When I was depressed I found walking around the beautiful grounds of a Franciscan monastery provided me with moments of peace and hope. In the midst of hundreds of acres of wooded land I felt a part of something greater and more beautiful than the ugliness of my thoughts which colored everything and felt like a glass wall that separated me from everything around me. The lake was calm and looked like a sheet of blue sparkling water with diamond-like spouts popping up all over the surface.
The mood of the entire area had a calming effect on my racing thoughts and the negative perceptions that I had brought with me into this idyllic nature sanctuary. It reminded me of Walden’s comment about the purity and freshness of the morning air at Golden Pond. He thought that it would have been wonderful to have it bottled up with it’s powerful scent always available.
Another life giving refreshment for me came as I walked an earthen trail circling the oval shoreline.
One of the great tendencies of depression is to retreat into the comfort of isolation and aloneness. Being in the center of nature’s veritable cycloramic diversity — every kind of living growth, bush, trees, and wildlife. There is abundant activity all around and it can direct our seeing, hearing and sense of smell, distracting us from our interior world of pain, isolation and chaos.
Just as signs on beautiful manicured lawns ask us to “keep off the grass” so does our mind become drawn outside itself focusing onto that which is bigger than what has kept us riveted on thoughts which cause us to feel hopeless and depressed. We learn that ever so slowly we can have a slight respite from worry, and the ruminations about how awful we feel with the belief that it can never end.
I believe that just moving the body in the world of nature will be a start for you, as it was for me, to have hope that life has to get better. So get up, get out of your solitude and find a world full of life, beauty and hope.