Announcing the birth of Dr. Rochelle Calvert’s new book, Healing with Nature: Mindfulness and Somatic Practices to Heal from Trauma.
I’m personally very excited and interested to dive into this book as I, like many who consider themselves inner explorers and meditators, find past trauma arising at some point on their spiritual path. Dr. Calvert points out that, “many who suffer with anxiety, depression, and resulting relationship, health or everyday life issues don’t attribute these symptoms to past traumatic experiences and assume that trauma only stems from events such as war, rape, and natural disaster. But trauma can arise in more common events such as illness, loss of a loved one, racism and the bad news of the day.” Her book offers ways to cultivate health and wholeness by tapping into the support of our natural world. As more people continue to wake up to their own trauma, her wise guidance will surely be a support to many people.
Dr. Rochelle kindly took the time to answer some of my questions around the topic of her upcoming book.
Who do you hope your book reaches?
I hope this book reaches those who want to heal from trauma or other challenges that they have faced in life. I hope to expand peoples understanding of what trauma is and provide a healing path for them through mindfulness and somatic practices with nature to transform their trauma into lifelong healing and resilience.
What inspired you from your own life or practice to write your book?
I was inspired to write this book based on the experiences of healing my own personal trauma and work with patients to help them heal their trauma. I have witnessed a wide range of types of trauma’s and peoples desire to heal with meditation practices. While most people are well intended to develop a meditation practice, there often is a struggle with formal meditation practices due to the challenges that can arise with unhealed trauma. Lack of safety, overwhelm with inner experiences, dissociation, and a myriad of other challenges can arise. With the support of nature to practice mindfulness meditation, learning the somatic wisdom of the body to heal and how to extend this healing into life, individuals who want to heal trauma can choose a path to restore wholeness into back into living in life with these practices.
If you could only pick one practice from the book to do for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
I’m not sure I can pick one! There are two practices I would pick from this book that I practice daily (and anticipate this to continue) – these are the Elements Practice and Mystery with Life practice (Ch 4 and 16 respectively). The elements practices (earth, air, fire, water and space) invites me to feel the aliveness and interconnection of my body, mind and heart with all that is contained in our nature. The Mystery with Life practice invites me to let go of what I think I “know” and trust what the energy around us in nature and in life, feeling into the unknown and the Divine teachings of the Earth.
I choose these practices daily as they continue to aid my healing journey and bring me into an intimate and deep connection to the Earth. I learn daily from sensing the way the elements are arising and interconnected with my being; as well daily I am profoundly touched by the wonderful mysteries and energy of life and find joy in sensing into these offerings from nature.
What specific and practical advice do you have for people who identify as having experienced trauma to consider when practicing in nature?
Start where your nervous system feels safe. As you are establishing a mindfulness with nature practice, it’s important that the nervous system feels supported and relaxed to invite the healing qualities from these practices to emerge.
When beginning these practices find a place in nature that your body, mind and heart can relax. Some people have particular places, plants, trees, landscapes that they know they experience more ease with. For some people this may be near a body of water (ocean, river), with a particular tree, grasses or flowers; or it might be to sit near a window in your home while its open connecting to the landscape outside or to connect with an indoor plant.
Go slow with the healing practices. Our tendency to heal can sometimes have an urgency to it that we try to follow to get rid of the challenges or difficulties we are facing. The slower we can go, shorter practices times, repeating practices, moving slowly with what arises in the body as its revealing its healing potential, will support the healing to unfold. Rushing too try to get rid of the trauma challenges wont allow you the opportunity to find a new relationship, to learn from and heal the trauma’s you’ve encountered.
What inspires you during this time of change, evolution of consciousness and ecological disruption?
During this time of change, evolution of consciousness and ecological disruption, I’m inspired by the breadth of awakening to support creative and innovative ways to heal our planet. I have observed within myself, my clients and the meditation communities choosing to want to come together to help their local community and neighbors and land to help heal our planet. Ive specifically been inspired by local community gardens, actions to learn more about, protect and restore the natural habit of the land we inhabit and the regenerative agriculture movement.
My hope with the book and teachings I offer to others is that through their own path of healing trauma with nature, they are inspired in their own ways that they are touched by nature’s healing to give back. My book is an offering to heal with nature, helping people to awaken from the challenges of their trauma, to then awaken to the traumas of the Earth and help to heal her. There is theory in the understanding of trauma, that unhealed trauma begets more trauma. My hope is that by healing our own trauma with nature, we beget more healing of the trauma of the Earth.