Grounded, by Ruth Allen, is both a pleasure to read and a pleasure to hold! Published in thicker than usual paper and with absolutely stunning photographs, Grounded is a sight to behold – and enjoy.
Essentially, the book explores how connection with nature can improve our mental and physical wellbeing. A no-brainer for someone like me who loves walking outdoors, adores the sea, finds birdsong soothing!
Stillness and solitude in nature
And, yet, I found things to learn in this book, which calls on us to find stillness and solitude in nature. While I was reading the book, I found myself paying more attention to birdsong while out walking. I found myself seeking out moments of stillness, and pausing just to breathe in the view.
Allen cites the benefits of even the smallest green space – be that a city park or an allotment. A counsellor and eco-psychotherapist, she says we are weakened by our separation from nature. We are naturally outdoors beings who have become indoors people through industrialisation and, now, technology. Gyms, treadmills and the like have even brought exercise in from the outdoors.
Rewild ourselves, for our own good
And, so, today more than ever, we need to almost intentionally rewild ourselves. Even taking time to appreciate a natural vista can help us recover from fatigue. It can help to reduce our stress levels, and generate an overall improvement in our natural wellbeing. How many times have you stopped to look at the waves crashing on the shore and felt better? Or followed a bird’s flight path and felt yourself marvel at its journey?
Allen herself has done the ground work, pardon the pun. In autumn 2018, she ran solo and unsupported across the Bosnian Dinaric Alps, an assumed world first. A qualified outdoor counsellor/psychotherapist, she specialises in outdoor practice, nature connection, and the power of relationship. She’s interested in how we make meaning of our lives, the stories we tell, and the things we’ve been through.
In full disclosure, I received Grounded from the publisher to review. But, I have to tell you, I loved it. I loved the photographs, the clear writing style, and that call to reconnect with nature as a way to meet yourself. As she says, being grounded is a way of belonging to our minds and bodies and to the natural world that we live in.
Publisher: Welbeck Publishing. Available online or in bookshops.