‘What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.’ ~ Gandhi
We can suppress our true nature, ignore our seasons and cycles, override the calls to rest and plough on with our busy, productive lives but we all know how this story ends and this is the story playing out on earth. Dominion over nature can only work as a strategy for so long before earth gets exhausted and angry and rebels. Just as dominion over our bodies can only work as a strategy for so long before our health suffers.
Expectations are at the heart of our suffering and the suffering of our planet. Our expectations of ourselves whether conscious or not are reflected in our expectations of nature and until we can make peace with ourselves, how can we expect to make peace with nature?
We demand perfection at the expense of our health and wellbeing, we live as though we have infinite resource, we expect predictability and consistency and to work efficiently and productively without adequate rest and replenishment. We expect to be always improving, advancing and growing with little value given to the benefits of pause, rest and incubation, seeking always to be in the growth phase of our creative and life cycles. These high, unrealistic and unsustainable expectations to which we aspire are the same expectations we have of nature.
But sooner or later we come to realise the cost of these expectations and suddenly this exhausting and unfulfilling way of living becomes impossible to keep up with and so we don’t. We drop out, slow down, expect a little less and in doing so find we can live a little more. As we surrender to a more sustainable pace of life we notice that we become not less productive but more so, doing only what is needed and nothing more, taking only what is needed and nothing more. We become perfectly imperfect, aware of the limited resources of our bodies and of nature, we welcome unpredictability and inconsistency, we work efficiently and productively because we rest well and replenish often. We value the cyclical nature of life and creativity, the wisdom of activity and rest, pause and action. We respect our bodies and we respect the planet, we seek not to dominate but to cooperate, to live in the flow of life rather than to swim against it, to trust in the perfect unfolding of life and know that nature knows best.