“Mama,” she said, “my body is telling me it needs to be outside in nature.”
My four year old daughter said that to me when I picked her up from preschool recently. I was so struck by the clarity of her expression of her needs and by the wisdom they represented. How many adults do I know (myself included) who can articulate what their body needs at any given moment? Not many.
And so we headed off to “The Peacock Park” (officially Mayfield Park), a 21-acre nature preserve very near our home, to spend some time outside. I had been meaning to get to a local hiking trail all week, but busy-ness and stuff kept getting in my way. It took a four year old to get me to do what my body had been telling me it needed for days.
“Mama,” she said, “let’s go into the woods where we can walk, walk, walk and breathe, breathe, breathe.”
Whether through intuition or experience, The Stowaway knew that walking in the woods helps her breathe deeply. My kids hear a lot of talking about the importance of breathing deeply, but to hear my child make the explicit connection between walking in the woods and expansive breathing made my heart leap….and not because I need a parenting pat on the back, but because she is wise all on her own.
“Mama,” she said, “when my feet are on the earth my insides calm down.”
Obviously, flip flops do not good hiking shoes make. But this child of mine prefers to be barefoot in almost any situation. Her ability to relate this feeling of literal groundedness and the peace it brings made me gasp.
“Mama,” she said, “I’m feeling a little tired. I’m going to rest on this bench.”
Rest? You mean, like do nothing? By admitting she was tired– and having no shame attached to that state of being– and devising a plan to let her energy stores rise again, The Stowaway displayed the wisdom of rest. For all of the time and effort people put into good nutrition and vigorous exercise, we forget about the importance of restorative rest. You owe it to yourself to slow down when your body needs you to do so.
There they were: in the span of an hour, four giant Truth Bombs Of Wellness were dropped on me my by a four year old. Maybe if we adults stop overthinking everything and tune in to the wisdom of our mind-body connection, we’ll all be better for it.
Good health and great happiness to you!