There’s something about nature that reminds you how small a speck you are amongst the universe. I don’t say that to demean our human species; we are incredibly dexterous creatures, capable of much physically, mentally, and emotionally in our own unique ways. I actually find the disparity between the world’s vastness and our smaller scopes exciting, even comforting – to know that we are enveloped by such greatness.
Sitting on the shore, ocean waves softly crashing in and then slipping away, it takes me some time to discard my outer, grittier layers of city life. Lucky for me, the repetitive rhythm the ocean’s crests create soothes my being without my even realizing it. With this gradual surge of quiet in my mind and body comes a deeper connection to the earth, as if we had been sewn together. Or maybe it’s actually an unraveling of the thread that ties us so aggressively to the tracks of our personal, human-filled lives.
As the weekend passed and I felt myself plunging further into Nature’s arms with my walks across shore rocks and my meditative rests alongside the ocean depths, I found myself considering the origin of it all. The magnificent intelligence of the natural world’s ways is astounding, especially when you take a moment to be immersed in it. My inhales and exhales began to sync with the rush of the water on and off the shore. The stars shooting across the sky brought to light the spectrum of time alive in our universe. Discovering the what, hows, and whys of each event in the universe seems impossible; there is just so much happening, and with such mysterious logic behind it. Sitting with the ocean, I was reminded of my yoga practice – how our time on the mat offers us a chance to dive into unknowns just like these natural, environmental ones.
Milan Kozanek, a contemporary dance teacher of mine, bases his classes around the Zen principle ‘ you don’t know’. It’s a beautiful way to approach dance, and life really, because there is so much potential that we can tap into that we more than likely have never imagined. When we transfer this mantra to our mats, we can work from a more present place, rather than from a predestined chain of events. If we transfer this thought to our time in nature, we can absorb what we meet and interact with it on a more honest, easy level; we don’t need to figure it out. Wisdom can come simply from listening. What may seem like a more passive act actually can be an incredibly active, enlightening enterprise. Simply being can divulge much.
I recently was advised to replace ambition with curiosity, and I love this suggestion because I find it promotes a notion of life as laboratory versus life as graded test. Taking days, or even just moments, away from our busy schedules is necessary. The freedom to be augments our senses and sensibility and initiates a state of inquisitiveness, which carries us into a more flavorful life.
Breaking out of my daily mold always manages to position my life choices before me. Retreats to Cape Cod, afternoons spent in an art exhibit, boisterous moments with friends and family help me find my curious side once more, that part of me that desires, more than all else, to live a life full of diverse, intoxicating experiences that drive me forward towards more discoveries, again and again.
What desires and goals do your moments away bring?
- Liz Beres