Conscious Content: breathing

Flipping the Coin: Why Nature Doesn't Heal

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Flipping the Coin: Why Nature Doesn't Heal

By: Alice Bellini

Take a fish and keep him in a tiny splash of water ever since he’s born. He will be on the verge of choking his whole life. He won’t even know swimming exists. A sense of frustration and anxiety will accompany him everyday. In a word, he won’t be a fish.

And even if he is “lucky enough” to live in a fish tank, he won’t be able to experience streams, corals and sands, nor all the other species of fishes and living beings that are meant to surround him. Storms and sunlight. Freedom of choice. He will never develop resilience, nor the capacity to believe in himself against fear and adversities. He won’t be able to eat properly. He will struggle against a complete disconnection. Almost certainly, he will never be able to be at peace with himself, because he’ll spend his life figuring out why he’s not happy in that splash of water, or in that fish tank. Why he’s not good enough and strong enough to feel and be calm and happy.

Then take that fish and put him into the ocean. All of a sudden, he feels, and he feels good. Connected, at peace, fulfilled. So he’ll believe the sea has a healing power, when it actually was all the rest of his life that was sickening.

Likewise, we believe nature has a healing power, when it actually is society as we know it––made of consumerism, judgments and corporate ladders––that have the power to take our humanity away, disconnect, drain and anesthetize us. Eventually, make us sick.

Distraction is one of the greatest tools of control, after all. Calling things the wrong way. Distorting our reality.

So when we experience nature, it’s not healing we feel, but rather what life is really meant to be. We go back to our roots, we discover the chance of being grateful and focused on the present moment; we become human again and we just feel plain good. In a word: authentic.

Conscious Content: Mountain Trail

We start to make more conscious choices, we embrace our vulnerability, our limits and our mortality, because we suddenly realize they allow us to feel love, express kindness, be curious and explore the world. They allow us to live in a dimension that is way more appropriate for us. Actually, they allow us to live.

We all equally experience that, because nature is in our guts.

So if we start calling things with their proper name and if we really find a power to nature, then that’s just the capacity of being unmistakably ourselves. Not trying to be something different just to be liked, approved or shared. We don’t demand invincibility, immortality or perfection. Everything is just as it is. Here and now. Breathing and being. No distractions, no instruments of control, hence freedom.

If we don’t know where to start, we can start from ourselves: aren’t we nature too, after all? We are not superior, nor owners. We are not something apart. We are fully and gratefully part of this planet. If you observe the outside, you will find many great correspondences and teachings about the inside, and the other way around: that’s what they mean when they say we are one with the universe, like everything else.

We too have a role, we too serve a purpose. The less human we are, running after unnatural and unrealistic fabrications, the more we’ll experience and breed shame. The reason why we constantly feel we are not something enough is that we are not in the right environment. You don’t expect a fish to feel adequate, happy and healthy outside of water, do you?

Conscious content - water breaking over rocks

The reason why we feel so disconnected and always craving something we’ll never obtain is because we are not tuning into the right frequencies. A lion will never be at peace if he tries to live the life of a computer, or that of a superhero. If he’s after immortality, if he poisons himself a bit everyday. Perfection is not the purpose.

Diversity teaches us that there are many different ways and points of view, we just have to find the one we resonate with the most. Embrace our nature and become humans.

Does this mean we all have to go back to living in caves and giving up on our creativeness, never invent anything and stop being animals with critical minds? Of course, not at all. It means to choose to use our tools properly. We, differently from all other animals, can be aware of ourselves and develop thoughts and actions consciously. We can name what we feel. We can choose, but most importantly we know that we can. So the way we use our brain, and our products and our means, that’s what makes the difference, that’s what allows us to be one change or the other. That’s what makes us men-men instead of machine-men, as Charlie Chaplin would call them.

Conscious Content - Mountain Top

To cultivate our awareness is vital. Of course there are many ways to do it. Mindfulness is one. But if none of them convinces you and if you don’t know where to start, then start from being aware that you breathe and that that’s what makes you alive. That’s the first exchange you have with the rest of the world, that’s the first sign you are here and now. Inhale. Exhale. Feel the air. Acknowledge your presence and your present moment. You don’t need an hour, you don’t need any particular equipment, you don’t need anything else but yourself, like every other living being on this planet.

