When I was considering the name of my counseling practice, I wanted something that integrated my approach to counseling with a concept that highlighted human potential. Natural Wisdom seemed to hold both.
So, what is Natural Wisdom, anyway? In my perspective, it is a multi-dimensional concept that guides therapeutic work, and ultimately enhances client growth and life satisfaction. It has at least three components: Personal, Nature, and the Divine.
We each have access to our own Natural Wisdom. On a metaphysical level, we have gut feelings, intuition, and hunches. On a biological and physiological level, our bodies are brimming with information, constantly informing us of what we need, as well as what works for us and what does not work for us. Some people get a stomachache after eating dairy. Some people get headaches when they have not slept enough or when they are dehydrated. Some people get anxious before going to work in the morning. There are innumerable ways in which your body is constantly informing you about how your actions and your environment are impacting you. Are you familiar with your body’s Natural Wisdom?
If you are not familiar with your body’s Natural Wisdom, you are not alone. Many of us were implicitly and explicitly taught to ignore some of our body’s signals—especially if they were inconvenient in some way. Perhaps your mom never noticed the correlation between dairy and your digestive issues, just giving you some Tums or Pepto when you happened to get a stomachache. It is possible you have to work evening and night shifts in order to pay your bills, and figure that a little loss of sleep and the secondary headache are worth it. Maybe you have not noticed that your morning anxiety is pre-work anxiety connected to your interactions with your over-bearing, micro-managing boss. We all have lots of reasons to ignore or minimize the signals our bodies are giving us. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for those “little things” that we ignore to build up and become chronic or debilitating. Tapping into your body and your own Natural Wisdom will help you find and treat the cause of the symptom, rather than just the band-aid the symptom itself.
Your Natural Wisdom is entirely unique to you. Fostering it will help you recognize and act on your own truths. Getting familiar with your truths can give you information and tools to make decisions that help you thrive. You have the potential to be empowered and revitalized by your personal Natural Wisdom.
The Earth and its smorgasbord of inhabitants are a great example of Natural Wisdom. When you look at a plant or an animal, it is easy to see that it is pursuing life and accepting each stage of life gracefully. Each living being is doing the best it can to not only survive, but also to thrive. As a therapist, Nature is one of my best teachers for how to foster growth and resiliency. Whether I am explicitly using a nature-based intervention or not, the natural world is constantly informing my therapeutic lens. Plants, animals, insects, and the weather create unlimited metaphors and opportunities for us.
From Darwin’s finches to the way that a sunflower will follow the sun, it is clear that there is purpose and adaptation in even the most bewildering behaviors.
We, too, have changed and evolved from different experiences, stimuli, and stories. We, too, are doing the best we can with the information that we have received in our short lives. Sometimes, the way we adapt causes us pain and discomfort, even though we are trying our best. Sometimes Nature can give us some sage advice on how to adapt more effectively.
God, the Universe, the Great Spirit…whatever term you use for the Indefinable, the mysterious Energy, the Divine also plays a role in our experience of Natural Wisdom. Since time immemorial, humans have sought spiritual guidance. We have bowed down in awe to forces greater than ourselves. We have been moved by unnamable entities and gleaned insights and wisdom while practicing spiritual traditions.
Natural Wisdom may come to us in mysterious or mystical ways. The rhythms and cycles of life, along with its triumphs and tragedies, are not always easily explained. Sometimes they cannot be verbalized. Regardless, including your spiritual practices in the therapeutic process will bolster your development of Natural Wisdom.
Counseling and Natural Wisdom
Are you at a loss for how to access personal, natural, and/or spiritual components of Natural Wisdom? Holistic counseling can help you bridge that gap. Through Natural Wisdom Counseling, you can enhance your sense of empowerment, take ownership or your personal truths, and use your life experiences to help you adapt to current and future situations with grace and confidence.