“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
— John Muir
As we fight with the insanity of daily life, struggling to understand who we are in this crazy world, wrapped up in day to day issues with family, work and life in general, we often lose touch with who we are.
We lose touch with where we came from and where we are going.
We lose touch with our sense of purpose, our goals and dreams in life.
We lose touch with how we can best deal with our own emotions, and the feelings of love for others around us.
We even lose touch with how important we are to others and forget the value of having empathy for others we may not even know. Let alone the importance of protecting our wilderness, natural resources and our understanding of how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things.
We spend hours each day looking at our computers and mobile devices often totally oblivious of the world around us. We disconnect from reality only to find ourselves awash in a digital world. If we lose electrical power, or our devices are lost or broken, we to are lost, and jolted into an unstable and often disconnected world wondering what to do with ourselves. We have gone that far away from who we really are, we have lost touch with the spark, the spirit of ourselves. We have cluttered it up and piled it on with often useless bits of information that will mean nothing days, weeks or years from now.
What kind of life is that?
The above quote from the great Scottish-American naturalist John Muir reminds us that sometimes we need to leave our treadmill of a life, to get away from our lives by getting out into nature and keeping its beauty close to our hearts. To literally “wipe our spirit clean.”
I’ve said this many times before to friends and in blog posts, until you experience it, going for a hike in the woods, climbing a mountain, enjoying a beautiful sunrise or sunset in a peaceful place, you can’t appreciate the moment of quality and gratitude for the world around us until you do. And until you experience that wonder of our natural world, you can’t experience who you are and where you, and all of us really come from.
Everything, after a walk, a climb or a week in nature brings a new found appreciation of what was here long before us and will likely be here long after we are gone. But in the moment, the experience of nature can profoundly expand our awareness of ourselves and where we are in the world. It can help us focus on what is really important to us. To shine a light of the value the people and things in our lives in a very conscious way.
We find, when we really, deeply experience the beauty nature can provide, we find we have an ability to disconnect from our apparently significant, material, for profit world, and focus on values that are far more important than to strive for what I like to call, chasing the “Golden Squirrel,” ie… wealth, fame, life. They, like squirrels, are seen but elusive, often are not as valuable to our souls and spirit as we thought they could be should we have had a moment of good fortune. For like all life, the Golden Squirrels value is fleeting, always making you want more, never satisfied with your life, always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else.
In this sense, as John Muir wanted us all to understand, that “it is worth saving the American soul from total surrender to materialism,” by becoming connected and deeply in touch with nature, and thus, ourselves.
So get out there, get connected to nature, and thus to the value of saving it and ourselves… from a world gone mad.