I wrote about it before, but the question seems to raise more and more often. People ask me: how can I live a connected life while living in the midst of the modern world? How can I feel as grounded and safe and silent in the city as I can in the woods?
It is a good question. Not only very relevant, but deeply personal too. There is not one answer to this, but as many answers as there are people. So my answer is maybe a disappointing one: you will have to go and find your own answer. But the tool is we do not find answers by seeking answers, we find answers by asking ourselves questions. The quest for connection starts with the conversation with ourselves. A new conversation, a fresh conversation, but above all an honest conversation. Because in being connected there is just one rule: it requires radical honesty to feel connected to yourself, to other people, to nature, to the tree in front of your apartment building, to the food you’re eating, to the smile you’re beaming into the world.
So there is your first question: how honest am I?
Take it from there. Notice if you’re saying yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no. Don’t judge yourself, do not even tell yourself you’re doing it wrong, just bring some awareness to what you’re doing, saying, thinking and feeling. How honest are your actions, your thoughts, your words, your feelings? How honest are the conversations you’re having with yourself? Does it feel scary to be really honest? Is it safer to make an excuse or tell yourself an alternative version? What is it you want to stay away from? Does it have a colour? A name? Is there a feeling attached? Can you recognize it?
There you go, one question leads to other questions, leads to something intangible that feels a bit closer to the truth. You do not have to live a simple life in nature to aks yourself the first question. You can do it anytime anywhere.
I have my own very personal reasons why I want to (and am able to) live a simple life in nature at this point in my life, and I will tell you about it in time. Not because I’m secretive, but because I don’t have all the answers yet myself, I’m just asking new questions and along the way it feels like I’m moving a little closer to my own connection to the truth.
Image : Felt Artwork by Claudy Jongstra. Photography by Marcel van der Vlugt