As a child I was taken by the beauty of the planet. Surrounded by nature, my home on the island of Kos in Greece, was a perfect one. No neighbors, sheltered among nothing more than large overgrown trees, sand dunes, and the ocean. Just a few steps away, abundant flowers and plants everywhere, my fascinating friends, the insects all around, numerous cats and dogs running around all the time. For me, a nature spirit it was heaven on earth! Living in complete freedom, free to be who I am, what I choose, away from rules & regulations.
It was so much fun. I got to experience growing up being able to be me, as almost all my time was spent by choice in nature “alone,” observing, learning, being, feeling one with everything around me, in bliss…happiness. I observed always in fascination.
Once in a while we would leave our space to go to the local village store. How fun that was! It always meant a little treat was on the way!!! In terms of sugar – sacred to me. In the form of an ice cream, bubble gum, chocolate bar, lollipop or chips. Every visit to the store was exciting.
Walking across the land, or the farmer’s fields, and sometimes along the beach front to visit the village, with my brother or alone, so we could play with the other children of the village. There was no age restriction, all the children would gather and play together, we would not separate. We all worked together, made decisions together, made up rules, surrendering to playfulness. There were no adults over us to supervise & tell us what to do. There was no need. We learned on our own. We were safe on our own. Sometimes we played until all hours of the night. There was no fear or worry, from the parents or us. There was no danger. Nothing but an occasional fall or scrape.
There was unity, independence, and above all freedom. Then the time would come to return back to my sanctuary, … my home. My days were spent outdoors playing with the dogs & cats (sometimes sleeping with them in their doghouses). Every night I would fall asleep to the sound of the waves. Observing the insects in the garden, rolling down the sand dunes, climbing the trees, swimming in the ocean. This was everyday life.
I got to live in the moment, in touch with myself, untouched by the world around me and its various realities. A time where life was simple, people closer, away from the modern ways, the more depersonalized way of life, making it busy, stressful, more objects, tools needed to go about our daily life and keep us occupied. Sure we had toys, watched cartoons however most of the time it was unnecessary, we remained connected. The best of both worlds. I was lucky…I feel blessed. I got to experience a different reality. Most importantly, I got to be who I was.
I now wonder, look around, the way of life seems a bit disconnected, depersonalized. Stores everywhere! Twenty different choices of shampoo, it seems the more options we have the more we need. People pass each other untouched, preoccupied by rules, regulations, obligations, duties that have been imposed by others. Too busy to be, to enjoy, to live… a birthday party to plan, a bill to pay, an appointment to run too, busy…busy….busy.
We become robots, running through life to get this done & that. We instill roles & personalities to ourselves which are not us, more and more we become disconnected from who we truly are… molded by the world, society, and people around us. We lose base. No time to do what we enjoy. Whose life are we living? Surely not ours. The seldom times we get to be out in nature we get to touch base once more with who we are. Only then when we return back into society to forget and get caught up in the roller coaster.
We drink, take drugs, engage in harmful activities, and seek external pleasures. We become extremists in our views clinging obsessively to a particular religion, culture, group fearing diversity, uniqueness, trying to fill that hole, threatened by anyone that can take down that shield we so tightly hold on to. Or we put up a great big wall, shielding our emotions, nothing coming in, nothing out. Because we have lost touch of whom we are. We have been disconnected, unbalanced…diffused. We seek to be whole once more.
Disconnected from nature and our nature, with personalities which have been imposed on us. Caught up in a system which is one’s system not caring about anyone’s individuality. Personality has no standing, it is all about duty, imposed roles, otherwise made to feel guilty. Expression hindered, emotions locked in, followed by destruction. Destruction of self, the environment…others. We are so preoccupied with the self, its return, filling the hole that we become numb, oblivious to everything and everyone around us. We cannot care, be concerned about a tree being cut down, an animal maimed, nor a human put to shame. No, we are too busy trying to fill the emptiness…
If we are not ourselves in touch with who we are, expressing, we will never be whole. In turn the world will never be whole. It begins with each one of us individually. Taking time to be consciously aware, from that we become consciously aware of everyone else around us, we can be present in the moment. That is the key…being present. If we were always present there would be no fighting, no wars, conflicts, or destruction. It starts within us and from there everything else comes, only then can we know love. If we are present we can feel the other, be with the other, we would not create that separation that barrier that can lead to violence.
It is not an easy task to step away from all the conditioning.Or so we are told. What if it were actually quite simple? Nevertheless it is an exciting adventure to dive in and discover yourself…to be yourself. Whose fault is it? No one in particular. Although it is a battle with our self. It is the battle we are fighting individually but at the same time as a whole. Individuality brings true unity, community, love, sharing…being present.
What connects us to ourselves is also individual for one it may be nature, the other contemplation, the other the playing of a musical instrument, dancing, singing, making, or building something. Each has its own unique way of expressing, tuning, experiencing, and that is ok. No one can discover what that is then us, no one can live our lives for us, solve our problems. It is our responsibility and ours alone…and what a beautiful journey it is. Discover yourself and in turn discover the world.
Do not hold back, suppress, otherwise only misery, anger, depression occurs. Accept yourself and everyone around you. Lift the veil of fear, free yourself from your mind, the mind which is not us but conditioned from the world around us. Just be, and then we are free.
Location: Maui, Hawaii.