“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery; air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Thinking about what has been going on in my life, I would say that one of the best teachers to encourage me through the life journey, all the circumstances & twist paths is mostly the moment that took place in nature.
Went surfing in many wonderful spots around Bali and a few in Australia, went scuba diving in some spots around Indonesia, strolling the beaches in Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, went trekking with beautiful surroundings in Indonesia and Japan, all of them have left me feeling re-charged, happier, confident, balanced yet humble and tiny.
We all learn by exploring things on our own, reading stuff, receiving formal instructions from some experienced people and observing others. By interacting with others provides experiences that make us think, wonder, ask questions & grow.
But there is another powerful entity that can teach us how to live a more meaningful life. It’s the natural world. Not only to be able to observe and being amazed with what nature can offer to our eyes & soul, but it also can offer lessons for basic living about how to be calm and how to find balance during the life circumstances.
The problem these days is, since we have been occupied a lot with regular jobs that take most of our time and leave us tired & just wanted to do nothing for the rest of the free time, technology & pursuit things in the material world, we have forgotten that the world is out there to teach us.
We apparently don’t spend as much time outdoors as previous generations did. According to one of the surveys that I’ve read from theguardian.com , three-quarters of UK children spend less time outside, lack of green spaces and the lure of digital technology is leading youngsters to lead enclosed lives.
Here are some lessons I have observed from spending a lot of time outdoors;
Lesson #1 : We are very tiny & living in an unpredictable world. So let’s be humble.
When we reach the top of the hills or mountains, we notice that we are so tiny on this earth and the world is so big. Knowing that we can not do anything when natural disaster occurs as mother earth is very powerful. I have also learnt that not all questions have an answer. Anything could happen anytime, anywhere to anyone.
There are new challenges awaiting us around every single corner. All we can do is keep moving forward and do our best in every situation that occurs.
Lesson #2: We can’t control the situation but we can control ourselves and pick which ones to allow to get inside us. We learn how patience & persistence lead us to a better life.
During surfing, we can not stop the waves from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf. When we are impatient & want everything to happen fast, we decide to surf the random wave which comes first. We might be able to ride it but it won’t be amazing, won’t be that smooth and it may leaves us feel disappointed and get tired at the end.
On the other hand, if we are trying to be patient, keep paddling persistently and wait until one of the best waves come, it will give us a different result. We may wait a little longer and when it finally comes, we paddle hard, catch it and there you go! Ride it out, it’s all yours and leaves you pleased and satisfied at the end. Sounds familiar with the real world? Yes I bet 🙂 We learn to persist, be patient & focus in order to reach our desire and final goal.
Lesson #3: Nothing stays the same/ Nothing is permanent yet embrace the changes.
I can correlate the real life with scuba diving activity. Why I choose to relate it with my scuba diving sesh? Well, I have learnt about unpredictable life during these sessions. Let’s take a look from the simplest case, I have gone diving to the same spots like twice or three times. Yes, it shows the same corals, same situations but different fishes and different look of the sea plants.
I couldn’t predict what fishes I was going to meet, will they be good looking? worth seeing? I might meet my favorite fishes such as clownfish, butterflyfish, sunfish, surgeonfish, lionfish, shark and so on. I also might won’t see them all but I may witness another fishes which offer the better look that I can’t even imagine before. And the worst scenario, I won’t see anything at all but just some regular small fishes.
Same as life, when we want something and putting our mind into it, we hope for the best, do our best and let the universe handle the rest. We nevertheless need to prepare and be ready to accept the worst case that may occurs. And also we often experience things which better than our original plans/ expectations.
So don’t worry that some days in your life might seem all over the place, you’ve tried this and that but nothing concrete to see yet as the result. That you feel uncertain between careers, relationship, future and everything. Nothing is permanent neither problems in your life as you will find the answer along the way. It’s the model given us by nature. Drink it down, gulp it up, ride it out! Things will get better eventually as long you don’t stop trying and keep the faith.
Lesson #4: Sense of direction.
It is very easy to get lost in the beautiful outdoors. Nature will teach you to hold the clear images in your mind & keep track of where you are going. An example, we need to remember the sign, such as plants or building, right at the spot we enter the ocean to surf or to swim so we know where we will head back to the shore. As we know, once we enter the ocean, the strong current may drag us to another spot without we notice it. If that happens, we won’t be worry as we know where we come from.
Same as life, we need to be totally aware about who we are and where we come from. Once the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind or anything that may come near us, we don’t get easily influenced/ changed by the outside force as we know the way back to where we came from.
Lesson #5: There is a season and a right timing in everything.
Nature never gives up to teach us there is a season and the right timing in everything. Sometimes in our life we want some certain things to happen fast right now. It is hard to wait a little longer for the outcome of our actions that we’ve been making and we expect results immediately.
But the really good things in life are not like our morning instant coffee! They take time, patience, persistence and efforts. In mother nature’s natural cycles, hot & light summer is followed by the chill & colorful changes autumn and cold of winter is followed by the blossoming beauty of spring. There is a season and a reason for everything in life.
If we did not have the cold winter, the wheat wouldn’t be able to grow strong. The seeds planted beneath the soil lie waiting patiently to flourish in the right season. By following the example of mother nature’s timing, we increase our own capacity to be patient. All good things come with time. There is the right and special time in our own life for every moment and achievement. Start the action and don’t stop believing!
Lesson #6: Love is all around us & every ending can often be beautiful.
When you wake up in the morning, go outside with a sense of appreciation for all you have been blessed with, take a walk, practice quieting the mind, focusing on your breath and really pausing to smell the ocean, stop by the stunning rice fields, if a bird catches your eyes, stop and enjoy the connection with the animal, experience the depth & the calm of the blue ocean, feel the wind blows the chilling breeze on our face and you will realise there is so much beauty & so much love all around us, even from the simple things in our environment.
By simply taking the time to appreciate nature, we will learn to love the world around us. When we allow ourselves to feel love for life itself, it opens up our heart to loving ourselves and others as well.
Even though the outdoors is not always a comfortable place, but when you can find a deeper comfort that comes from inside you, you’ll be able to feel home even in the rough wilderness. And at the end of the day, when the stunning sunset shows up during golden hours to leave us feeling amazed & grateful, it teaches us that every ending can often be beautiful.
So, the conclusion is, nature is my best teacher of life when I pay attention to it carefully. Just try to do the same and see how it slowly changes your life..