Connect to the Natural World with “Earth + Body” from Jolene Hart

Bestselling author and certified health coach Jolene Hart, CHC created Earth + Body: 52 Weeks of Well-Being Inspired by Nature to help you learn to connect more meaningfully to your precious body.

Each of the 52 cards in this oracle deck and guidebook set highlights a natural element (seeds, sand, waterfalls, mountains, seashells, smoke, wind, fire, etc.) and offers an intention, a lesson, a ritual, and a reflection. Plus, the included wooden stand keeps your card pull in sight as a wellness reminder.

Read on for an excerpt from the included guidebook, plus a sneak peek at four of the deck’s cards. Earth + Body is on sale now wherever books are sold.

Illustration of a feather from “Earth + Body: 52 Weeks of Well-Being Inspired by Nature”

Introduction

Mother Earth: the master teacher. She moves, she breathes, she grows. And the more time we spend in close connection with her, the better we understand our own moving, breathing, growing bodies. Looking to nature—especially its rhythms and cycles, its ability to find harmony and sustain life, and its inherent perfection and contentment—teaches us important lessons that help us maximize our own health and well-being on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. The human experience, ever complicated and nuanced, at times can be distilled into simple, fundamental wisdom. Like much of nature, we experience periods of death and rebirth. Like shells, we change form and purpose over the course of our lives. Like fungi, we form complex networks that allow for optimal coexistence and communication. Like the millions of hues in a rainbow, we are all exceptional in our individuality and value. And so much more.

As a health coach, I’m often surprised by the level of disconnect many of us have from our bodies, not to mention the natural world. This may be our reflexive response to a bombardment of external pressures and distractions, as well as technologies designed to hold our attention—away from the world around us. Pushing back against those forces by spending time in close contact with nature lets us reconnect to and reorient our bodies, even as we lower anxiety and depression, support immunity, grow our memory and creative capacity, decrease blood pressure and pain, and improve mental health and happiness. As you make your way through these cards week by week, you’ll learn more about the natural world and discover parallels with your own life experience. You’ll incorporate new rituals and spend time reflecting on the way nature’s most universal lessons can guide your path.

Illustration of a nest from “Earth + Body: 52 Weeks of Well-Being Inspired by Nature”

How to Use This Deck

Shuffle your deck and once a week draw a card (don’t forget to display it in its custom stand). Each card will highlight one natural element whose wisdom you’ll explore and apply all week long. On the front of each card you’ll find an illustration of the element, along with its name and the role it plays in the natural world. Flip your card over to read an intention related to that element that will guide your thoughts and actions all week long—and beyond if you choose. Then use this book as a guide to bring each element to life even further, with a short lesson that explores each part of nature and what it teaches us about our own health and wellness, a ritual for you to practice (often repeatedly, with the goal of forming or reinforcing a habit), and reflection questions to think or write through during the week.

To get the most from your cards:

Choose a place to display each week’s card where you’ll see it again and again, preferably when you’ll have a few uninterrupted moments to spend with it. As you revisit your card each day during the week, you’ll likely gain fresh insights and reflections that personalize each lesson for you.

Keep a journal nearby. If you enjoy writing, I encourage you to respond to the reflection questions on paper. Or mull them over when you have time to get lost in deep thought—while sipping your morning tea, eating breakfast, or taking a walk. These questions can be starting points for discussions with your partner, friends, or family as well.

Bring your cards to life by challenging yourself to interact with the element of nature highlighted each week. Each card is a visual reminder that you’re a student of the natural world. But holding a card is just the starting point of this experience. Touch branches, listen to the crash of ocean waves, savor a sunrise, or get up close with your garden soil. Your senses deepen this experience and will likely bring you fresh ways to connect these earthly elements with your unique body and routine.

Featured Cards

Branches: The Expanders

The Intention: I will visualize my health, happiness, and energy expanding from my body and radiating to others.

The Lesson: Branches make up the crown of a tree or the shape of a shrub. They’re essential anchors for leaves and a support for fruit and flowers. Emerging from a trunk or stem, branches give a plant its expansive potential, growing it to optimal fullness and health. Removing a branch from an established tree is more of a risk than you might imagine: a poorly healed wound from branch removal can be an entry point for disease. But often a plant can withstand pruning of its branches and continue to thrive. In our bodies, our arms embody branches’ expansive ability.

As they stretch toward the sky or wrap around a loved one, your arms amplify your personal space and your energy field.

The Ritual: One of the best ways to be expansive in your daily life, as you are able, is to increase the variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet. Many of us rely on the same staples, repeated again and again, when there are hundreds of produce varieties from which to choose and experiment. The average grocery store typ­ically rotates about two hundred varieties of produce each year. This week stray from your usual fruit and vegetable routine to expand your diet with as many new types of produce as you can. Haven’t cooked a rutabaga in a while (it’s packed with glucosinolates, which lower inflammation and inhibit cancer growth)? Dice it and roast it with your other root vegetables. Have yet to taste a jackfruit? Try your local specialty produce markets to get your hands on one (or a portion of one, as they’re large!). Do the same with the regular grocery store offerings that you tend to skip. Variety not only brings interest to your meals; it also delivers an untapped spectrum of phytochemicals that offer diverse benefits, including blocking UV rays, balancing oil in your skin, and speeding up cell healing.

The Reflection: What are the behind-the-scenes habits that most noticeably expand your health and happiness? Are there other practices or areas of knowledge you would like to focus on in support of your well-being?

