There is a “place” called “nowhere”. Some call it “limbo”…between here and there. Between good and bad. We’ve all been there…it’s not a good place. Usually, we are looking for this “place” to get away from stress.
More is being learned every day about how tension – emotional stress – is bad for both your mind and body. Doctors are now prescribing relaxation training and walking in nature as part of treatment intervention for reducing stress, relieving pain and helping to control sickness and work-induced burnout.
When the mind is stressed, by anxiety or anger, for example, the body responds. There are rises in the metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and muscle tension. Hormones pour out to ready you for action. This can then become a critical element in your relationships, work…life in general.
How do you escape the stress? How about traveling? The truest kind of travel is always inward. What we seek when we journey is a break not just from home, but also from habits. Travel can be sedative as much as stimulant. A day doing nothing at all can be the most satisfying of all. A day away from “work”. As Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.” Sometimes, to “escape”, it’s the illusion of isolation that we are after. Just to catch our breath, to clear our head, to go to a different landscape in our mind.
Civilization, our day-to-day environment, is complex and ambiguous. Problems may have no solution, only lesser-or-evils alternatives. Our minds cloud and groan with the load.
Exercise relieves arthritis pain, menopausal problems, clinical depression…so much more. Moderate exercise also increases the circulation of natural killer cells, T-cells and immunoglobulins that protect our bodies against foreign invaders. It can increase HDL (good cholesterol). It also makes you less likely to gain weight, increases insulin sensitivity in the muscles, and lowers the risk of forming blood clots. Just a half hour of moderate exercise like walking, biking, or swimming can lower your risk of dying almost as much as a regimen of vigorous exercise.
You know what is the absolute best thing to do? Visit Mother Nature. Mother Nature offers us solace. TAKE A HIKE! It’s good for you
I once visited the Grand Canyon and was amazed at the wonder of it all. Surrounded by this natural chasm, I looked out and then down. And I connected with it in a way that surprised me. A void, surrounded by protective ‘skin’. And there it was.
We are all born alone. Some of us immediately feel a void, something missing, a huge hole. As the very young Elvis Presley once shared with me, he felt a void inside and didn’t know why. We talked about it, and I asked him if it was because he missed his twin brother, who had been stillborn. Maybe.
I have often felt that void, an emptiness of sorts. And for me, traveling and appreciating the beauty of nature has always kept me connected, filling a void if you will.
If a genie could grant you three wishes, would one of them to be to travel to a place that would ‘stir your senses, touch your imagination at its core’, a place of such wonder and beauty that it would affect you so much that you would be changed?
Sound like a dream? I thought so, until I traveled to the outbacks of Sedona, Arizona, stepping out and away from the cluttered work and touching base with my inner self.
Hiking in nature is true succor for the mind and body, healing sights and sounds and sensations, stored in your memory where they can be recalled a thousand times. The virtue of any trip is that it enables you to see the things you thought you knew in a radically different light. When Thoreau went to the woods around Walden, he came back with the conviction that poverty was wealth and solitude good company, that the laws that made the most sense to him were a precise inversion of the ones around him. And that is how it feels when you’re surrounded by nature, the woods or the ocean. This is the “real world”, not in the office, or at least this is where “real world” can take place.
For some, nature can be a return trip, a return to something priceless, more a confirmation than a discovery, and more a recollection than a realization. You will find in nature…everything you want.
There are too many complacent people in this world who need to get out and look at real life for a change and stop breathing in the same, stale ideas. They live in work in ‘buildings’, where on Friday, they breathe the same air that went through their lungs on Monday. It seems today’s super-rush-to-survive American Society is nourishing our minds less than it used to.
The luxuries nature offers are silence and space. The amenities include an absence of telephones, television and news, freedom from concern. Far from everything you know, surrounded by nothing save stillness and critters and blue sky. You can be taken far out of your workaday self and into a self as wide as space.
Eyes closed, you can rethink your life, recall the things you love, see the things that matter, move toward the things that move you. Just a couple of days in nature, underneath the sky can take you far away from your routine and return you to the world reborn.
When I return from nature, I feel so lit up and cleaned out and exalted, that the smallest reminder of the world hits me with a thump. Yet, the need for stillness and for slowness becomes evermore pressing as the world grows ever more intrusive and revved up.
Every once in a while, a humbling experience is good for the soul. I found the silence of stone and brilliant light of the desert sun to be one spot where human significance shrinks to the vanishing point.
It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you go. The idea is to discover the beauty of Mother Nature, not to conquer it but to be at peace with it. Introduce yourself to quiet places, listen to the birds, smell the flowers, touch the earth, watch the sunset.
Thank you for reading another true story from my life. For more information, see my About Page.