How Spending Time in Nature Will Make Life More Meaningful
I’ve been a musician and a designer, a writer and a poet, localised in the midst of a vibrant city decor. Every now and then, I’d escape to nature and root down. But the last time I went on one of my adventures, something in my mind had changed. I couldn’t go back to my old life again. My heart was aching not to go and to stay close to nature and in her ‘filled’ silence instead of the rush and hush of the city. I craved for expressing creativity freely and explored without unnecessary obligations. For the first time, I was willing to leave everything I knew. And that desire hasn’t changed.
I am ready to leave my hometown, Amsterdam.
I want to share what kind of dream it is I am dreaming. A dream I had as a little kid, that suddenly re-entered as a vibrant thought. I want to share it because I know I am not the only one and I hope my quest and journey will inspire you to find out what you most desire in life.
It all started while I was travelling and ended up sleeping on a magical and mysterious piece of land between two mountaintops.
And I like to share what I wrote that day in spring, inspired by the felt equilibrium on the hill.
I. The Day I Was at Home, With the Flowers on the Hill
I woke up with an orchestra of birds initiating spring. A thousand strong, unrehearsed in total flow, creating the perfect rhythmic melodies.
How can harmony sound so diverse? So unrelated, yet engaged in each other. Matrimony of sounds.
In these moments, I fully realise that the earth reveals itself in variety through a universal code, creative order, and life rhythm that always originates from unity. We only experience it in duality.
It brings excitement not to know. With curiosity in my feet, I set out to explore while the sun gently started to break through. The birds had finished their concert of unity and quietly went off stage to re-enter the day as different species again.
Two dogs of the property came and got me, howling with waggling tails.
They showed me their usual routes across the land. We went into the mountains, where the trees grow wild. Where no species walk upright but crawl and bend and stray.
I ended up being too slow for their natural habitat, and they led me to a path so that I could walk like a human again.
I felt clumsy in their habitat. I felt the urge grow stronger, that we need the other species to guide us in our lives. We need to live among them, be inspired by their concerts, and surrender to their guidance.
For it lies in the subtle hints of nature, the little bright moments in time that can give us the answers to our greatest wanderings as long as we’re willing to listen.
I watched the confident, wagging tails enthusiastically running ahead of me and let go of the striving to decide alone; I gave my knowledge to them, and they shared their knowledge with me.
A variety of flowers had blossomed in a field by the side of the rural path, like subtle dots of bright colours in a sea of green.
Like the orchestra of birds, the flowers grew unrelated yet engaged in each other—matrimony of shapes revealing themselves in variety through a universal code. Nature is playful with her shapes.
I stepped onto the field because the dogs told me it was okay and hummed the song of the flowers while picking them.
I hoped I asked permission by singing them a song, their song. Do we decide together?
I stare into a flower of gentle pink. Inside, she shows me her love shaped as food for bees and butterflies. She presents herself so beautifully. Like a twirling dress, lifted by the wind.
I felt I could sit down and root.
Right there, I knew what rooting down means.
It means growing a home into the soil.
That day I was at home, with the flowers on the hill.
II. Growing a Home into the Soil
But then I had to return to the city and push back the heartfelt spaciousness and tranquillity to a small apartment in the city centre. Over the course of my life, I’ve travelled, but I always returned to what I knew; Amsterdam.
But then, I asked myself the question; do I truly feel at home in a place I never chose out of my own volition but was born into?
I want to describe what a home should feel like to me.
I have a dream about my real home. A place where I know the people, the animals and the plants and trees that grow, live and flourish around me.
I have a dream about a living that works in collaboration with ALL that is surrounding me, communicating with all that lives close to me. A conscious choice where I choose the place, and where the place chooses me.
A place I don’t know yet, but what I would truly call my home. A home felt in my heart.
What does that look like?
A place where I can lovingly take care of animals and see them as equals, all with unique roles to play. I want to find the advantages of all aspects of nature, like the sun, the wind and the water, to work with us instead of against us.
A place where everything serves more than one purpose and serves the system as a whole.
Because we listen and dare to be silent and act on the subtle wishes nature is giving us, as vaguely as saying it will be carried by the wind and burned in our skin by the sun.
But once you’ve experienced different types of communication through the plants and animal kingdom, you ‘know’, and suddenly it isn’t that vague anymore.
Why didn’t I already work towards this dream?
And now comes a part that I didn’t realise until later in my life.
I’ll never be the whizkid, or archiver of facts, which is what I’ve learned as something life prefers most. Subconsciously, I’ve been too caught up with trying to be what’s been expected of me and, therefore, suppressed my desire to have an entirely different life than I’ve been used to.
But now I know that all I want in life is finding that coexistence, that interconnectedness and merging of time and place and translate my perspective of the world into art, written text and music. May it be my translation of love.
A place where animals can be best friends, where I learn from the wise teachings of plants and trees surrounding me. A place where I hear the interconnected communication streams of life-like wired threads of a spider web, connecting the dots beyond our rational capacity of understanding things.
Because during that strife and fight and quest to understand beyond ourselves and find our translation of love, we see the real passion of life and remember the feeling of meaningfulness and amazement again.
And be aware that along that chain of events, we have to stay awakened and balanced between primal fear and passion for life.
But most of all…
I want to remain amazed by nature’s mystery and be okay with never understanding it fully. Because, after all, that is what makes life worth living; to wake up with curiosity about things and to be able to investigate and learn something new every day.
Today the search begins to find that place and live my dream every day.
III: If I Had the Power to Share a Message with the Whole World, I’d Say:
THE WHOLE WORLD, I’D SAY:
Get to know species other than yourself. Some will feel like respected neighbours, and others will feel like deeply loved family.
Dance in the forest, share secrets to the mountain top, look at the tree trunk patterns, and make art while listening to the songs carried by the wind. See the truth in the river stream, make music next to the fire and take care of newborn life growing on our land. Give your house a name and listen to the singing insects. Be one with all that is and was and always will be.
Give something beautiful to this world, something that breaks through our barriers and reaches the soul. Express what it means to be awake and conscious in our lives.
Life is not finished without the whole ecosystem, nature, and animals surrounding us. Life will always feel unfinished, ungrounded, and unfocused; the roots it beholds make it much, and the soul it bares makes it rich.
And one day or today, be the teacher to your cups and teach them how to listen by themselves, as never to fill in what others can realise and find out on their own.
Learn every day what it means to have been given this life, what it means to survive every day and have the richness to enjoy it as well.
Only we, ourselves, make up the boundaries of what is possible or not. And we must accept patients as a part of it to never give up.
Be inspired by not knowing. And never be afraid of losing your roots and grounding to this earth, to the soil.
Staying grounded is the best gift we can give ourselves. Choosing to ground fully might even feel like the first day of living.
Acknowledge death and grieve as a part of us.
As to never burry that what will make life unique and beautiful.
As to never numb life again, that was never why we got to live.
Find your wild. Love your life.
You are worth every second of it.