Nature’s Ability to Help Us Find Balance

We all desire a balanced life (even more so when you’re living with a Vestibular Disorder), one with all that life has to offer. We desire love but are met with misunderstanding. We desire good health but wonder if we can ever achieve this after what’s happened to us. When I’m feeling at my lowest, a stagger out my back door, my tiny piece of nature holds some of the answers. In the January 2016 National Geographic Magazine, one of the stories covered the importance of nature in our lives. The title…“This Is Your Brain On Nature”, brings to mind the old commercial of the egg in a frying pan, with the tag-line “This is your brain on drugs”. Whereas drugs will ‘fry’ your brain, nature will ‘heal’ our brains, if we actually get out in it, I’m talking to you, Margaret! According to the article, anytime we get out into nature, we are doing ourselves a favor, be it a backyard or the deep wilderness. Unplugging from all our virtual ‘toys’ is a necessity most of us don’t take advantage of enough. Is sitting outside while scrolling our phones the same thing? Well, if you’re looking at your phone, how can you truly experience all that nature has to offer? Yes, technically, you are outside. You can feel the warmth of the sun, feel the wind, hear the birds and so on. What are you seeing, though? If you looked up from your phone, you’d see the brightness of the sun, you’d see the birds, and the trees swaying. This was a fascinating read and it’s something I’ve believed for a long time, nature is good for us.

When I began this post, it was 104 degrees, sunny and barely a breeze. I was sitting outside watching my grandsons play in our hot tub (which in these conditions, it’s a cold tub) when I thought of this topic. The only reason I can be outside in these horrid conditions? Because we have a misting fan, a ‘beach’ umbrella and I was in the shade. My husband just called, saying a storm was coming. What? It’s too hot…Then, a huge crack of thunder (the boys jumped out so fast!), then the wind, and sure enough, a huge ‘heat storm’ rolled through.  I love the outdoors, but it hates me, with a vengeance! Since childhood, I’ve been plagued with Heat Exhaustion (faint, throw up and splitting headache!) sometimes within less than a few hours (or less!). I ruined many an excursion while on vacation, many. I have memories of my siblings complaining, my children complaining that ‘I ‘always’ ruin the vacation’! As Mike carried my limp body back to our car, mind you. I was a Girl Scout for 12-years and went to GS Summer Camp for 7 of those years. Each and every time, I was taken to the Infirmary (Ahhh! Air-conditioning!). Mostly, it was for Heat Exhaustion, but twice I wound up with illnesses our Family Doctor said he’d ‘only read about‘ in school (yeah, real reassuring!). My parents thought me to be their ‘delicate little flower’. I guess I do have a long history of illnesses…

I’m like a rose under a torch…I wilt fast! Unless I’m in water…It’s the perfect compliment to my Zodiac Sign, Sagittarius. I don’t truly believe Zodiac stuff, but I am a ‘Fire’ sign and my husband is a ‘Water’ sign…spooky, huh? I wound up in this arid region called West Texas when my dad was transferred here during an oil boom, I was 10 years-old…We did escape here after marriage for 6 months (seriously?) and for 10 years when Mike and I followed an oil boom to Central Texas. That’s God’s country! Rivers, lakes, rolling hills with spectacular bluffs to gaze off into the tree covered valleys. Our children grew up ‘Water Babies’, a method of ‘teaching’ them to swim as infants. When you blow on their face and immediately go under water with them, it’s a natural Reflex makes them hold their breath. I did this with both my children, but please do not try this unless you’re taught! Our son was about 10 months old when I started with him. At 8 months our daughter would sit on the side of the pool, lean forward and splash, she was in and going! By the time she was 4 years-old, all she wanted to do at the pool was swim laps! At first, the lifeguard blew their whistle at her, yelling “You can’t swim here, it’s only for __ age people. I came unglued! “If she swims the same as your magic age group, what difference does it make?”. Sarah was able to swim her laps, back and forth, back and forth…when she was finished, she was done, no playing, just laps. We inner-tubed down many rivers, swam in many lakes…it was Heaven! We were in water more often than not for those 10 years. Then,we moved back…

From West Texas, it’s a minimum 2-hour drive to get to the closet ‘lake’ and 4-hours to get to some real water sources like a river. Rivers are such amazing forces, flowing, twisting, turning. At times just a trickle during a drought, to a raging flood in a matter of hours after a soaking rain. Yes, Texas is a land of great extremes, of that there is no doubt. So just how do I get water into my Sagittarius Fire Sign self? Let’s see…I have a hot tub that in the hot weather, the heater is turned off. Voila! A box sized pool! In water, I can fantasize myself anywhere…Tahiti maybe? Bali? When I’m immersed in water, I’m at my happiest, that’s a fact! I have a water fountain I find soothing to watch and listen to (it also helps to drown out sirens and such). I love to sit by the fountain and simply be. Something as simple as studying the textures of the bark on our 40 foot Pecan tree, can bring such happiness to me. The rustling of the leaves as the almost constant wind blows through. I do a lot of thinking while I gaze at the Hummingbirds feed off the Turks Caps. For these moments are what bring me back to ‘center’ or ‘balanced’, something I think we all desire and definitely need. So, go outside! For nature heals…

It’s a Hot tub! It’s a Cold tub! It’s how I survive West Texas elements.

For more information on Vestibular Disorders, contact VEDA at vestibulardisorders.org

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