In modern life, we often feel disconnected from nature, which is a huge problem for all of us. Work, school and other commitments mean there are fewer opportunities to be in nature, especially if you live in a city, as time whizzes by in a flurry of unanswered emails and phone pings. We feel we haven’t got the time or space to get out into the natural world and then a life disconnected from nature becomes our new normal.
The modern world often tells us we don’t need nature. Instead of sitting under a tree, perhaps we need that new hairdryer that looks like a small tennis racket and dries your hair in 3.5 seconds? We don’t need the elements but might be tempted by the comfort of a ready meal that takes four minutes to cook and tastes like salt that’ll leave you wanting more. We lose our sense of ourselves as part of nature and we lose nature from our daily lives.
I battle with this one constantly. I know my truth aligns with nature, I know I can learn so much from it, but I get distracted by other demands on my time. This morning I went for a run and it was tough; tough but essential. Usually, the tough things are. I had anger in me and it felt like it needed to escape my crooked shoulders and tense jaw. I ran against the wind with Royal Blood playing loudly in my headphones. The adrenalin kicked in and pulsed through my muscles, allowing them to push against the wind’s mighty strength. Rage fired up my chest and fast-beating heart, giving me the freedom to move my limbs and exorcise the anger. The dominant easterly wind allowed me to work through something and use my body to physically move on from a tricky emotion.
This experience reminded me that we should feel the elements often. We should allow our bodies to feel cold, hot, pushed about by gales, rained on, tingled by ice. We need to feel it all and allow our bodies to strengthen due to discomfort. The modern world tells us to avoid the elements and keep warm, dry, cool and unbothered with the latest clothing, hot water bottle, umbrella, heated car, etc.
This morning’s run wasn’t comfortable by any means. I would much rather have been in a warm bath reading a book but the discomfort and full-bodied experience of running with the wind was what my truth needed. I needed the anger to move on to allow my inner calm to flourish for the rest of the day. I’m not always this virtuous and of course I sometimes pick a warm bath and a face pack over nature and that’s fine too. This morning, though, I needed howling winds and muscle burn to get back to my truth.
We can learn so much from observing nature but instead, we type into search engines for answers. We worry about why we feel so awful but forget to look at the seasons to be reminded that, like the seasons, we are always changing and adjusting and adapting. We panic that our kids are too shouty, angry, moany, disobedient without looking to grow in nature to remind us that becoming mature is a process that requires patience. We think the modern world has all of the answers but in fact, it is taking us away from what we intuitively know and what nature can teach us.
Nature IS balance. There has to be balance for anything to grow. The correct ratio of shade to sunlight. The right pH balance in the earth itself. The right balance of water to enable growth. If I am overwatering a situation, oversaturating a person with my own sunlight, I have already shaken the balance of the pH in the soil. If I want balance, I can see from nature that I have to pull back a little. I have to give less so the other can give more. I have to allow the other person involved the opportunity to put some work in. If I am doing it all they cannot. This is a lesson I have to learn again and again as I’m a people-pleasing, overachieving, Virgo control freak. I have to pull back that watering can and wait for the rain. The modern world could perhaps offer me up therapists or online articles on relationship dynamics but the truth also lies in nature.
Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton is published by Orion Spring and is out now in hardback.
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