Last week I had the most amazing blast of Serotonin, Endorphins, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vitamin D, Melatonin, pure clean oxygen, sunshine and a sensory overload! It was mind-blowing!
I bet you’re thinking I’d like some of that!
Well, you can. I did a 5-day hike on the Milford track – one of New Zealand’s great walks and I’m addicted.
I haven’t done something like this for a long time and it was a wake up call and a delight in so many ways. 5 days off the grid is fantabulous, my mind needed the centredness. I’m not nearly as fit as I’d like to be – day 3 proved that up, up, up and then 900 metres down over big rocks and landslides! Wish I’d shed a few more kilos to be lighter and more agile, the sensory overload is incredible being in remote mountainous terrain, who knew there were so many mosses and little ecosystems quietly getting on in the mountains, water just flows wherever the path of least resistance is, water from rivers and streams is a whole new taste level – crisp and delicious. Bumblebees are my new best friends – they were everywhere. Sandflies are tenacious little buggars and they just live to bite you!
Tramping alone is magical if you are completely present, meeting new friends along the way was eye-opening but doing the tramp with friends was special. My mental fitness is great, especially on day 5 when all my leg muscles and feet ached but there was still 21 km to go!
This was truly a treasure and I have to say meeting 6 people in their 70’s doing this walk was inspiring. They were fit, agile, young in attitude and were loving life, even though for a few there were knee replacement pains, back issues and a pacemaker – this certainly didn’t faze them! They just plodded along at their own pace. Inspiring.
So when did you last immerse yourself in nature? A walk on the beach, a hike in a park, swims in the ocean, a multi day hike in the mountains, camping trip or perhaps just a quiet fish out on a lake or the sea?
In nature, urgency, deadlines and “clock time,” measured by hours, minutes and seconds, just melt away. Clocks make us abandon the natural rhythms of our bodies and the Earth and conform to a schedule rooted in our economic system. That creates a lot of stress on the human psyche.
On the flip side, nature models a healthier pace of life. Trees and plants grow s – l – o – w – l – y. Deer graze calmly, birds stop and sing, rabbits and goats scamper about, but that is their natural pace. Everything is moving according to their natural rhythm, and you begin to do the same, the longer you stay in this environment.
Nature calls you back to reality. You can’t stop it from raining. You can’t delay the setting sun. You can’t set the temperature to a comfortable 20 degrees. If you’re climbing a mountain, your muscles are going to burn. But with this surrender comes such relief! You awake from a dream and realize how little control you really have. You remember that hardship and lack of control are part of life, and accepting this reality makes it not only bearable but possible to feel the joy of being alive.
You feel comfortable in your own skin – being just you, you experience your own quiet peace and strength, you sense the inner you that is the true you. The mask you present to the outer world is irrelevant for a time and put in its proper place.
So when will you choose to immerse yourself in nature and feel the addiction, too?