The nature challenge

The nature challenge

The bright sunlight slowly starts to make its way through the thick clouds. I shiver as the rays are beginning to warm me. The small breeze makes it cold. I stand underneath the trees in a small forest close to Hilversum. ‘I must have been here for at least five hours’ my mind is thinking as I carefully look at the position of the sun in the sky. My red coloured yoga mat in front of me is carefully positioned at a naturally curved hole in the ground, perfect to lay down comfortably. A bit further away my bike and bag. My eyes rest on the front pocket. My flatmates’ phone is in there. So close. Ready to give me the knowledge I desire: the time.

That is what I am waiting for. The time to leave this beautiful natural space with all its small insects and plants. I discovered this morning that with silence and peace, the smallest things in the world can create an enormous sense of richness in life. Watching at least five different caterpillars, doing their own business to survive in this ‘harsh’ environment. I must have been looking for more than half an hour until my arms really struggled to gain proper blood flow. This wonderful spectacle of survival plays its most beautiful play in a space of just half a square meter; completely detached from this gigantic world around. It is the richness of details that struck my heart. Those little ants, flies, and caterpillars not bothered by the outside world but just busy to survive.  

The task at hand is simple: leave everything but a bottle of water, go to nature, choose a spot, and sit there for 8 hours. Simple but tricky as the mind knows its weak points: boredom and loneliness. It starts to protest just as it does with meditation. “This cannot be useful. We can do it a little shorter right. This is too extreme. Maybe later”. Deep down you feel it is the right thing to do and to experience. A new perspective, overcoming the tricky nature of the mind, connecting deeply with yourself, experiencing the process of letting go.

I lay down on my yoga mat. “It has begun” I think. As easy as that. A spot that is suitable but not perfect. I would have dreamed it another way, but the thing is: it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. The desire is there for sure but sometimes the time and space are not handing you the conditions you most desire. You have to deal with it. I feel the tiredness rising from within, as if buried from the last few days. I give in and relax. “Not so bad just laying down here”.

The hours pass by with thoughts, dreams, future desires, past events bubbling up from my deep unconscious mind. This silence and peace create a strong foundation for it to appear. Mostly positive or neutral things from my year of travel. So much has happened and many things I feel, still need some more processing. I am in full development. Figuring out my deepest feelings of joy, fear, sadness, and inspiration. In moments I can feel how a strong sense of joy, on what I have become, is rising from deep within my soul. Profound and no doubt about anything. It is if I know that this is precisely where I should be in my life.

I shiver. The sun is behind a cloud and the cold wind blows in my face. The uncomfortable feeling shakes me out of my daydreams. I get up and feel the unrest rising from within. I start to walk three meters forward and 3 meters back. It keeps me warm and helps me to deal with a strong unease in my body. All of my attention absorbed by the cold feeling. Imagining the feeling of a hot shower and some delicious warm food. I keep on looking to the front pocket of my bag. I start to carefully listen if the alarm sound is already audible. I constantly look at the sky and make calculations on what time it should be. “Why is this alarm not sounding, is the phone on silence?”. A long time passes until I just cannot bear it anymore. Enough is enough. I reach out to my bag and flip out the phone. A missed alarm an hour ago… time to leave this place!

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