“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Gary Snyder, American poet
There’s no doubt that in our modern, 21st-century lives we have lost touch with nature. Many people around the world spend most of their days indoors or in cities where glimpses of the natural world are few and far between.
Nature has numerous life lessons to teach us, but we’ve lost many of the traditional ways of learning from it. At what cost?
The ‘University of the Wild’ is one of the most prestigious educational facilities out there! In this blog post, we’re looking at five of the most important lessons which humans can learn from nature:
#1 Nature is in no rush
In nature, everything is accomplished at its own pace and in its own time. When you spend time in nature, you’ll notice that it doesn’t seem to be in a hurry and that everything moves at its own pace.
As humans, however, we spend so much time rushing around like maniacs, trying to accomplish so much that nothing is truly given time to develop to fruition. In the connected world in which we live, we expect things to happen instantaneously – for messages to be replied to immediately, non-urgent work to happen right away and to keep everything moving at a frenetic pace.
We can learn from the natural rhythms of the world, pausing to take deep breaths, give everything its own time, and be steady rather than speedy.
#2 Everything has its purpose
When you truly observe nature, you’ll see that every little leaf and every tiny insect has its role to play in the greater whole of the ecosystem. Our human egos, on the other hand, tend to categorise things (and even people, including ourselves) as either ‘useful’ or ‘useless’. We could benefit from appreciating – and learning from – the purpose endowed in all living things and the way in which they work together in harmony.
#3 The best things in life are free
Nature comes with no currency or cost, and you don’t need any money to enjoy it. Sure, you may have to pay to visit certain parks or nature reserves, but there are many places you can go to be in nature for free. When you’re in a natural environment, you’re away from the commercial commodities and advertising that infiltrate our daily lives, which means that you have the chance to appreciate the ‘free’ things in life that bring you true happiness.
#4 It’s ok to just ‘be’
Nature reminds us that you don’t always have to be busy and productive for life to be meaningful. When you’re experiencing the outdoors, you feel like you can kick back and watch the world turn without judgement from yourself or others. This allows you to recharge your batteries and return fresh to the ‘real world’.
#5 You can’t have a rainbow without the rain
The natural cycles of nature bring both challenges and opportunities. But no matter the hardships, they always end – hurricanes pass, rain stops, clouds break, blizzards melt. Nature teaches us that these tough times are inevitable, but they are often followed by something beautiful, like new shoots, clear skies and rainbows.
Tips to take from nature’s teachings
- Spend some time alone in nature, listening deeply and noticing the world around you.
- Leave your devices at home.
- Take some time to be still and stay in one spot, reflecting on your own life and how to slow things down.
- Close your eyes, and experience nature through your other senses of touch, smell and sound.
At Tugela Trails, our outdoor holiday camps and outdoor education programmes give kids the chance to get outside, explore the great outdoors, and learn crucial life lessons from Mother Nature. Get in touch to find out more about our outdoor adventures: https://www.tugelatrails.co.za/contact/.