Have you ever had a Near Life Experience (NLE)? I bet you have and if you haven’t, you probably know someone who has. I know I’ve had it. The opposite of a Near Death Experience (NDE), an NLE is a situation where someone almost lives. Instead of sincerely living life and being awake in its moments, they live life based upon the opinions and judgments of others and not their own experiences.
Many of us are sleepwalking through our lives. There is a Zen blogger who wrote about succumbing to NLE’s and described it as not living in the moment and being distracted by our own preoccupations. I completely agree with her but I also want to take the concept of an NLE deeper and a little sideways. I believe NLE’s also means that we have designed our conclusions about life and what it should be based on what we see on TV or read in newspapers and magazines. We are so quick to judge and form an opinion but how much of it is really our opinion and not one parroted by the more popular consensus?
When do we stop designing our opinions according to the latest news or stories in the magazine or newspaper? I’m including myself in this observation of following the crowd. I know I do, but I’m breaking free of it by forming and voicing my own opinions through my writing and art and really looking at things beyond face value. Waking up from an NLE doesn’t have to always mean taking your views publically like I have, but you can clearly show it by being an example. And yes, it can be scary!
Someone I know recently said that life has a habit of prompting us to act and many times it is through illness or a traumatic event. This prompt does not have to be life-threatening event but enough of one to threaten an existing quality of life. With a direct impact immanent, we snap out of our doze and begin to take an active role in our lives and find the courage to voice our particular opinions and beliefs. We begin to live according to our life’s voice and not the voices of others.
Don’t let illness or traumatic event become the motivator. Getting out of our NLE’s doesn’t mean extreme acts such as planning a pilgrimage to Tibet or hiking Kilimanjaro (unless you want it to be!), but it does mean stepping out of our comfort zones and not being afraid to form our own opinions and beliefs. Yes, it takes courage, but it is so worth it as I am learning while I continue to wake up to life and take things deeper. Join me!
What could dirt possibly have to do with the little things in life and taking things deeper? Today I’m bringing the subject of dirt to a whole new level as a way for us to reconnect with Nature and ourselves. It is an incredible tool right underneath our feet for releasing energy. Working on the same principal of grounding as holding rocks, crystals, and embracing trees, working with dirt–really feeling it with our bare hands (and even bare feet) and feeling the tactile sensation of our skin to the soil soothes us in ways science and medicine are just beginning to understand.
Working with dirt engages us on every human level—physical, sensory, emotional, and cognitive. It works on us as a whole and its benefits are many, which we are just beginning to understand on a therapeutic level. Recent studies are showing that children with autism, and jailed inmates, who work in gardens, have a noticeable drop in violent behavior and feelings of aggravation and an increase in attention and focus. It has also been found to be a great therapeutic tool for those with mental illness. These garden therapies are called horticultural therapy or therapeutic gardens. Of course, they deal with more than just soil but for the sake of today’s post I want to bring the attention and focus to the basis of it all—the dirt and it’s amazing abilities.
A side note for a moment here about the words dirt and soil. Ask any agriculturalist and they will tell you that dirt and soil are not the same. Soil is dirt with nutrients and organic matter that has been broken down over time and from elements, and dirt is well…. the neutered cousin. No nutrient value whatsoever and is basically filler and a maker of great mud pie’s. In terms of its ability to heal and be the recipient of energy and be spiritually transformative, they are equal and so I use the words interchangeably here.
Dirt is a healer; it is a transformer, an absorber of energy, and the giver of it. It is indeed an important part of being mother–Mother Earth. You don’t have to be a gardener or have a garden to receive the benefits of dirt. The next time that you are feeling anxious or find yourself with some extra energy or you just want to become more grounded, get your hands a little dirty in your garden or in a simple potted plant. You can even free your feet from your shoes to the earth and go sole to soul. Let’s take our healing deeper by digging deeper!