We live in amazing times. Human ingenuity has delivered us ideas and technologies that have broadened our horizons beyond our ancestors’ wildest dreams. Great minds have shown us both the unfathomable hugeness of the Universe and the minutest building blocks that make up all matter, and in the process we’ve developed myriad ways to improve the quality of our lives.

Yet in embracing our modern lifestyle, there’s been a cost…
Despite all we now have to make our lives easier and more convenient, we strangely find ourselves almost always on the run, racing against the clock and driven by deadlines. We need everything to be faster and shorter, so we can fit more into increasingly hectic schedules.

AFP Photo

Our technologies advance relentlessly, so we find ourselves in a perpetual state of upgrade. We’re mentally digesting vast amounts of information – more in a year than our ancestors dealt with in a lifetime – yet we’re actually thinking less.
Our modern world’s motto is “connectivity”, yet we’re perhaps more disconnected than ever before.

When our economy doesn’t grow, we feel like we’ve failed, so we never dare to sit still and let things just be as they may.

The food we eat is increasingly engineered, manufactured and refined – no longer simply grown. What was acceptably sustaining us and every living thing on the planet since the beginning of life on Earth is no longer considered “efficient” enough.

Despite all our advances over the last 200 years, each day we’re informed of yet another detrimental effect our modern lifestyle is having on our society, our health and our environment – more environmental destruction, more disaffected peoples, more allergies, mental and behavioral disorders, neurological diseases and cancers. Our bodies and minds are ill at ease, not to mention the state of our planet.

We clearly need something we’re not getting, and getting something we really don’t need …we’ve lost touch.

Think about it, for millions of years we’ve evolved in harmony with Nature – as a part of nature. Then suddenly, with the advent of industrialization and the tools of technology, we started to buck that trend, arrogant in the belief that we can now control nature. As a consequence, we’ve lost track of, and in many cases, even upset the natural cycles that have always been and still are an intrinsic part of us.

But the solution may be quite simple…

Ever noticed how spending some time in nature recharges our batteries and makes us feel calm? When we take the opportunity to interact with nature – whether it be a trek in the wilderness or tending the garden – we experience a sublime sense of calm and well-being…a connectedness!

Henry David Thoreau

That’s the whole point of this quote by Henry David Thoreau – artist, inventor, naturalist, activist, disobeyer and child of the universe.

Thoreau understood that human life is intrinsically interwoven with our natural world. So he sought to let nature guide him to better understand his own fundamentals, and his place in the world.

In his book, Walden; or Life In The Woods, an account of his time spent living on the edge of wilderness, Thoreau wrote;

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

Walden Pond at sunset

Yes, Thoreau’s personal experiment with nature was deliberately extreme, but the principle is clear – it’s when we surrender to nature’s influences that we experience what’s real.

So, what is so deeply satisfying about this experience of what’s real?

Perhaps it’s spiritual – our souls get to reconnect with the all-pervasive Oneness. Or perhaps it’s biological – just like sea turtles can traverse oceans and instinctively return to the same beach where they were born, perhaps we humans also have a complex relationship with the forces of nature, which is too subtle to be aware of in our busy, noisy and crowded daily lives, but still impacts our well-being.
Perhaps it’s both of these things.

So, lets all take some cues from nature. Lets all make our selves a little more vulnerable. Lets feel the impact of too hot, too cold or too wet, and get to know it for what it is. Lets plant gardens that are in harmony with the prevailing conditions, and observe/feel the impacts of the changing seasons. Lets limit our consumption to what the seasons provide, and appreciate more deeply how and why things are always changing. Lets spend more time on beaches, mountains and in forests, once again feeling and observing the changing seasons.

Other than that deep sense of calm and wellbeing, we’ll likely feel healthier for it. We’ll also take some pressure off our environment and allow it to heal, and it will in turn provide us with more of what it has always provided since the dawn of time.

Please share your thoughts with us, and ways you know to resign ourselves to the influences of the seasons. Let us know the benefits you’ve experienced.

This quote is part of Blue Turtles’ Poetic Pieces collection and is available as pendant P-7-5, a versatile and unisex style of pendant.

To request a full catalogue of Poetic Pieces quotes and styles, click here.

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