For the past ten days I have been tucked away in the woods, vacationing with my family. We spent a few days at the lake and then drifted down to beach country for more days of camping. Both places hidden by tall trees, green leaves, the sounds of nature, and peacefulness. Being in the woods, in nature, for ten days is a rejuvenating experience. The clean air, the removal of self from the hustle and bustle of reality, and the chance to stop and unwind is fulfilling and something we should all do occasionally.
As I camped I had a few thoughts that seemed interested. One is about our reality. Our grind. The rat race we find ourselves in. Many of us wake up with an alarm clock to start days at ridiculously silly hours of the night. Immediately upon arising, we jump into life full steam ahead. Not much for a moment of reflection or a place for Zen. Through the centuries we developed life into a routine so far from who we are as beings, it’s easy to see why we have troubles in mind, body, and spirit.
I brought a notepad to write in on my trip and a jump rope to do some exercise. I did neither. It was perfect. I removed myself as much as I could from the life I’ve created with business and goals and simply spent time being with my family. We didn’t care what was going on, we just lived. The more time I spent alone in the woods, the more I realized it’s exactly where we should be. Settled with giant trees towering above, bugs flying and playing and living, birds signing their favorite tunes, and raccoon’s trying to find a bite on the ground.
When you sit next to a camp fire you lose yourself in the flames and the hot red coals, hot enough to catch any timber on fire in an instant. Glancing into the flames pondering life is a natural past time for millions of years. Men used to hunt or fish and gather during the day and then come back to where family called home and completely remove themselves from anything by sitting near the open flames of relaxation.
Nowadays we do things similar. We work all day hunting and gathering a paycheck to come home and lose ourselves in the latest television shows or iPhone apps. We consume commercials after commercials and television shows that brainwash into believing more is better and they breed jealously within the mind. We want and want.
As I relaxed by the fire one day before we cooked a dinner on a cast iron pan above the open flames of a wood fire I was reading a book by David Hawkins. There was one line that fascinated me. He wrote ” The fewer the ‘wants’, the greater are the ease and satisfaction of life.” This spoke to me on many levels as I’ve been trying to eliminate most wants and instead to appreciate all that already have. The way most of life works in America is chasing the ego’s desire for more, better, and bigger. Instead of simply being grateful for the things we do have, we continue in the race for what we don’t. This causes much unnecessary stress, scheduling, debt, overtime, and more.
Being in the woods in a plain rustic cabin I began to appreciate the simplicity. No fancy gadgets, no television or appliances, no rushing through the day from one thing to the next. Basic at the core, perfect as a whole. Satisfied with so little.
Spending time in the woods should be on everyone’s schedule. If you can’t make it happen, or you dislike camping, then find a beach to go to or a park and take your shoes off and embrace the Earth energy. Listen to the sounds around you. Appreciate the simple life of insects, animals, and lizards. Thoreau once wrote “Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” You can find that truth in the woods.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden