THE HUMBLING EFFECT OF NATURE
What is the most extreme encounter you have had with nature?
How did it make you feel?
Overpowered and vulnerable?
Alive, inspired and energised?
When I get the chance I always want to get up close and personal with nature as it gives me so much positive energy. Although I would love to have a pet, I choose not to because I don't think it would be fair to subject an animal to my irregular and busy lifestyle in central London and regular travel (!). But I do have lots of plants, 13 in fact, in my modest apartment. I love them. And I'm sure they love me too, haha! They give my flat a vibrant energy and people comment on the calming feeling they have when they visit, which I'm sure is to do with my plants. It is the reason why plants are the main motif for my Life Coaching branding. While some people laugh about becoming 'crazy cat ladies', I think I will become the 'crazy plant guy'!
But I digress...
A very unique and exciting encounter with nature I had recently was going caving with my friends in the Peak District, for the second time, since 2014. I know to some this is their worst nightmare because of the dark, the cold, the claustrophobia. But to me, it was a great chance to really connect with the earth, appreciate and experience the natural formations but most of all, to feel small, subordinate and deferential to nature.
This may seem like a weird concept, but I think it is important every now and then to put ourselves in vulnerable situations and experience being humble. We can get mixed up in some of the trivial social conflicts within our bubbles of our existence, and forget that there is a whole world out there, rather, a whole Universe, that doesn't give a damn about some of the small inconveniences we face in our Western developed world.
A very powerful exercise that I read about once (it might have been in a Deepak Chopra or Eckhart Tolle book), that can help you become instantly more mindful, when you are feeling overwhelmed or highly anxious, is to spend a minute or too, quietly contemplating one of two things: the size of the universe or the length of time.
That's it, it's quite simple.
When you contemplate how big the Universe is, wow, what an instant feeling of surrender. The sun is so large that it can fit 1,300,300 earths inside it and it would take you about 19 years to get there if it were possible, and that's just contemplating our galaxy (which is one out of 100 billion!)
It's a similar feeling with time. Contemplating the past, life began officially on Earth 3.6 billion years ago and the Universe began 13.8 billion years ago! Contemplating the future, when your life has ended, the Universe will still continue for billions and billions of years. In 5-8 billion years, the Sun will expand so far that it will eventually envelope the Earth. But that's only after our galaxy has collided with the nearby Andromeda galaxy, apparently.
Just spending time contemplating such incredible wonders has a very powerful and enlightening affect on the mind and compels you to really focus on where the opportunities lie in your life to grow, to embrace, to learn, to be inspired, rather than allowing trivial matters to hold you back.
So, there I was, 150m deep inside the Jackpot cave in the Peak District, clambouring through a dark, narrow tunnel, competing with a heavy stream of freezing water and imagining I was in the water slide scene from The Goonies. I took some moments just to pause and examine some of the very alien rock formations and just feel privileged to have the opportunity to share these very private moments with nature, ancient nature. I was nothing but a speck in time and space in the context of this cave, the Earth and the Universe.
It was truly humbling.
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Take care for now!
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