Camping! Outdoors! Stars! Full moon!
The first night arriving so late all we could do was set up the tent and sleep. The second and third night I fell asleep at the fire under the stars. But I was also sleeping during the day whatever chance I could get. After the month I’ve had I was exhausted and only being so removed would help me rest. It was only on the fourth day that I woke up excited and ready to go for a walk as the sun was rising.
Later that morning, sipping on some coffee I had an aha moment. This is what rest means. Nature and outdoors. The brain adjusting to full relaxation. Although people always say, “go outdoors” ; “spend time in nature” ; “it refreshes the body”, I forgot what that truly meant. I was so disengaged from being present that even when I was traveling or outdoors I’d just want to get it over with. I remember traveling a while ago and wondering why I couldn’t stay in the moment; why I was “fine” with seeing a place and leaving within 2 minutes. No lingering, no stirring of emotions or satisfying sighs. It had become a tickbox exercise and no longer an adventure.
As I become more aware and conscious (and tired but fulfilled) I accept how much I need nature. When living in my tiny one-bedroom flat a few years earlier, I had a view of a beautiful mountain. I had a balcony just big enough for two stools and I used to sit in the evening looking at the mountain and stars. Since moving, I have a slightly larger balcony but it faces buildings and I switched off to the idea of nature. But I switched off to more than that. I swtiched off in truth to adventure and the unknown.
Placing pot plants and other greenery around, my mind kept trying to tell me I needed nature but I had put myself off to it because what would be the point when everything had become a to-do list?
Taking that early morning walk I felt a rush of excitement; a feeling I had not felt in a long time. I wanted to appreciate being by the river and possibly seeing strange and wonderful animals. I wanted to go off the route a little (I did…leaving the stern looks of my family behind) and imagine what I might find. It was a childlike excitement of the endless possibilities of what might be discovered. Adventure. And I needed nature to remind me of this feeling.
How do we keep engaged? How do we ensure that this feeling is not lost? My new rule now is 10 minutes of nature-bonding daily. Sitting in the balcony and looking after my plants, while sipping a cup of tea, counts until I have my large garden! If I don’t have what I want now then I’ll make the most of what I have. Because while some things may be out of our control, what keeps us engaged and motivated is not one of those and if we do not make an effort then we’ll float through life as if non-existent. And what’s the point of that?