nature connection

Living a simple life

There is this beautifully rich, and connected life we can live in our natural wilderness. It feels so much like home. Simultaneously the earth has been turning and another world has been created by us – our modern life with lights, concrete and noise. These two worlds seem utterly different and we have our ties to both of them. So how can we find balance and connection instead of separation?

My name is Elena, and almost a year ago I came out of an experience that changed my life. I spent a year living on the land in the Great Lakes region in Wisconsin with a small group of people connecting to ancestral land-based ways of living. Since then, I’ve been trying to integrate two different worlds – the ancient and the modern. How can I live in the natural rhythms and function in modernity? Sometimes that question feels hard to reconcile.

Life in the forest is simply beautiful. When it gets cold at night, I make a fire to be warm. When it gets dark, tiredness creeps into my limbs, so I sleep. When it rains, I search for shelter to keep my layers dry. When I’m hungry, I go out fishing. And if it’s too windy to go out on the water? Well, I guess I will eat only greens today. The fish will be even more tasty the next day. I do everything I can to be comfortable. These are the daily choices that make me feel alive. Comfort is the key to being out in the bush for longer periods of time.

Returning to our modern world and having all the comforts available at all times, I realized I needed to practise the opposite – to get out of comfort. My human laziness traps me into the warmth that four walls and a wood stove provide. I feel resistance to lighting a bow drill fire outside. The times when I manage to overcome this self inertia and give life to a coal, I can invite my people to a hot burning fire under a starlit sky. I feel alive again — connected.

There are many ways we can create this connection of getting out of comfort in our day-to-day modern living. But first you have to allow yourself to feel the raw emotions that accompany discomfort and that make the whole body radiate. Try letting your stomach grumble before feeding it. Only then a rich meal will light up your soul. Choose stillness and solitude to allow sadness and grief to surface. Share and be witnessed in these emotions. Stop modernity’s ‘always doing’ mode, experience what comes out of you and if it’s nothing for a while, that’s ok too. Speak from the heart and be vulnerable. See and be seen. Connect to the taking and giving that grants us our existence.

These are some of my practices which connect me to ancestral living. That’s how we used to live. That’s how I feel most alive. What do you do to feel alive?

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