I am under an expanse of stars shining brightly in rural Eastern Oregon, unfiltered by the usual light pollution from the city. Snow from a fresh snowfall lights up the landscape while the stars glow with intensity. Why is it such a comfort to be surrounded by cold snow, a dark sky, and millions of twinkling stars? In the vastness of the universe and the starkness of nature, I am a tiny presence. I am standing here, in the middle of this beauty, which I believe means that I am a part of it.
When you are confused, sad, hurt, or in need of feeling something, do you ever just go outside? This thought occurs to me often, and as often as I follow it, I begin to work through my difficulty. It's not just an anecdotal suggestion...a new field of research is opening around "Ecotherapy": using the outdoors as therapy for disease or disorder. Outdoors can be as simple as a walk around the block or ten minutes on the porch if that's all you have to spare. Remembering that you too are a part of nature, a part of the vastness of the universe, helps to diminish the sometimes overwhelming feelings of worry, anxiety, fear, frustration, anger, sadness - you name it - that everyday events throw your way. While you're outside open your eyes, pause, and enjoy being a part of it all.