Nature: A Source of Inspiration and Information


By Barbara Janelle M.A.


Most people recognize that they feel good after a walk in the woods, across a meadow, along a shore or even around a city block if there are trees along the way. Just stepping outdoors revitalizes the human energy field.


Many people acknowledge that being outdoors, going for a walk, working in the garden or even just watching a sunrise or sunset stimulates creativity. I know university professors who use hiking as a way of subconsciously processing ideas and information to support their research productivity. I find that my writing often gels after a walk or work in the garden. For many years, horseback riding provided a venue in which I processed experience and developed greater understanding of myself and life.


In my interspecies communication classes, I use several exercises to help participants become more aware of Nature’s role in supporting health and creativity. I also develop exercises that enable people to receive immediate information from various forms in Nature.


A Simple Exercise. This exercise starts with a check-in to notice how your body feels, what you are feeling emotionally, and what kind of thoughts are occupying your mind. Then go outdoors and either walk around a yard or go for a walk around a block or along a path where there are trees and/or plants, or water, or rock formations. This can take five to thirty or more minutes. When the walk is finished, do another check-in to see how your body is feeling, how you are feeling emotionally and what kind of thoughts are occupying your mind.


Seeking Information through Metaphor. In another exercise, I ask course participants to go outdoors for a brief walk and notice something that catches their attention. Upon returning, they write a description of what caught their eyes, using single words or short phrases. Working in pairs, they read their lists of descriptive words and phrases to each other. Then again out loud, they repeat the list but this time putting the words “I am” or “I have” or some other “I ….” to connote ownership in front of each word or phrase.


Seeking Insight on a Specific Topic. Each of these exercises can be used to ask for information on specific topics.


  1. Before going for a walk, set the intention that you want insight on a particular issue or help in understanding something that is going on in your life or your work.
  2. Then let go of that idea. Do not spend the walk thinking about it; rather enjoy the time alone and the sights and experiences along the way.
  3. In most cases insight will occur either by the time the walk is finished or a short time later; or a particular sight, smell or sound on the walk will have caught your attention and through metaphor can offer a new understanding.


Exercise with a Tree. While I have written about this before (1), it is useful to review it again here. This can be done to support health, or to garner insight or both.


  1. Choose a large, healthy, mature tree, and then notice whether you chose the tree or the tree chose you. Put your back against the tree and ask the tree to work on you to support your health. Trees store prana (energy) and the order in a healthy tree speaks to the order in the human energy field. Notice what happens in your body as the tree works on you, and notice when the work feels finished.
  2. Tell the tree about something you are dealing with and ask for insight. Or simply ask the tree to tell you something that would be useful for you to know now. Information comes fast and may come in surprising ways: images, feelings, memories, words, etc.


Be sure to thank the tree when the session is finished.


Exercise with a Large Rock. Sit or lie on a large rock and take some time to relax and notice the sounds around you. Then notice how much of your body moves as you breathe. Then ask the rock to show you something it would like you to know. Or ask the rock to show you something about the history of the area. Again information will come quickly and perhaps in ways that surprise you.


All of these exercises are easy to do and with regular use it is possible to build the habit of increased awareness and conscious communication in daily interactions with Nature.




  1. See my article, “Trees Heal” in Our Healing Power: Therapeutic Touch for Humans and Animals, self-published, 1999. Also on my website in the Therapeutic Touch section: