Guest Post – Wire Yourself Back with Nature
Happy Thanksgiving! (my most favorite holiday of the year). This year I realized its time to make expressing gratitude a habit rather than just wait for today. Not only does it keep you grounded but is proven to promote positivity and happiness.
This guest post from a friend couldn’t have come at a better time. He’s been a great influence in helping me define my relationship with nature. Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
Wire Yourself Back with Nature
The world wide web is filled with tons of articles and websites on health and wellness. There are several research studies on what one should eat vs. what one shouldn’t. There are several books on how an Ectomorph Vs. Mesomorph Vs. Endomorph should exercise and how one could pair that with another set of books that study the impact of blood groups in how we should tailor our diet. Throw all of that in the trash for a second. Let us build this argument from the ground up. If you work like a dog, day in and day out every week, earn money, have a family and buy a home, does that mean you are happy? One cannot define what happiness is just like the way there won’t be a text book definition for life or time. Maybe we can metaphysically go about explaining it. But if one can answer what truly makes them happy and keeps them happy then we can leave all of those books and articles in trash, at least for the time being.
Technology is a boon, it makes the world smaller. It is a bane; it diminished our touch with surroundings, our ability to feel ourselves. Our mind and body are wired to work with nature, interact with it and constantly strive to know it. Just like we build bonds with family, friends, colleagues, business associates, your daily chai-wallah, we must strive to make a connection with nature. Being able to understand nature its vices and virtues will need a great amount of will power and physical endurance and stamina. Never start with an objective of losing weight or having abs or building pecs. Think about how you can use your body to climb a mountain or row for days through the Norwegian Fjords. This is where you can pick those books from the trash and use them as instruments for preparing yourself to interact with nature.
I don’t want this to turn into a preachy article but I believe in some of the points below that help me find myself and improve my ability to interact with nature. Hopefully they can be of use to you as well:
Find your greatest weakness and turn it into strength and positive energy
Let me give you a quick example, when I was a kid I was hyperactive and very short tempered. While I used to top my class and school, I lacked one important trait – finishing what I started. Once I got into college, I always used to take initiative but never walked home with a certain feeling of completion, because I was busy interacting with technology, friends and family or found a new idea to toy with. More often than not, I would blow my fuse, lash out, throw things or generally shut myself off from the world. Once, I decided to make a trip to Himalayas and I wanted to climb a small mountain. I was pretty unfit and unprepared, besides being fat and chubby and what not. I willed it and made it to the top but more than that it was my anger that got me to the summit. I was angry with myself, as opposed to my surroundings but I applied it towards a certain interaction I wanted to have with nature i.e. being on the summit and experiencing the view and the feeling of wind slapping on your face. I realized that my anger metamorphosed into determination because I wanted to complete what I started at any cost. I have found my source of happiness, climbing mountains. Which leads us to …
Seek for a source of happiness, a bottomless well
Family, money, job, car, house, gadgets, etc. all of them are interchangeable priorities in life. Being in touch with one self is very important. For me it’s climbing a mountain, for someone else it can be gardening, sky diving, writing or painting. The biggest loss for any human being is losing themselves. I would definitely assert that being able to say no to everything and everyone and to be able to stay in touch with YOU for some time every day is essential towards being happy. When you are happy you definitely feel radiant and confident i.e. well in touch with yourself and surroundings. Imagine technology as fat and nature activities as muscle – a body cannot be all fat or all muscle but a right blend of it will ensure it functions properly in any environment – harsh or favorable.
Coming back to our beginnings of this article, we always think there is a lot of effort needed to plan our workouts and diet around work, kids, life in general. Don’t worry it’s the opposite; you plan the rest around your ability to keep yourself well. If you notice when you hear the safety instructions in a plane or on a boat they want you to put on your life vest before your put it on your child’s. Physical conditioning is essential, just like eating or breathing. Don’t plan for it, just do it. When you can do it, it becomes infectious in the entire family. On a recent trip to Bergen, Norway I had noticed how significant amount of the families in the city got up by 6AM and start climbing each of the seven mountains like pilgrims. The locals informed me that it’s a family fun activity just to get out and enjoy being able to go up the hills.
It is very important to have kids’ exposed to nature from young age. They build the conscience of what’s healthy vs. what’s not as opposed to being constantly preached. At the same time they will know how to balance their time between technology and nature. Additionally meditation from a very young age will have a great impact on how you visualize your goals and your next interaction with nature.
Know what you eat, where it comes from and let others know through community cooking
Community cooking is a great way to educate each other on good ingredients, share knowledge at the same time great meals. This isn’t a new concept, past generations have done it successfully. Our lives have become too mechanized for us to be able to do it. These kind of activities also help support local markets and farmers. If you are the kind who wants to splurge, then splurge money on good ingredients not on the next best designer apparel :). Involve kids in community cooking projects, when they observe other kids enjoying healthy meals, it will definitely help sustain the idea of healthy eating and well being in their minds.