Nature has always been a huge part of my life. I was born in a small country town in the rainforests of Queensland and I know deeply that I have always had a strong connection with nature. The following is a story that my Mum has shared with me about growing up in the country.
When I was a two-year-old child the yard around our home was defined by where Mum mowed to. Outside of where she mowed the grass was very long and she said that she never worried about me leaving the mowed area, as I really didn’t like the long grass.
However this day – yes, somewhere there are photos to prove it – I had wandered into the long grass to sit under a horse and scratch her belly. Somehow I knew even then that this was a gentle horse and that she would not hurt me.
However, somewhere between being this very connected two year old and my teen years, something changed within me and even though I still loved to spend time in nature, much of this was because I wanted to escape my everyday life.
As a teenager, I rode horses. This was really quite an amazing thing, because as a child aged about 7 years I fell off a horse and was quite scared of them and didn’t show much interest in learning to ride until I spent the weekend with a friend who was absolutely horse mad. On this weekend I got a taste of the freedom that I felt when I was riding and this inspired me to push down my fear – that I might add was always with me – and learn to ride.
I know now that to do this, I had push down these feelings of fear by choosing to ignore how I felt, making my body numb with hardness. I forced myself to learn how to ride and as I write this I can feel that hardness in my body still. Little did I know it then, but by doing this I then set in motion a way of being, a built-in protective mechanism, that I had to ‘harden-up’ to cope with my life and to get things done.
I can say that in these years of my life I had an extremely gentle, trustworthy horse and while riding him I didn’t feel afraid: however, on every other horse I always did. But the reason that I rode was simply to escape my life for a moment. If you had asked me why I rode as a teen I would have said I enjoyed doing it, yet now I can feel the truth and even though I did enjoy riding, I did it to get out of cleaning my room, or helping with the housework or to simply be away from the house for the day. But most especially to feel the exhilaration of riding, as when I felt this I felt that I was special; that I was enough.
As I began to move through my life, the way in which I used nature to escape and disconnect changed. I had two beautiful children and riding was now not an option. From this moment in my life I began to walk instead, as I could push the pram and head off.
What I realise now though, is that both of these activities were done from a deep belief that I was not enough in my life and I simply used nature as a moment to not feel how I was feeling. It always felt so much better after and during riding or walking, that it was like a drug for me.
I walked every chance I could get. Yet never once did it enter my head that my life could be as equally enjoyable, so never once did I begin to address the things in my life that were making me feel quite depressed and that I was not enough in the first place.
Over the past few years though, this has changed; I am finding that I am feeling more like the two year old again. I have an innate trust in my body and what I feel, so my true connection with nature is again there for me to explore and enjoy, only now I feel deeply that I am as equally grand as the trees, the earth, the rivers, the creeks, the oceans. And when I am still in nature I can feel me in it and it in me.
My walks in nature are now a part of my day, and if I am having a moment of trouble, simply walking in nature reminds me of who I truly am. As I watch the trees bend and move as the wind blows, going with the flow of the day, yet not changing what they are, I am reminded of the same for myself.
Nature is solid, full and steady, as am I. In feeling this, it is clear to me that some of the behaviours that I have chosen are not actually coming from the true nature of who I am. These behaviours are not solid and steady and often they are fickle and picky and are ways of being that are niggling, reinforcing the lie that I am not enough.
As I take stock and grasp fully these understandings as they arise, and make the necessary changes, there are times when I can feel tossed about a little, just like the trees in the wind, yet at the end of the day I am still me. The support I feel in nature is not grandiose or something I need. It is simply something that is, like many things in life, offered to us; it is then up to us to rise in equalness to the support that is present.
I would like to thank Adele Leung for writing “A True Relationship with Nature”, as reading this has inspired me to write about my own connection with nature.
By Leigh Strack, Receptionist/Esoteric Healing, Eungella, Queensland