Dew: The Essence

The Intention: I will take time to refresh myself daily for the sole purpose of joy and well-being.

The Lesson: Just before sunrise, as overnight temperatures reach their lowest point in the twenty-four-hour cycle, dew glazes the Earth. If the air’s moisture content reaches 100 percent as the temperature drops, dew condenses, collecting on each blade of grass, each thread of a spider’s web, and each curling leaf. It refreshes the world from the outside in, becoming nature’s own overnight beauty treatment. But dew is far more than just a pick-me-up; it also offers protection from the heat stress of a summer’s day and a drink for thirsty plants that lack rain.

To our eyes, moisture and dewiness represent the qualities of youth, freshness, and vitality that we so often seek. Like dew on grass, water is our very essence, comprising about 60 percent of the human body. Countless skincare and makeup products promise the look of “dewy skin” that creates a radiant, luminous complexion. For a similar effect, humidifiers add moisture to our indoor air, allowing us to have our own exposure to dew-boosting humidity.

The Ritual: Water is within us and around us. It is us. Dehydration is not only drying for our skin and compromising for our mental sharpness; it’s also a stressful state to the body, one that can cause the stress hormone cortisol to rise without our awareness. Regular hydration—in the fluids we drink, the water-rich foods we consume, and even exposure to humidity in the air we breathe—keeps us refreshed. As a daily ritual this week, keep a pitcher of filtered water on your desk or counter, along with your favorite facial mist (even just a spritz of plain water will do). Refresh your body and skin with a drink, and mist your face lightly to counter indoor dryness.

The Reflection: What refreshes you when you’re feeling lackluster? Are there particular foods, products, or habits that help you reset yourself? Make a list and keep it handy by your bedside or on your phone so you can regularly incorporate your ideas the next time you need a boost.

Fossils: The Heirlooms

The Intention: I will honor the lessons of the past and apply them to build a healthier future for myself.

The Lesson: Fossils transport us to days long past, revealing a single moment frozen in time. By learning about the past, we gain knowledge that guides our future, specifically information about evolution, adaptation, and extinction. The oldest fossils on Earth are 3.5 billion years old, only a little younger than the oldest known rocks. They are the heirlooms of the Earth, treasures passed down and preserved by compression or mineralization. Our own bodies are formed from similar heirlooms—DNA passed down from parents to children to grandchildren. DNA lasts about seven generations, or two hundred years. And as we continue to study and understand the specifics of our unique DNA profiles, we learn more about our past and our future at once.

The Ritual: Preventing and repairing DNA damage is the foundation of a long, healthy life. Not only does your DNA affect your own health, but it will also be passed on to offspring. Let’s turn our focus to our power to nourish healthy DNA this week. Foods that have been shown to repair DNA damage include watercress, carrots, blueberries, green tea, broccoli, spinach, and tomato. Fill your diet with those DNA superfoods as well as fresh, colorful produce. And to prevent DNA damage before it starts, pri­oritize stress reduction, getting quality sleep, and wearing sunscreen daily!

The Reflection: What possessions would you consider to be your family heirlooms? How do they tell a story of both your past and your future?

Lightning: The Flash

The Intention:  I will respect the raw power of nature and my body.

The Lesson: The unlikely endeavor “to catch lightning in a bottle” hints at the wild unpredictability of this natural phenomenon. Lightning strikes only when a buildup of electric charge releases into the atmosphere. Often negative ions in storm clouds are attracted to positive ions in the ground, directing those lightning strikes downward and creating the beautiful streaks you glimpse across the sky. Incredibly, the heat of a lightning strike is five times hotter than the surface of the sun, at about 54,000 degrees Fahrenheit. And with that extreme heat comes fast expansion: a flash followed by a thunderous sound. Historical interpretations of lightning were largely negative, ranging from a punishment or wrath of the gods to a sign of danger or bad energy. And although we appreciate the science behind lightning today, it still shakes us with its raw power. Next time you see a lightning strike, let it remind you of the raw power of your own energy and free will to guide your life, influence decisions and relationships, and achieve what you desire.

The Ritual: This week let a flash of lightning inspire you to use light therapy, also called phototherapy, in your favor. In particular, red-light therapy is an accessible tool that’s beneficial for a range of health concerns, from sun damage repair and collagen stimulation to hair growth, reducing inflammation, pain relief, and skin healing. You can find a range of red-light tools—including masks, lamps, light boxes, and even full-body red-light beds—and decide whether to invest in an at-home tool or a session in a spa or doctor’s office. The best results come from regular use and can be truly transformative, a testament to the healing power of light.

The Reflection: How do changes in light and dark affect your body and mind? Do you notice shifts in energy, stamina, or cognition in dim versus bright lighting?

Dive Deeper

Featured Titles

Jolene Hart

About the Author

Jolene Hart, CHC, is a health coach certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and founder of the pioneering beauty coaching practice Beauty Is Wellness. She is a former magazine beauty editor and the bestselling author of six wellness books, including Eat Pretty, Ignite Your Light, and Well-Rested Every Day. At the heart of Jolene’s work is her desire to empower readers with the ability to shape their lifelong beauty and health with simple tools and habits. Her private coaching looks at many areas of life, from stress and hormones to diet, digestion, and healthy personal care products, to help her clients look and feel their best from the inside. She lives near Philadelphia, PA.

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