Get back into nature with 3 Summer Reads!

Summer's here!! It's time to get back into the great outdoors!  One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to read some interesting books. Here are 3 great books that I have been reading this summer, which will inspire you to get outside and enjoy all of the health benefits that nature provides, free of charge!!  I highly recommend all three!

Did you know that there is such a thing as "Nature-Deficit Disorder?"  Think back on your childhood and all of the times that you can remember playing outside.  Most of us can recall good memories of unrushed time alone or with friends.  Now, consider your children and wonder if they could recall the times outdoors, playing freely, without time constraints as you do? Richard Louv does a very thorough job explaining studies that have been done in his book, Last Child in the Woods- Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.  Because of so many factors, technology, loss of green space, fear, safety, and work responsibilities, our children spend more and more time indoors.  The health effects are alarming and studies have found that being in nature can reduce these health issues like obesity, depression, anxiety, ADD and ADHD and many others.  There is hope!  Since this book was first written, a movement has started worldwide called the Children and Nature Network that is working toward children's access to green space and nature in schools, camps and communities.  There is so much that each one of us can do, but the first is to be aware of what children today have been missing and how to work toward improving the future for all children.  One way is changing the attitude that time in nature is leisure time.  "The emerging evidence of nature's necessity to children's healthy development is so important.  Time in nature is not leisure time; it's an essential investment in our children's health. By taking nature experience out of the leisure column and placing it in the health column, we are more likely to take our children on that hike---more likely to, well, have fun.  Such a change in outlook is crucial. The stakes are high, and the consequences more evident when children reach their teen years."
This is such an interesting read!  You will learn so much!

This next book by Andrew Peterson is called The God of the Garden.  Andrew Peterson is a known song writer, singer and artist.  He focuses on trees and how they have been significant in different stages of his life.  Think back to the earliest tree that you can remember in your own life.  Where was it?  What did it look like?  How did it play a role in that time in your life?  Trees are significant because they represent time markers, because many outlive us.  Many trees have seen many years of significant history.  This book will get you thinking about the trees in your life and why they were important.  They might even help with some self awareness as they do in this book for Andrew.  
Remember, "An unexamined life is not worth living"--Socrates


This third book is written by Nancy Chickerneo, a licensed clinical professional counselor and registered art therapist and also a professional watercolor artist. It is more of a guide to help you get into nature and let it speak to you in the current circumstances of your life. It is titled

Woman Spirit-Awakening in Nature-Growing Into The Fullness Of Who You Are   Even though this has "Woman" in its title, it is an exercise that all of us can take for health reasons. This uninterrupted time in nature is meant to slow yourself down and to notice something that draws your attention.  By watching and waiting and letting that part of nature grab your attention, you become more open to what it has to say to you. Perhaps it is something that you have been going through or thinking about.  It is extraordinary how creation speaks when we let it speak and when we pay attention to it. I highly encourage you to take some regular time this summer, and go into a part of nature where you can sit and watch and pay attention.  Take a sketch pad or a journal and listen or draw and record your thoughts.  Describe the part of nature that you have chosen.  Insights will come to you that you never noticed before.  Along with inspiring quotes in the side margins, Nancy asks a different question each time for you to reflect on in your own life, such as "What do I need to let go of..?  What would I like to make space for in my life?...What can nature teach me about the natural path of letting go?...How can I experience more harmony in my daily life?"

All of the above books are still in print and readily available.  Get healthy!  Go outside!


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