wrong with you, in order to sell a product. Nor do you have to look in mirrors. Instead, you’re either focused on the setting around you, or on what you are doing, like climbing, setting up a tent, or gardening. Studies show that people’s body image improves when we spend time in nature, and I think this is part of the reason why.
- When you’re alone in nature, or with a loving friend or group of people, you get sweet relief from sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and all the other ways we oppress, stigmatize and belittle one another.
- On the contrary, nature displays incredible diversity in all her glory. There are fat trees and skinny ones, short ones and tall ones. Within a single clump of yellow flowers, you might see a pink one and realize that it’s a mutation. In nature, we don’t say ‘How wrong! That flower is different; that tree is fat!’ Instead, we say, ‘How beautiful!’ This impacts us below the level of thought.
9) Time slows down.
Urgency, deadlines, and “clock time,” as measured by hours, minutes and seconds, melt away. Clocks teach us to abandon the natural rhythms of our bodies and the
21 facts about the Great Tit:
- great tit clutch can be anything from five to 11 eggs, with the female doing all the incubation.
- The cock helps the female with feeding the brood: the chicks usually leave the nest around 20 days after hatching.
- Though great tits living in oakwoods rarely have a second brood, it’s not uncommon for them to do so in pinewoods.
- Most individuals are sedentary, rarely moving far from where they hatched, but there is a tendency for them to move more in years when the beech crop fails.
- It is becoming increasingly rare for British-ringed great tits to be recovered abroad. This is thought to be because of the increase in the amount of food available in gardens.
- The most widespread of all the species of tit, it is found across almost all of Europe and east to Japan and south to Indonesia. It is also found in North Africa.
- Though widely distrubuted throughout the British Isles, the great tit is a rarity in the Hebrides and Shetlands.
- There are no fewer than 30 different races of great tit, many of which are predominately grey and black and lack the bright yellow of European birds.
- Britain’s population of around 2 million pairs puts it in 8th place in Europe. Germany has the most: an estimated 8 million pairs.
- The great tit owes much of its success to its adaptability, while increasing numbers in Britain may well be because it is an enthusiastic user of garden feeding stations.
- Because of its wide range and the fact that it often lives in close proximity to man, it is one of the most intensely studied of all birds.
- The readiness of great tits to use nest boxes is one of the reasons they are such popular birds to study.
- The longest running study started in Wytham Wood near Oxford in the 1930s and continues to this day. The university manages it.
- The male’s distinctive double-note song is one of the most familiar sounds of spring.
- There are, however, a huge number of variations of the song, and a typical cock great tit will use around 40 variations.
- If you hear a bird song that you can’t identify, then there’s a good chance it will be a great tit.
- It has been found that the individual birds with the greatest repertoire of songs enjoy the most success with the girls.
- Many old country names for this species reflect its song. One of the best is sharp-saw, from Norfolk.
- The most successful and dominant cocks tend to have the thickest black stripes down the center of the underparts.
- In the 1960s, when sparrowhawk numbers had been decimated by pesticide poisoning, the most dominant great tits were also the heaviest. However, these fatter birds are the most vulnerable to sparrowhawks, so once the latter’s population recovered, the dominant males lost their excess weight.
- Great tits invariably nest in holes, but here they can be remarkably inventive, often using manmade sites such as post boxes.
In our yang-driven world where action and accomplishment reign supreme, it’s easy to neglect our yin-ness, the softer side of us that prefers to be, not do. As women especially, connecting with our feminine energy on a regular basis is vital to our sense of self, hormonal health and overall happiness. Ancient Goddess traditions understood and honored the many gifts of the divine feminine, and reclaiming them now can be just the balance us modern goddesses need.
If you’re ready to reignite your own feminine magic, here are 10 ways to get started:
- Guard your being time
Take back your feminine power by booking in some much needed me time to reconnect with your inner self. Whether it’s morning meditation, an afternoon catnap or watching the sunset, treat this time like any other appointment by not canceling on yourself to do the laundry or more work.
- Be open to receiving
Receptivity is the essence of feminine energy, enabling us to live in the flow instead of frustration. Next time someone offers you a compliment or support, graciously say, Thank you! And don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, kids, peers and professionals. Remember, the more you allow yourself to receive, the more you have to give.
