How Being in Nature Reminds Us of Our True Nature
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir
During the time between Christmas and New Years, my manfriend and I headed to the mountains. I had been craving the forest. I was lusting for the feel of the crisp air on my face and the smell of the snow drenched soil. I needed to hug a tree, knowing my medicine lies within those trees and beneath the starry sky.
A break was in order for us both from the high speed craziness of the city.
We sat in the pizza hall at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park. It was chilling to the bones outside but our hearts were warm. I love it here. I want to snuggle up to a fire in the morning with a cup of coffee. I want less speed and more presence in each moment.
We stayed one night in a canvas tent that was equipped with a heater. To be honest we were a bit nervous that it was going to be too cold and brought about a half dozen extra blankets. To our surprise is was delightfully cozy. When we woke in the morning and stepped outside our attention did not go to that of the freezing weather but to the monstrous granite cliffs that sat above our heads.
It’s unreal how quickly your petty issues about what to wear and how much you pay on your phone bill go out the window when you stand at the foot of these mountain gods. This is my church. I am blessed to witness the sun cast it’s golden hue on these marvelous wonders.
When we arrived at Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks our hearts were romanced my the magnificent, giant Sequoia trees. Some of the oldest and largest living organisms on the planet. My mind couldn’t comprehend what those trees have seen. Rooted to the earth, some for over 3000 years. They have witnessed the earth shift, empires thrive and fail, experienced countless seasons, sunsets and fires and yet here I stood at their trunks, looking up at them. Common life didn’t seem so common anymore.
In the Grant Grove in Kings Canyon, there are hiking trails that take you through the magical wilderness of the Sierra Forest. Along the paths are several different kinds of pines, redwoods and the Sequoias. One in particular seemed to flag us down, not because the thing was gigantic, but because it had a transcendent way about it. I stood there for a minute with my hand on its trunk, talking to it as if I knew it could understand me. Thanking it. Afterwards I gave it a hug, I could feel the aliveness and a surge of energy radiating from the core of the tree.
It was if I was rebooted. I was reminded of my true nature, that I was just as much as part of the forest as that tree. When we are absent of the city streets, social media and the like, we find ourselves at peace in the void of those things. Realizing the only ‘like’ we really need is that of ourselves. The tree exists whether I am there are not, it stays grounded and continues to reach to the stars. It does not seek anything outside of itself to affirm that it is liked, it knows that it is an echoing reflection of the divine…
…and so am I and so are you.
Being in the mountains reminded me that these things we stress over, like how many people liked your Facebook post and if so-and-so talked shit about you, or if that girl’s purse is a knock off. Who the fuck cares. Life is not about those things.
Life is about real, juicy human connection. It’s about life experiences that have us feeling like a five year old in a bounce house filled with those rainbow colored plastic balls. It’s about feeling the sun on our faces and rain drops run down our spine.
It’s about cold mornings spent cuddled up in your bed with your lover (or dog). It’s about that song you just can’t help but dance too, regardless of who’s watching. It’s about loving yourself outrageously and having that love be so infectious that others can’t help but be inspired to love themselves. It’s about not giving a fuck about the material things, it’s about giving a damn about things that can change lives.
Just like John Muir said ‘the clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness” or maybe you are an ocean kind of person, either way, unplug from the prosaicness of our materialistic, media-stuffed society and spend time in nature. You may find more there than just a bunch of trees.