I mentioned this method of using the elements and the four directions, N, S, E, & W when connecting Self to nature. And it seems to be an increasingly palatable way of interpreting this connection when I'm leading hikes. So I wanted to provide this post as the simple guide for you to remember the significance of the elements and their associations with the directions. Read it, download it, and practice it next time you're out there.
And as a last offering of advice, take it slow. Remember, we often seek nature when we need some relief from something in our lives. Begin with what's coming up for you most at that moment you make that decision to go outside. In other words, set your intention for why you want to walk in nature and what you want to get out of that visit.
Lastly, remember to give thanks to the elements when you're there. Any time you are called to take something from nature home, sit for a quite moment and ask for permission first. If you sense a "yes" then rest assured it was there for you to take. Confirmation can come in the form of brief silence of sound, a soft wind across you, or just ask for nature to send you a confirmation sign. If you're not sure, don't take it. If you DO take, offer something back; a strand of hair, some of your water from your water bottle, anything non-invasive and biodegradable.
East - Fire
New beginnings sit here so when you are faced with starting something new, you can sit facing the East and ask for guidance moving forward. I like to begin hikes at sunrise to remind me that I can always rely on the sun reaffirming my passions in life.
South - Wind
What is the most common reaction we have when we are overwhelmed by something? We take a deep breath IN and let that heaviness OUT. Invite the wind in to let go of things that no longer serve you and breath in the joy and positivity and love that wins above all!
West - Water
Bring the practice of looking yourself in the bathroom mirror in the morning and go to a natural source of water and look at your reflection. Do you recognize this person? Remind yourself of who you are or ask the reflection to show you someone you want to transform into. Visiting a natural water source is a powerful act of connection. Here is where life is given, here is where the burdens can be washed away.
North - Earth
Have you ever noticed when you contemplate the bigger life questions, you look up into the stars? This is the North calling you to bring in grounding knowledge from the universe, ancestors, and the Great Mystery of life. You can think about Earth being mountains, plants, animals, your body, even the trails you walk on. Earth keeps you grounded and centered.