In the last week I have gone from the great mountains in the South of France to palm fringed beaches in the Indian Ocean.
A mighty transition but a lesson in adjustment and the opportunity to stay open, tune in and allow the feelings of anxiety that can accompany long distance travel and unknown journeys to freely flow. (Except these days travelling gives me a sense of peace rather than trepidation, rather like putting on a comfortable pair of old slippers)
My time in the Alps came to fruition with a deep love of snowboarding. I’m not a fan of adrenalin, being a sensitive person, I struggle with that extra energy coursing through my veins and am not equipped to feeling comfortable being out of control. But by giving myself time and space to learn gently and gradually meant I could progress at my own speed. Soon enough I found my competitive nature coming forth and placidity being replaced by goal orientation. It was me that insisted I went on my first black run in my final week, and 3 on my final day. Blacks represented everything I found challenging on the slopes - steep gradients, looming cliffs, moguls and experienced skiers; yet the challenge was fun and not overwhelming. And as my fondness of the mountains seeps into my bones and my experience integrates, I find myself once again surrounded by coconuts and reef breaks.
This is my third time in Sri Lanka, and somehow it feels like a home from home. It is home to an abundance of wildlife - turtles, monkeys, elephants - inhabiting exotic rainforest on this teardrop shaped jewel in the Indian Ocean. I went from pure white to lush green in just 24 hours, sometimes air travel just blows my mind.
At one time in Sri Lanka rainforests consisted of over 26% of the land area, however today only 2% is left of forest cover. Hence it is no surprise that all rainforests in the island have been declared protected areas with Sinharaja designated as a World Heritage site. http://www.jetwingtravels.com/about-sri-lanka/popular-destinations/rainforests/
Nature is wondrous. Our nature is flawed. (Look at our devastation on rainforest ecosystems) But that is ok, we are just human beings, learning to "be" in a world that convinces us we have to do or be something (else, bigger, stronger, different, better) to matter.
As I adjust back into the healing power of salt water and take time to play in the peeling right handers on my rainbow log, I ponder how blessed I am to be free to experience different regions, habitats and cultures - and such a rich tapestry of life.
Life in Sri Lanka is simple. Most of the local people are struggling to survive, create business and support themselves; but deeply rooted in them is a sense of acceptance and joy. I don’t think I have ever heard them complain. Even when describing the devastating loss they experienced during the 2004 tsunami. Their family structure is wide and all encompassing, just one smile can make you feel like a long lost relative.
And it is here I reconnect with teaching surfing and yoga, work on environmental initiatives and plan my upcoming “Nurture Through Nature” workshop series.
The ancient yogis took inspiration from all they saw in nature, to bring them enlightenment about their own purpose, pathway and prana. Buddha discovered the root of all suffering when he sat underneath the Bodhi tree, grounded in his experience of illusions before waking up to the truth of his existence.
In modern day life, where distraction, technology and communication rules, we can feel disconnected from nature and the clarity it brings - I certainly do if I cannot see or feel mountains, sea or forest for very long.
Whereas the truth is that we are always in nature and part of it. Even situated in the innermost cityscape or stationed on the tallest skyscraper - nature is all around.
The duality that nature is all encompassing yet we still have our individual-ness, our own personal experience and perspective of the world, is something to be understood experientially and developed through awareness.
What is also true is that nature flows, powered by and towards love, always with abundance. Where there is wind on the ocean swell is created. Where there are clouds and freezing temperatures snow will fall. Where there is sunlight, earth and water a seed will grow.
There are no stories or projections that accompany these creations, shifting movements or the turning of the tides. They just are. Yoga lies at this source, it worships the great Brahman and acknowledges that we too are of nature and in it, yet still distinctive and separate - the Atman. We are eternal, flowing, abundant and full of love. Continually expanding in our consciousness of who we are.
It’s not just air travel that blows my mind.
Come and explore these themes of nature’s gifts and how they reflect in our own nature in May/June in the Nurture through Nature Workshop Series @ KaliMukti Yoga Studio, Jersey, Channel Islands.
Photo by Mike C @ www.nomadsontheroad.com