I hope that through some of my musings, people may gain some insight and find some useful advice; or at the very least be entertained. I know that often, I have a million things going through my head, but occasionally a thought sticks, takes root, and I focus on it.  One of those bits of gray-matter lightning bolts is what I like to call “dark emotions”. We all have them and many of us wrestle with them. I spend a lot of time thinking on this subject and I know if I don’t control it, it can control me.

I want to take this time to state that I am not a doctor, a therapist, or a health care professional, I just want to share what has helped me, and maybe you can incorporate it into you’re your life to help a little as well.

What I mean by “dark emotions” is could also be called “primal emotion”. Fear, pain, stress, mourning, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety. Any of these, left unchecked, can wreak havoc on your life. We all feel them at times, not just amputees, not just disabled people… literally anyone can have these pop up. The first thing I want to say about these emotions is not to fight them. It’s important to realize that these emotions are completely normal and happen to all of us at some point or another. When we try to fight these emotions, or hold them back, it can often make things worse; let them flow. Be in the moment, let yourself be angry, sad, or stressed. Let it come, then let it go.

Finding ways to cope with, and even overcome these emotions, can be one of the most useful tools we can have in our daily lives. My absolute go-to coping mechanism is nature. Not some herb or a plant that you can chew on, but nature in general. In my life I have a lot of stress, anger, anxiety, and pain; I’m an amputee, it comes with the territory. I stress about possibly having a complication that will take me off my feet and/or out of work. I feel anger because of the ridiculously horrible sense of humor that the fates seem to have (i.e. when it rains it pours); I feel anxiety because I worry about being able to continue working, or needing another surgery, or that my pain will hold me back; I have physical pain because…well…stump stuff. I have emotional pain because the strain all of this causes can sometime get overwhelming.

A couple of weeks ago, after a particularly grueling week at work, with all the aforementioned issues in tow, I went to the woods. I was standing there next to my shack, leaning against the back of my truck. My daughter stood next to me, and the thunderous sound of silence washed over me. The sun was setting, the colors were just starting to streak the sky, it was calm. My daughter and I didn’t say a word, we just stood there next to each other for the longest time as everything faded away. All that pain and anger, all the anxiety, all dropped away as nature painted its canvas for the evening. Though it wasn’t the first time that I had thought about how being outside helps me heal my mind and soul, it was an extremely moving moment.

That’s nature for you. That’s what being outside can do. I have never in my life been sitting with my back against a tree and felt stress, anxiety, or fear. NEVER. Just being there silent, contemplative and just existing is true medicine. I want to stress that it doesn’t need to be the middle of the woods. It can be your back yard, it can be a park, it can even be a small patch of grass. Gaining a connection to the Earth in some way has true power and plugs you into something grand and epic. How you get there makes little difference. At one point I needed a driver, and someone to push me in a wheelchair while other times I drove myself and literally crawled on hands and knees to make it happen.  The point is that there is almost always a way to get out and find that connection with nature. We are heading into fall and in my opinion, there is no better time to visit nature. As the colors of fire kiss the leaves and the inevitable change of seasons march past, we can be truly humbled, finding peace and solace in the embrace of the Earth.

Find a way outdoors and try it.  Get rooted, get connected and exist.  #RUSHintothewild.  Oh, and be sure to check out my video portion to this blog where I share my thoughts and a little more insight.

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To contact Fritz:

Email: f.rudy.tech@gmail.com

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