last week we got out in nature, all week. which is always a soulful experience, made even sweeter this time, that lockdown restrictions were lifted and we were able to venture far. to be in amongst it all. to soak up the mountains and be by the sea and be in it all, switched on to our surroundings.
we planned to be in dony our volkswagen van for the week, however he was getting some tlc in the garage and wasn’t ready. instead we took the car and packed the tent. another form of soaking it up outdoors….a little more outdoors.
we went up to the north of scotland, towards durness. the coast is amazing, all white sands and turquoise blue seas. I know right, in scotland? wild. but trust me, it’s idyllic. as you head east from durness, towards beaches, you creep along the cliff edges with steep climbs down to the sea, where sheep cling in ease and softness. we found a beach to camp at and set up facing the sea. the coast, the edge. where it all feels calm and real and easy. where you can catch your breath deep down into your lungs.
it feels pretty wonderful being in nature, in this way, survival as your main concern. fully focused on what’s needed when. shelter. food. movement. stillness. I realise it sounds like we were in absolute wilderness, with no resources. we weren’t. but we found a piece of nature to call our own, to respect and took what we needed so we didn’t have to rely on anything else for a couple of days.
and sometimes that’s all we need, right? when we’re all working, and living, and doing all the life stuff as we think we should do or could do and have to. and we’re talking and communicating and all the fluffy, complicated stuff that can come with that. but then you find a place to do less of this, a place to talk less, think less, (or more but differently) a place to switch off to things that distract us and switch on to being in the minute and the surroundings, to just being in the moment. we find a place to be. here. and doesn’t this feel so nice? to exist in space and expansiveness around us and hear the sounds and smell the air.
in my yoga classes recently, I’ve been teaching the sutra of apraigraha; of non – attachment. this can be approached in many different ways. but I like to think of it as this idea that we can detach ourselves from things that make us feel disconnected from ourselves and nature. to detach from external things that fluff us up, from things we don’t need, from things that can, esp in excess or long term, distract us from our natural state of being. we practice yoga and breathing and movement to to get back to ourselves without the fluff. to feel full and soft and at ease and calm. to breathe from this place and fully feel that breath as we are in our centre. then we can approach the world again from this place and choose better, softer, lighter ways of being. we can aim, through practice, to keep this close to us, in the centre of our being.
aprigraha can be practiced and found in nature. sometimes it’s not needed at great length or seeking. it’s an accessible feeling we can work to find again and again and get used to being in. feeling in. I’m learning about seeking this regularly in amongst city life. it can be accessed on small levels; a walk in the park. a flask of tea by the water. a wild swim. finding balance and ourself in amongst cultural, modern living. this is good. this is nice. this is aparigraha.
*a few things that are important to note when we’re camping or being in nature. we always do our best to adhere to these and we take responsibility for being there.
⁃ leave no trace. pick up your litter. if your having a fire, do this carefully and know what your doing safely. be respectful of where you are.
⁃ with lockdown just easing we took this into account and made sure we prepared to be self contained as much as possible.
⁃ just be a good human. which ironically being in nature helps us to be. be responsible and respectful and kind to the land and the people and animals living in it.
*scottish midges are real. very very real.
*dolphins joined us, at a distance, as we swam one morning. this added even more to the idyllic ocean views. and our phones were out of batt and there was no one else seeing it but us. good job nature, good job.