Sometimes you just have to take the time, break away and reflect on what is important. For me I had reached a point, made a decision, packed a bag and set off on foot for the longest stretch of thinking I had encountered yet.
Life has always fascinated me. This forever changing but incredible balancing act that is on a continuum. Filled with all uniquely different but interconnected life forms. Yet looking around I was surrounded by chaos, busy-ness, disease and coupled with a deep seated feeling that something wasn’t right. Life is a small precious fragment of time, yet we spend it making plans, filling calendars and working ourselves into a state of survival that isn’t supportive to life itself. Disease was more prevalent than ever, walking down the street it wasn’t filled with smiles and laughter, it was disconnect, busy-ness, exhaustion, unhappiness and often loneliness.
I had become disheartened, I had become exhausted and I felt these choices, this way of life, wasn’t at all supportive. Something was fundamentally not working and I had become increasingly challenged by this. I knew it was no longer sustainable so I made this decision to temporarily leave, to withdraw, to create an opportunity in which I could stop, pause and allow myself the time to tune in. So i decided to set off on foot and explore the beautiful Northland. I was dropped off at Cape Reinga on January 1st 2019 with a backpack and an intention to make my way back down to Auckland. I figured 500 odd km of walking would create enough space to process my own thoughts.
It is never easy to be in the silence of your own headspace and to appreciate the echoing loudness that exists and wow can it amplify. 90 mile beach, a forever reaching landscape of ocean and sand. The curious mind exploring its freedom to be heard. Thoughts were forever present but in this space I had time. Time to find the connections. Time to reflect. Time to appreciate the importance of these ideas I had been pushing aside. Noticing the similar patterns of thought that kept circling through my mind. Noticing the self-critic that had become ever so apparent. Noticing the judgement that filled this space. It was hard.
Yet looking at the nature that surrounded me was inspiring. Looking out to the ocean and watching the waves forever crashing upon the shore. Each one taking a different shape, a different form. Each one playing it’s part. Looking out there was no judgement, there was no comparison over which wave looked more perfect. They were all perfect. The tree’s, the birds, everything in nature was interwoven, connected and all part of a greater movement of life. Harmonious in its existence. I reflected on our role as humans in nature and how we interact. Knowing we too are a life form, nature, all uniquely playing our part, and each part so vital.
Somewhere along the way we seem to have got confused. We seemed to believe that nature was all about survival of the fittest, forgetting the interconnectedness, the beauty, the harmony and balance that can exist.
These signposts followed me along my journey, the ups and downs, the inevitable conditioning I was carrying with me. Nature had its own way of providing lessons. Some nice subtle sign posts and others a not so gentle reminder. I remember in one instance, I was depleted & exhausted and stepped into a determined state of ‘getting to the next destination,’ next thing I knew I was knocked on my butt, sitting in the middle of the path and realising that it is sometimes in this act of trying so hard we lose our connection, we miss the moment and inevitably something crashes. The next 2 hours symbolically had me walking up stream against the current.
A lot of time was spent contemplating, I found myself questioning our choices in society, the way we are living. Are we all just fighting to reach the next destination, goal, waiting for the next plan and constantly exerting ourselves with these efforts? Aren’t we perhaps missing the point? What would life be like if it was approached differently? From the moment we enter this world many choices are already made for us. What we learn, the way things are, expectations etc. So we grow up, not knowing any different, conditioned by societal laws that already exist, feeling that this is just the way it has to be.
But something isn’t working. This philosophy of climbing the ladder to reach the top isn’t supportive. Survival of the fittest isn’t working. We have created a belief system that it’s okay to keep reaching but not acknowledging the damaging effects that come as a result. Creating hierarchical structures, disconnect, separations, judgements, comparisons and an unfairness prevalent in our society today. When a group of people rush to the top of the ladder, the effects of leaving others behind is felt. We are all one, all nature, all connected. Disconnect is growing greater. Signposts are all around us and louder than ever, disease, climate, inequality, stress, mental health, age of addiction and conversations are filling the air highlighting this need to change.
Along with my journey I embraced all of these thoughts that entered my mind, all the questions, ideas and allowed myself the time to create my own sense of it all. I was closing in on Auckland, standing at the top of the brenderwins, surrounded by native beauty and looking out to the magnificence of the ocean. It was in that moment, where I knew I had a choice. I could go back and rejoin the world as it is, or I could go back and do things differently and make the changes I want to see. A decision that would be harder, harder to fit in an equation that didn’t allow for it but if I was truly going to listen to the beckoning voice that had accompanied my travel then I knew the answer was simple. I knew it was time, time to go beyond the questioning, to go beyond the ideas, to do something that inspired change, to do something that I felt was in alignment with what exists. To seek out a different way, a new experience, and encourage the changes I hoped to see. It was a conscious decision of transition, transition the ideas into a different reality. One that was supportive, connected and embracing all the qualities that life has to offer. And so the seed was planted, inspiration was felt and I excitedly walked back to share with my family, which marked the start of a new chapter, that of The Living Project.