Each year that I facilitate our annual SpiritQuest Ceremonies, a group of us commit to living with Mother Earth rather than on her and that simple shift in perception is the difference between being human and trying to figure out what it means to be human.

In an age when we live in climate controlled houses, cars, offices and stores; in an age where we buy our food from grocery stores and spend some portion of our days on computers, it is easy to lose touch with our natural and symbiotic relationship with the earth.

But lose that relationship and you can lose your health, not to mention your peace of mind and spiritual awareness. In my book, The Root of All Healing, I describe what can actually happen when your cycles and rhythms fall out of sync with Mother Earth. Believe it or not, there is a documented and researched illness that comes with being disconnected from our Mother and her natural cycles, also known as circadian rhythms.

Here is a selection from my book that explains what can happen:

Symptoms of being out of sync with our natural cycles, also known as circadian rhythms, include stress, physical tension, emotional frustration, depression…and all of these can contribute to on-going illness. The effects of being out of balance with natural circadian cycles is explained in a white paper by Apollo Health Incorporated: ‘In reality circadian rhythms control the timing, quantity, and quality of the hormones and neurotransmitters the body produces and eventually secretes. Hormones and neurotransmitters are the elements that determine how we feel, our sleep patterns, our appetite, our sex drive, and other sleep and mood-related issues. When functioning properly, our circadian rhythms create circadian balance. When out of balance, quantity, quality and timing of hormone and neurotransmitter secretions suffer and our bodies suffer from a circadian rhythm disorder (CRD).’

Now consider that it is winter-time and for many of us the current seasonal weather provides lots of motivation to stay inside, safely tucked away from Mother Earth. As we distance ourselves from her, we increase the probability that we will experience the difficult physiological and emotional symptoms of being disconnected.

There are also mental and emotional benefits to connecting with Mother Earth. Have you ever been completely distraught, confused, frustrated or depressed and opted to take a long, long walk? Perhaps you found yourself walking through a park, a forest or along a beach. Isn’t it amazing how quickly you calm down and you develop some new perspective about your life?

Mother Earth is a natural healer, when we allow ourselves to spend time with her, even in the winter—perhaps, especially in the winter. A walk in snow or in the rain can do wonders for your mind and heart. Within minutes, worries dissolve and huge issues become small. Try taking a walk with someone when you are in a disagreement and watch how quickly you find resolution together. The minute we sink into the Mother’s rhythms, our own rhythms find their center, which is true inner peace.

That same inner peace creates an opening within us for experiencing our own mystical nature and the mystical nature of Mother Earth. As you find greater peace, you’ll notice that your dreams change, wild animals come up to you, you recognize the Mystery of the Divine in all of life, and your spiritual insights and abilities become more evident and helpful. The spirit-world opens up to you. The more you enter into relationship with the Mother the more the Mystery reveals itself to you.

I’m not talking about theoretical understanding. I’m referring to spiritual experience—mystical experiences. I used to think I was just lucky to have so many mystical experiences and finally I realized that I started having those beautiful, awakening experiences when I started developing a relationship with the Mother Earth. When I began seeing her and experiencing her as a significant part of my life—through her water, stones, animals, sky, clouds—all of her, the veil dropped. Her mysteries and the mysteries of creation throughout the universe were now available to me.

That’s when you realize what it truly means to be human, because you know you are not separate from life. You know in your bones that you are a wonderful part within the magnificence of creation. I invite you during this holiday season, to do it. Create the time to get outside and spend time with your Mother. She is one of the greatest healers and mystics you will ever meet.