You are the World
As an individual human being, do you see yourself as separate from the rest of the world?
In a sense we are, but in fact we are so interconnected with our environment that our wellbeing is completely dependent on the health of the environment we live in, our community and our world.
What separates us? You might say that our skin separates us from the outside world, but even this barrier is permeable as pores absorb oxygen and moisture and excrete unwanted matter in the form of sweat. Air and fluids flow in and out of us. We absorb the sun through our skin and all of the elements through our food, which is made from sun, rain, earth and air.
The sun, rain and soil become part of us when we eat an apple grown in the sun.
As we are made from the earth, it makes sense that if we take care of the earth and all of nature, we are simultaneously taking care of ourselves. Conversely as we take care of ourselves, by honouring what is pure and good for our bodies, we are also taking care of the earth. For example, eating organic local food is better for us and better for the planet too. If we drive our cars less, the air will be purer for us to breathe into our lungs, but also for the trees and natural world, as they need pure air too.
Nature can help us too; spending time in woodland has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression that many of us are feeling in these uncertain times. Try some forest bathing as the Japanese do, as a free form of therapy. Building a connection to a local natural beauty spot is something which some people have had the opportunity to do during lockdown. Tuning into the environment and watching it change through the seasons, we can feel the peace of the trees; as they change, this can be a calming and reassuring echo of changes within our own lives.
The world is a living, breathing being which nourishes us. If we can take a few minutes of time each day to be in stillness, to breathe and remember our intimate connection with the earth, feeling gratitude for all of nature, we may find that we can smile inwardly, knowing that we are connected to everything and that peace as an individual through our words and actions can impact the world; then we will spread this feeling out to all those we meet and the ripples will be felt even further out into the community. This feeling of connection creates responsibility, and this is what is healing our beautiful planet.
Lewes area nature and wellbeing groups and activities
Lewes-area wellbeing projects in nature for people with disabilities and carers www.wellbeingtree.org
Arts-based creative workshops in East Sussex that bring multiple health and wellbeing benefits, connect us to each other and raise awareness of environmental issues www.movingsounds.org
Wellbeing gardening projects in Lewes www.commoncause.org.uk
A working community woodland in Laughton www.laughtongreenwood.co.uk
Local initiatives: swimming on prescription at the Pells
Pells Pool are creating a scheme which allows swims at the Pells to be socially prescribed by GPs in Lewes. They are working on this as a collaborative project with Foundry Healthcare which is being piloted this season. This ‘Swims for Wellbeing’ scheme allows a small number of Foundry Healthcare patients the opportunity to access outdoor swimming at the Pells. People who have a current referral to the social prescriber at Foundry are eligible.
Pells Pool would like to thank the Enjoolata Foundation who are supporting this project.
Local woodland and nature links
Lewes area nature and wellbeing groups and activities www.wellbeingtree.org
Wellbeing gardening projects in Lewes www.commoncause.org.uk/lewes-house-garden
A community woodland in Laughton www.laughtongreenwood.co.uk
Creative workshops in East Sussex relating to wellbeing and the environment www.movingsounds.org/eco-action-projects/
Carbon off-setting tree-planting programmes (for individuals & businesses) www.moretrees.eco
Woodland Trust campaigns www.woodlandtrust.org
Re-wilding projects www.rewildingeducation.org
Local mental health links
East Sussex County Council mental health support services www.new.eastsussex.gov.uk/social-care/health-advice/mental-health