As a true country girl, I love nature and I know it’s good for my soul and mind when I take my dog for a long brisk walk in the woods. Connecting on a spiritual level with nature, however, is new to me.
A few summers ago I packed my suitcase and travelled to Deià, a small coastal village in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains in Mallorca. I wanted to experience for myself how guided meditative walks in nature can help us towards a better sleep.
Deia for dreamers
Deià is a most magical village. Over the years it has attracted a creative and spiritual crowd of people from all over the world, some of whom have never left and others who just come for the holiday season. One thing is for sure - if you have ever spent a few days in Deià you will always come back again.
The village has an extremely tranquil vibe and yet the energy is so strong from the breathtaking mountains that surround it, they instantly made me feel calm, secure and loved - almost like being a kid in my mother’s arms again.
Meditative walk with Julie
I am already in love with this place when I meet up with Julie, a bohemian French woman, who is going to take me on a three-hour meditative walk up in the mountains.
Julie, who was born in Paris, has lived in Deià with her family the last two years. Now she is making a living out of her passion for helping people to connect to nature.
“When I first arrived in Deià, I enjoyed a lot of time walking quietly in the mountains and I saw all these people passing by, all hiking at high speed and they wouldn’t stop talking…. This gave me the idea to start my meditative walks to guide visitors to be more present and connect with nature.”
Julie starts the walk by asking us how we feel right now at this very moment and then, in silence and very slowly, we begin our climb up the rugged mountains. It is an active morning for all the hikers in the area and, just as Julie told me, all the ones who pass us are chatting away.
We, on the other hand, walk so slowly that I almost get a little annoyed…but after a while my ears open up for the birds chirping and my eyes start paying attention to every little flower or insect we pass.
I copy Julie’s movements when she touches the leaves on the trees, the way she puts her nose into the beautiful flowers we meet on our way and before I know it, I feel at peace and very grounded.
"I am under the sky, I am on earth, I am.."
We reach a stunning, almost sacred spot and we sit down surrounded by the most amazing old pine trees that give us a bit of shadow from the sizzling sun.
Julie goes into details about our walk: “Nothing is stressing us in nature, we feel secure and protected by the trees and the stones. On these walks we connect to the beauty of nature through all our senses: the view, the smell, the sound, the touch and our taste buds. We connect to the energy and our emotions from the bees, the goats and the birds we meet and the level of stress in our mind and body goes down.”
Once it is time to sit, we all select our own tree and sit in silence for a while with our backs up against the tree trunks to get the physical connection with them. Julie tells me that she always thanks the tree to welcome her and on days she is not feeling her best she asks the tree “please give me a part of your strength” and it works!
As we sit, we enjoy the sounds of the nature that surround us and the wonderful scent of pine trees, while the bells from the mountain goats are ringing in the background. When it is time to continue our walk, I turn around and hug my tree for a few minutes and it feels so good and I get all emotional and happy at the same time.
“Paris was stressful……”
Julie shares her reasons for leaving Paris and coming to Deià with me as we walk down a small narrow path overlooking the impressive clear waters and the rock pools of the local beach ‘Cala Deià’.
“Paris was stressful; the way people communicated was so aggressive. In Deià the human environment is a lot better; there is a very special and magical energy in this friendly village and the area has a feeling of spirituality and peace. The mountains and the rocky coves with the crystal-clear water have a very positive and healing effect on the people who live here and indeed you sleep a lot better here than in the city.”
Spend more time in nature... even your local park will work wonders
I ask myself why it is so complicated to relax and be present in the moment and why a third of us don’t get the sleep we should have when it is all very simple – we just need more days like this or at least we need to spend more time in nature.
Living in the city, it is sometimes a challenge to get a good night’s sleep and to implement these valuable lessons I learned in the unspoiled nature in Deià this summer. However, even on the days when my schedule does not allow me to get out of the city, I can still go to my local park, kick off my shoes and walk barefoot for just ten minutes before going to work in the morning and all though it may sound – and look - silly, it does the trick. I become a better version of myself when I hit the office.
As we all know, time flies when we are in good company and when the walk is over, I say goodbye to Julie and the rest of the day I spend taking in all the experiences I had this morning. I fall asleep in my hotel on the foot of the mountains and even though I am in a new place, I sleep like a baby all night.
If you want to explore your inner self and connect with nature in the company of Julie maybe the destination for your autumn break should be Deià.
You can read more and contact Julie via www.breathindeia.com