Unfurl life’s joy by fully immersing yourself into nature. After all, communing with the great outdoors and this land is the birth rite of Black folks as both the building blocks and architects ofthis nation. Like frondescent foliage in autumn, African Americans have a rich and colorful history of contributions to many of our nation’s grandest outdoor spaces. Carolyn Finney writes extensively about African American interactions with and use of national forests and parks. Others have written about feelings of isolation or not belonging in outdoor spaces predominantly occupied by our white counterparts.
Exploration of my own relationship with nature, unearthed a connection yielding solace, respite, and healing from personal trauma. Overtime, I’ve developed a practice that’s quite intimate, meditative, and grounded in a hyper awareness to the natural environment. That is, during a trek through the forest for example, disallowing my mind to be busied with the circumstances of life’s judder but rather heightening all senses and immersing myself into the forest. I recommend nature-based activities for everyone especially those wanting to buildself-trust. The spontaneity of being in the wild engaging in open air activities, lends itself to demonstrating survival skills which can improve self-confidence such as self-reliance, critical thinking, quick-wittedness, physical endurance, and fortitude.
I also recommend hiking specifically as a go-to first datebecause it requires walking, climbing, and descending rocky terrain, and can be quite dangerous. Nonetheless, hiking is a sure fire way of assessing the characteristics of a potential partner e.g. valor, dependability, protection, care, patience, reciprocity, and support. Albeit not 100% full proof, while hiking if your potential partner extends a hand to help you climband descend, offers his shoulder for support, encourages you stay the course, and cautions you on what lies ahead, chances are he’ll exhibit those characteristics, to some degree, in other aspects of your lives as the relationship evolves.
In my experience, hiking may shed light on less than desirable character traits as well. About a year ago I went hiking with a man I was intrigued by. Dark-skinned and 7 feet tall, he stood behind me as we posed for picture taken by a fellow hiker. Unexpectedly, he shoved me forward as a signal to hurriedly recollect my phone and continue along the towpath. I was embarrassed and wasn’t hurt, but I learned a valuable lesson that day: he was a man who uses his hands to communicate; and I don’t mean sign language. Of course, there is a level of generality and discernment considered. Yet, the crux here ladies is whether hiking or partaking in another rigorous and precarious outdoor activity, if your potential partner is disconnected from your general wellbeing and you don’t feeleven the slightest bit of safety from his presence, chances are those characteristic you seek in a partner may not come to fruition later in the relationship.
I’m Kelli Hudson, an ACTP Certified Holistic Life Coach, founder of Obsidian Girl Adventures, & CEO of Obsidian OM Holistic Life Coaching.