“You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” ― Alan W. Watts
As I feel the grass under my toes and look up to see the bright sun, I feel pulsing from the earth connecting me to everything and everyone in it. A nature nomad, trapped in a world of concrete jungles and automated everything. A wild woman searching for a spark of magic in the mundane. When I turn to the sky I am reminded of my own impermanence, a bittersweet pull at my heartstrings that reminds me of the painfully beautiful fact that right now is all there is and all there ever will be. Reminding me that a moment lived without gratitude is a moment wasted. An insult to this beautiful world that created me, created us .
I am reminded that we are all one, all of us in it together, moving through life as best we can.
The message of yoga is unity and as I close my eyes and feel the breeze in my hair I am reminded of this truth in such a profound way that I don't know how I ever could've forgotten it. I want to savor this moment, feel it through my entire body and let it live within me for as long as I can.
So, I do what I always do in times like these. I inhale, feeling the breath flood my lungs and move into my belly and I savor the fullness of it, the richness of this life force. I exhale, and I begin to move. I flow from one yoga pose to another, deeply aware of the electric current running through me as I practice directly on the ground, why cut myself off from the earth? I would get deeper into it if I could. Burry myself in the sand and dirt and water to feel mother nature's life force all around me. Reminding me that I am real and alive just like the ant on my toe, my dog by my side, the ducks in the water and the oak trees around me. It is during these practices that I truly know myself. Layer by layer I peel away the illusions and lies I've clothed myself in to remember that my essence is the same as any other being's.
It is through these practices that I began shifting my perspective and changing my life almost three years ago. As I immersed myself in this feeling of unity with nature, it both heightened my capacity for empathy and broke my heart piece by piece. Each day I became more aware of the destruction I was causing to our environment, the pain I was inflicting upon other creatures and the damage I was doing to myself in the process.
As I meditated and practiced, I was forced to acknowledge the hard fact that I was not living my life in alignment with my values. I was hurting others without realizing that I was really hurting myself. When you come to truly know that we are all one, you are forced to shed the illusion that it is ever possible to only hurt someone else. Through my actions and often through my inactions, I was supporting the destruction of our beautiful planet. Every day it became just a little bit harder to keep doing things as I had always done them. So I made some changes. I started to recognize and acknowledge my own power and trust my internal compass guiding me towards what I knew to be right. I understood that although I am small, I am mighty. I could no longer justify the killing of innocent animals for my own benefit. I was intensely aware of the surreal amount of waste and plastic filling up our landfills and the part I played in it.
I started to see that my voice could be heard through the way I chose to spend a dollar. I saw how I had imbedded myself in technology and cut myself off from nature.
Slowly but surely I made some changes, changes that a few years ago might have sounded difficult or limiting but that now felt like pure freedom. I was freeing myself from the belief that I was too small and meaningless to ever do something that could impact the world at large. I was freeing myself from the need to do things the way I saw other people do them. Freeing myself from being inactive and numb to being in charge of my path. It's funny how it's only by taking small actions in my daily life that I finally understood that this is the way we impact the world at large. I had been disempowering myself and turning to others to "fix" things and make them right again, bypassing my own responsibility in the process. With each day I became more aware of the fact that we all have a divine obligation and purpose to honor each other and respect this planet we live on. It is through these seemingly small daily actions that together we transform our environment into one we'd be proud to leave to future generations.
The changes and actions that I've chosen to take might not be for everyone, but the message is. We are all one. If you find yourself rushing through life, disengaged from your tribe, overwhelmed by societal pressures or discouraged by the status quo, it's time to reconnect. Seek comfort in the healing presence of mother nature. Take a hike through the woods, practice yoga on the beach, literally stop and smell the roses and remember the truth and the beauty of your existence.
By Kassandra Reinhardt
Inner Fire Luminary & Nature Nomad