- Surround yourself with beauty
Turn your personal space into a goddess sanctuary by clearing out clutter and adding things that delight your senses and your spirit. Try beautiful plants and fresh flowers, lush fabrics, wind chimes, sea shells, crystals or other gifts from Mama Earth. Adorn your walls with art and pictures that uplift and inspire you. Make every part of your home fit for the goddess that you are.
- Nourish your dreams
Just as we conceive and support babies in our wombs, the Goddess approach to manifesting our desires is to nurture them while they are still ideas and daydreams. As we cultivate quiet time to connect with our inner vision and guidance, we take action from a place of joy and trust. In doing so, we birth our dreams into being in divinely inspired ways and divinely perfect time, just as we do our babies.
- Slow down and relish
Multitasking is not the way of the Goddess, especially when it comes to appreciating life’s simple pleasures. Instead, become fully present and engage all your senses to enjoy daily delights: inhale the scent of your morning coffee and sip it slowly, let a piece of chocolate melt in your mouth, stop power walking and savor the sights.
- Love your body
Aphrodite had small breasts, a soft belly and full hips. Her huntress niece goddess Artemis was lanky and lean. Do you think they apologized for their shapes? Heck no. They owned their bodies’ divinity to express their goddess’ gifts, be they love or tenacity. Embrace your own body as a beautiful, sacred vessel for your spirit to experience itself and treat it with the love and reverence it deserves. Try it out with this flow sequence flow sequence based on the goddess Lakshmi, who represents beauty and abundance.
- Live from your heart
We are naturally feeling beings, but life’s busyness can hinder us from hearing the voice of our hearts – the true source of our happiness. Reconnect by placing your hands on your chest and resting your awareness in this sacred space. Here, the mind’s constant activity will surrender to the heart’s calm clarity, leading you to live in greater faith and deeper love.
- Connect with Mother Nature
Instantly connect with Goddess energy by spending time with Mother Earth. Walk barefoot on the grass and lie on the ground. Release all your cares to her for healing and transmutation. Allow her to hold you in her loving embrace and fill you with maternal love. Doing this regularly will help you become a strong and grounded goddess in your own world.
- Honor your boundaries
Forget trying to please everyone and love yourself enough to say no to draining demands. Bless and release toxic relationships and patterns while keeping the lessons and growth. Stand firm in the power of an authentic no. A goddess isn’t a superwoman who does it all, but a happy woman who does only what she wants and values.
- Infuse your life with ritual
Goddess traditions, like those in this practice with Sianna Sherman are rich with ritual, because they bring deeper meaning and sacredness to any act. Invite extra blessings into your daily activities by turning them into mini ceremonies. A great place to start is your existing sadhana (daily spiritual practice), by perhaps creating a meditation altar where you can light a candle, burn incense, play music and offer flowers.
While effort and achievement will always have their place in the world, balancing them with sacred feminine practices will bring us much greater flow and fulfillment. As we learn to be as much as we do, the inner Goddess and God meet in divine union, creating perfect yin-yang harmony within and without. Now that is something worth striving for.
By Gaia Staff
Staying grounded isn’t only for granola hippies. You might not have heard the term, but you’ve felt the positive effects of walking barefoot in nature. The reason it feels so good is because you’re literally grounding your body.
WHAT DOES ‘STAYING GROUNDING’ MEAN?
Think of the Earth like an enormous battery. One that’s emitting a subtle but constant electric charge. This charge is the reason why ‘grounding’ electrical currents is so important.
Humans also need to be electrically grounded. When you’re grounded you feel centered, strong and less stressed. You have a sense of being anchored.
Being ‘ungrounded’ leaves you feeling disconnected, as if you’re not quite here. Health issues can arise. You might notice an increase in stress levels, inflammation and pain, for example.
From an emotional standpoint, grounded people may be the healthiest individuals you know. They’re reliable, unshakable in the midst of crisis and they possess an unwavering moral compass.
SO, HOW DO YOU STAY GROUNDED?
According to Donna Eden, there are three aspects to focus on when grounding yourself: physical, emotional and spiritual. She outlines simple grounding techniques for each on her website.
Donna also has tips for staying grounded while flying. She says it’s especially important, given the unnatural prolonged separation from the Earth.
Memorize the techniques or write them down. It’s a good idea to have them on-hand whenever you feel yourself disconnecting. Used in conjunction with Donna’s daily energy routine, you’re sure to stay grounded at all times.
By: Angela Horn