By breathing, you’ll just connect. And there the human journey begins, toward a more mindful and conscious way of exploring the world. It’s a first step, on probably what will be the greatest of expeditions.

Nature doesn’t have a healing power, she teaches and involves, that’s what she does. She demonstrates the obvious, if we are willing to see it.

Embrace and accept. Show up, collaborate, experience the present moment. Nature has the power of coherence, of being the change she wants to see, of recognizing the important things.

The moment we understand that, we’ll flip the coin. We’ll initiate a culture of gratitude and mindfulness, of sharing, belonging and living authentically. We’ll stop consuming and we’ll start using. We’ll cease fear and we’ll start coexistence. We’ll inspire instead of compete. We’ll stop perfecting and we’ll start embracing.

We’ll become humans.

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Staying Mindful in the City

By Conscious Adventurist Admin

Staying Mindful in the City

It is early morning. It is a perfect, silent morning which holds the cool air like two cupped hands. The street in front of the porch is perfectly still. The robins sweep the morning beneath their wings as they huddle on the dewy grass, plucking worms from the dirt. The finches gather in quiet bunches in the bushes, engrossed in a soft chatter.

In just three hours, Pittsburgh will come to life. In just three hours the students will emerge from their crummy apartments and trudge to class along the hectic streets of the urban university campus. The commuters will begin their drone along Fifth Avenue and Forbes Avenue. The air will fill with the whirs of sirens and the heavy hum of medivac helicopters landing on the local hospital rooftops.  

But for these three hours, from 6 am to 9 am, I am at perfect peace. I am alone on the front porch with a ceramic mug filled with hot tea and a heavy black Moleskine notebook. These are my hours. This is my time.

When I lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the early hours were my meditations. I spent as much time as I could every morning hauling up the words from the depths and tossing them on the page in any way possible. At the time I didn't know it was a mindfulness practice, but what else would you call the careful and studied observance of your world every single morning?

I am a writer and so I watched and listened and smelled and tasted what every day was like. I wrote it all down. If I could see my breath one morning in September, I wrote that down. If the geese were headed south, honking along in their steady chains, I wrote that down too. If I was stressed or anxious or uncertain about my life, I wrote that down as well. It was a daily mindfulness practice I barely realized I was participating in.

Observe the world, release tension, begin the day.

At the time, I lived with six other people. As soon as the sun broke open over the hills, the commotion began. The day would begin and music was already blasting, friends were laughing, someone was yelling up to the third floor, and this is the way it went each day like so many long and rattled sighs.

The city itself was loud in the way white noise is loud –– always there, humming in the background, barely noticeable until someone turns it off. My mornings writing on the front porch or at my desk by the window were the moments where I could turn the city off. If I listened closely I could hear the blood rushing behind my ears. If I sat long enough, I would notice the sound of the pen scratching over the paper. If I could be disciplined enough to pull myself from my bed before the sun was up and watch the subdued mornings crawl along to hectic afternoons, then I had succeeded.

On days that felt particularly dense and muddled, I would wander off into a nearby park and walk the limestone paths and count my breaths. Five big, slow breaths to descend the stone steps into the park. Four big breaths to get to the little stone bridge. Another couple dozen breaths until the path turned and dropped down into the creek. Several more until the steep hill. A handful of quick breaths ascending and then a deep sigh out upon reaching the top of the trail.

I was breathing and writing and trying so hard to be present, and I barely knew what I was accomplishing. Like so many people, I often felt that I could not be mindful or conscious of my connection to the world if I did not get out of the city and move into the tall mountains and uninhabited forests. I didn't know yet how wrong I was.

Two years ago I moved to Boulder, Colorado and thought now I can begin my life. But two years in and I've learned that no matter how close you are to the mountains and glacial lakes and serene aspen groves, your life begins when you take daily control of it. It doesn't matter where you are. Those mornings with my cup of tea, in a bustling urban center, on the edge of a massive university, were some of the most present and fulfilling mornings of my life.


Anja Semanco

Writer & Explorer

@ansemanco

 

Anja is a professional freelance writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and appears in such places as Terrain.org and Zoomorphic magazine. She is passionate about the environment and getting women outdoors. 

Anja Semanco

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