Yet, this is exactly what troubles me about the luxurious life.
Separation from the root source.
Why is this important?
Hasn’t our whole culture built itself with the idea and goal to hide nature? To surpass her?
Impossible of course, as EVERYTHING is nature, and comes from nature. Besides the obvious like trees and birds – how about
That’s where wisdom comes in.
In my simple life, I don’t reject technology. I use it where and how it serves me.
And, one of the aspects I treasure about where I live in Mexico is that there is never the escape from nature, and our unbreakable connection and interdependence.
Here, even though there are tourists, and the nearby town is developing, the little hotels continue to be made from local materials, using literally manual labor. The walls are never completely smooth. There is no wall to wall carpet, or air conditioning, or heating.
The light sockets are chiseled crudely out of the ceilings, the floor tiles have gaps, the paint drips.
It’s never as comfortable where I live as in the States. I prefer it, though, because I am constantly reminded that “these walls are made of materials from the earth, applied by human hands.” I like that, I want that, and I am satisfied to have that. Even though it’s (arguably) not as pretty or neat. It’s real.
I want that.
I love that.
1. Exposure to the elements is fortifying
When I worked in an office in the States, before I came to Mexico in 2006, I used to groan every time the air conditioning turned on. The noise, the artificial air, and my boss wouldn’t let me open my window. I was trapped in the unnatural world of, “don’t feel nature, don’t be hot, it’s bad to be uncomfortable.” I believed that although uncomfortable, being exposed to and living in relationship with the elements makes us stronger. I believed and still believe it is better for our health, stamina and resilience to feelsome cold, feelsome hot, not move from artificially controlled cool office to cool care to cool gym to cool home, never to feel what is actually happening and be with it.
2. More obvious contact with nature in my living environment keeps me humble
Living more simply, amongst more natural materials and techniques reminds me that all around me, the road I walk upon, the walls I pass, are gifts used from the place where I live. It takes a lot of work to create walls and roads, and I don’t know how to do it. And it could be swept or shaken away at any moment. Not pleasant, but real and enlivening. I want to be really alive.
3. Living simply and with less “comfort” makes me much more appreciative of what I have
I have a house I live in with adobe walls that protects me from the rain and cold. I have windows that keep animals out and through which I can view the mountains and trees. You probably do, too. But somehow, with the more “rustic” construction all around me, where nature is not so blocked off and seemingly far away, I don’t have the illusion of security. While not having the illusion of “nature can’t get me,” terrifies me on one hand, it keeps me connected to the truth of her cycles and devastation as well as bounty and beauty. All this keeps me aware and appreciative that I am alive and I am cared for. My environment serves me. Not in an ostentatious way, but it in a sustainable and healthy way. Where I live, my feet might be cold on the tile floors but I never have to experience that suffocating sensation in my feet and toxic feeling in my system that wall-to-wall carpet gave me.
4. When your lifestyle makes it impossible to forget that everything is nature, it’s easier to be in conscious relationship with her
The road in my village is made with local rock. Definitely easier to walk on than a rutted dirt road, but nothing like the level smoothness of asphalt. When I walk on the road here, I am walking on rocks from the very place: its mountains and volcanos. No hiding that. The walls that line the roads are made from the same rock. The placing of both is an art that I admire greatly and love to observe. Bumpy ride in a car or on a bike. You are forced to go slowly. Walking too, must be done mindfully to avoid turning an ankle. A rock paved road is not so easy, but it is alive and makes me more alive as well.
Isn’t it funny that with all the technology and “advances” made by our modern western culture, I choose the labor, stress and vulnerability inherent in living a more natural, connected life? Yet I do. And so do many others. It was the way of our ancestors, and it comforts me knowing that life more connected to nature continues to exist in some smaller and rural communities in the first world, and in many other places on the planet, including where I live.
If you want to live more connected to yourself:
Living more connected to nature (which you are and are part of) through your everyday lifestyle is one way to do that.
But, the world of nature is not always easy and gentle. And, the world of nature works in cycles. Spring comes with new beauty and beginnings, but so do devastating hurricanes. We do need to know how to prepare for, protect ourselves from, handle nature’s harsh side. And having comforts like shelter, clothes and food takes hard work (community).
Life is not easy no matter what we choose, and there are many qualities that matter in decision-making.
If living according to your values and principles is important to you, or if you are wanting to explore and understand that better, through my real life adventure journey story of transformation, I invite you read my book, Calling Myself Home: Living Simply, Following Your Heart and What Happens When You Jump.
So, what kind of lifestyle (with what level of connection to the elements), would be in alignment for you?
If you feel drawn to leave a comment with us, know that we would all benefit by hearing your thoughts!