Reconnect to Mother Nature: Pachamama
Remember when you were in elementary school, and learning about the planets was exciting? So far 2012 has been full of astronomical happenings – the Mars rover just landed in Gale Crater; the first of three eclipses occurred in May; the transit of Venus moved like a speck across the Sun. I won’t claim to be an expert in astrology or astronomy, but one need not be a genius to notice a theme here: planets, space, and exploration, wonder.
To our early human ancestors, it mattered what time the sun rose and set. Their circadian rhythms flowed with the ebb and flow of day and night. Darkness fell and they gathered together around the glow of a campfire and passed down oral traditions, mesmerized by the dance of the flames. They woke with the light of a new day and their brains developed as their body took on an active role of partnership in their survival.
For years as a personal fitness trainer in big cities I trained clients who were so plugged in they couldn’t fall asleep at night without popping a pill. They came to their workouts with smart phones in hand fearful that their own client or boss would beckon at any moment. I asked if they noticed the full moon the night before and they looked at me like I’d lost my mind – or worse – like I’d walked straight off the set of The Beverly Hillbillies (ok, some of you may be too young for that one)!
Finally I burned out on the routine and left the buzz of urban life in my own pursuit of greater health and wellness. I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect places around the world to reconnect with Mother Nature and our own bodies. Now I guide others who hunger for a week, a day, even a few hours, to slow down, unplug, and tap into the ancient rhythms of our ancestors and simply feel better.
I woke up early this morning on the Utah/Arizona border in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and looked out at the sunrise over Lake Powell. Rays of orange sunlight reflected off the water and against the clouds above. The air was still, the water smooth as glass. I took my stand up paddleboard and headed out for a morning meditation on the water, surrounded by cliffs revealing 250 million years of geologic history. I felt the support of Pachamama, the feminine energy that is water and earth, a belief shared by many indigenous cultures around the world.
Suddenly it hit me that I have reclaimed what I was searching for! My heart swelled and I felt a big smile of understanding appear on my face. My quest isn’t as much about any one particular place as it is to maintain lifestyle that celebrates the joy of human motion in connection with Mother Nature. I realized that I feel most healthy and connected to the universe when I live like it matters.
What does it mean to live like it matters? You outdoor athletes already know. I mean that it matters:
- What time the sun rises and sets so I make it off the mountain before dark
- Where the roads have a wide shoulder so I can cycle for hours
- When the tide comes in so I can catch – or in my case, dodge – the waves
- Where the food is local instead of trucked in and shrink-wrapped in plastic
- With a community that shares my values of a healthy, active lifestyle
- Where the winter storms create white wonderlands of outdoor exploration
I’m convinced that the quest to share an encounter with Mother Nature lives in us all. No matter where we make our homes or perform our work it matters that we take an occasional time-out to reconnect with the sources of the natural that feed our souls and resonate with our DNA. The extent of human activity cannot and should not be restricted to the confines of an indoor gym or Yoga studio, but must, for our very survival, embrace the wonder and majesty of our body as an integral part of the Creation.
My search for the ‘perfect place’ may take on a new meaning after my latest revelation. This gypsy life takes its toll after all. Tell me where living like it matters is for you!