Achieving a state of health and happiness takes so much more than just nutrition and diet. A concept that I constantly reinforce with my clients is the importance of looking at the other factors in their life which need more fulfillment (and that might initially seem completely unrelated to their weight loss and energy goals), and to work on developing those as much as they are making shifts in their diet.
I truly believe that the power of our soul foods are greater than any superfood that you can purchase and consume, or any diet regime that you might want to follow.
And when it comes to soul foods, there are not any that can beat the benefits of communing with Mother Nature.
I just got back from an amazing weekend hiking in a national park that is home to one of Java’s highest peaks, Mt Semeru. Over the four days away, I was able to feed my soul in ways that are hardly even imaginable when living within the confines of a hectic city like Jakarta.
As I hiked with my husband and a small group of friends, I could breathe deep lung fulls of delicious clean, mountain air, enjoy the beauty of the unique landscape that surrounded us, and bask in the crisp, cool weather.
My priorities shifted completely. The most important things each day were getting my legs to take me from A to B, having appropriate meals, finding shelter and staying warm.
Without any Internet or phone signal to even distract my thoughts, I was able to clear space in my head for a different kind of reality. To even be thinking of anything other than basic survival and comfort seemed kind of trivial.
It is hard to take our regular lives seriously when surrounded by trees and mountains and lakes ans just getting by hour by hour while at the whim of the powers of nature. When basic survival is the most important thing to think about, it really puts life into a new perspective. The things that usually seem to cause so much stress and worry are insignificant. The thoughts that consume us, the worries that distract us, our concerns that seem so important that our world is going to end if we don’t get them sorted, are all non-existent when spending time away in the forest.
The daily confounding decisions- which foundation to use, which handbag to wear with your new outfit, whether or not to buy the new shoes on sale- as well as the regular concerns- what should I make as my latest Facebook status update? Will people see this new pimple on my face? Do I look ok?- are not even thoughts that cross your mind when you haven’t showered in days, and have worn the same clothes three days running, and those facts don’t even matter to anyone.
Of paramount importance instead, is making sure you have enough water to get you until the next re-supply, where to set up shelter so you can be safe and dry, what to cook with limited supplies and a small gas burner, avoiding sunburn and windburn, even where to use the loo. You have to think in a different way and respect the environment or risk becoming dehydrated, famished, wet, cold and any other number of uncomfortable feelings or dangerous situations.
In addition to managing the unique challenges, there is the beauty. Breathtaking views, and stunning landscapes that are nothing short of inspiring. The urban landscape of the concrete jungle can be stifling and energy sapping. But in the wilds of nature, the environment provides space, vastness and the true understanding of just how vulnerable we are as humans. No longer are we the masters in complete control, and that knowledge (to me anyway) is extremely empowering.
Finally, there is the spiritual and personal growth that comes with exploring and adventuring in a way that is in vast contrast to city life.
As my husband and I were ascending the summit of Mt Semeru, which is 3676 metres above sea level, we were really pushed on all levels- our levels of fitness and strength, our mindset control, our attitudes, were all put to the test.
As we were in our 5th hour of scrambling up the steep, volcanic mountain ridge, that was mostly just sand which seemed impossible to walk up, reaching the summit seemed ridiculously difficult. We stopped for a breather, and I asked my always wise husband, “Tell me why we are doing this again?” He replied without a second thought: “So that we can be reminded of all the beauty that God and the Universe have given to us.”
It was this that spurred me on to continue the strenuous climb, because it seemed rude to not appreciate what was indeed incredibly beautiful, and something that I yearn for when caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life.
It is so easy to forget the beauty that surrounds us, and to remember the simplicity there can be to life. It is really only by being among nature that we can get back into tune with what truly matters, and to be able to look deep inside ourselves and to recognize what our desires and needs actually are.
This is why nature is a super soul food that nourishes us and feeds us and fuels us and satisfies us- in more ways than food on its own ever will.
- How often do you get to commune with Nature? Where do you like to go, and how do you feel when you do? Please share in the comments below!