The following is a guest post from Kyle Simpson.
Get Out! Realize a Visceral Connection to the Outdoors.
Have you ever wondered what it is that makes you enjoy curling your toes in the cool grass of a shady park or the surf of a sandy beach? Why are people so fascinated by watching the clouds drift by, or the leaves rustle in a breeze, or wild animals leaping through the springy undergrowth of a forest? And what is it about a thunderstorm, a desert sunrise, or a distant twister that makes us shiver in awe? Haven’t you ever noticed that despite your best efforts to blend into the bustle of a city, you constantly long for an escape from the concrete jungle? Whether we like it or not, humans have a visceral connection to the natural world around them. We fear the beasts that are stronger and faster than we are, we thrill at the sharp tang in the air that precedes an imminent storm, and the crash of waves is enough to lull us to sleep. The question is not why do we have these feelings, but rather, why do we deny them?
For many people, the struggle to simply survive in modern society is a weight that they are trained to carry. We may complain about the burden of working long hours to support the American dream of owning a house and having 2.5 kids, and we might rail against the many commodities we are expected to purchase as good little consumers, but for some reason, we continue to trudge along even as our backs bend, our spirits fade, and our role as herd beasts becomes an all-consuming reality. Of course, we relish the moments of freedom (a yearly vacation or weekend camping trips) that allow us to escape from the monotony of our everyday lives and breathe a little fresh air for a change, but these moments are sadly few and far between for most nine to five-ers.
Somehow we have gotten it into our minds that this is normal, that we are meant to live at odds with our surroundings. We have been trained to see the natural world as something to be conquered, owned, and manipulated. And yet, deep down, we know that our connection to nature and the almost spiritual reverence we feel at the sight of some uninhabited corner of the Earth is not something we are spoon-fed like every other bit of information we funnel in our fast-paced lives. No, our desire to experience something natural and pure, to be a part of the world around us, is deeply ingrained within our psyche from the moment we are born. And if we are wise enough to recognize it for what it is, a birthright that we all share, a promise that we all enjoy, and a responsibility that we can all embrace, then perhaps we can return to a time when joy in its purest form came not from the things we produce, but rather from the thing that produced us.
That is what waits for each of us outside the little boxes of our sheltered lives.