Next on the Reading List

One of the better things I’ve done for myself is get an Audible subscription. I wanted to read more, but was having a hard time sitting still to read, so I decided to listen to books and see if that worked. It has helped me a lot, and I have used listening to books as a way to learn.

This isn’t an ad or a sponsored post, I’m just sharing what it working for me.

I listened to Florence Williams’ The Three Day Effect: How Nature Calms Your Brain over the weekend, and it was really good. It’s one of the Audible Originals, short audio-only programs that are free to members at the rate of two per month, and hers is one of the May productions that I got to download for free.

She interviews military veterans with PTSD, survivors of sex trafficking and sexual violence, personal friends and she shares a lot of her own experience struggling with divorce. If you have triggers related to those topics it might be challenging to listen to. I certainly cried, and she goes to very emotional places.

Her viewpoint, and what she’s seeking to understand better, is that after three days in nature, the body experiences calming in a way that is not available in urban settings. She goes on a river trip with veterans in which brain activity is measured, she goes on a camping trip with survivors of sexual violence and observes the changes the women experience (and the challenges of being in an unfamiliar and “unsafe” space – the great outdoors – when the purpose of the trip is to promote healing, which requires notions of safety and security), she stays in yurts with a friend with writer’s block who isn’t able to engage with his creative process and who is initially in the story no lover of the outdoors.

She talks too about awe, and how important awe is to our experience as humans. I had no idea.

I haven’t been outside much in the last few months. Two summers ago I walked outside a lot, even on the really hot days, and I had been walking or hiking fairly frequently until last fall, when I just kind of stopped. The weather where I live has been all over the place this spring and we’ve had a lot of rain days and flooding, so I haven’t had a cohesive block of time to begin redeveloping the habit of getting outside. Now that I’ve listened to the book, I’m motivated to find ways and make time to start doing that again, and to plan my own outdoor getaway. All of it made sense to me, and I have no doubt I would benefit from any steps toward getting back out in nature.

Scarcity is telling me I need to stay at my desk and work away, or else. Or else the company fails, or else I don’t make enough money, or else I can’t keep things going, or else I have nothing to push me forward and keep me getting out of bed every morning, or else I shrivel up and become nothing…scarcity is a lie. Hard as it is, I need to start doing more of the things that combat scarcity thinking, which has been my default mode post-trauma. Like make time to get outside.

man in hoodie jacket standing by the cliff
Photo by Simon Migaj on

2 thoughts on “Next on the Reading List

  1. Yes hell yeah! Nature is such a beautiful medicine. What I love the most is to go to the beach and listen to the sea crashing to the shore and swimming. It makes me feel one with the world and I feel completely at peace and happy. That’s what makes me feel alive and I agree that we have to do more things that makes us feel alive such as spending time in nature

    Liked by 1 person

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