“Hey, What we doing this weekend?” my husband Timm says to me, as I reply “We’re going on an impromptu camping trip”, “Just us” he says “Just Us and Mr. Anderson and Oliver of course” I said, as I look down at their cute faces with eyes wide open and ears perked.
Oliver (our dog) loves nature, he’s obsessed, and he actually shakes with excitement as soon as he is aware we’re going for a walk in the woods or for a stroll on the beach, he’s a little, well, a lot like me. So much so sometimes it’s scary.
At the beach he collects rocks, seriously, he searches through the water for the perfect rock then with the most determination you’ve ever seen (somewhat like my obsession with essential blending) he uses his paws to bring them to shore, then picks them up with his teeth and usually creates a straight line of his favorites.
We haven’t figured out why? But isn’t it amazing? We just love to watch him. So much joy.
“Joy” being the key word, a word that escapes most of us as we awake from peace to an almost zombie like state of being. I’ve kinda graduated from the whole 6AM wake up, jump in the shower, throwing my clothes on and heading into the city like a herd of cattle thing, however, even though 9 years ago I left the corporate world. I can quickly get back into the pattern, and just a wee camping trip with my husband and puppies can remind me how important it is to break the cycle.
Our conditioning runs so deep. Being defined by what we do, how busy we are, how much we’ve accomplished. We get so wrapped up in doing we forget about being and being is who we are.
We’re human being’s not human doings, right?
And we were reminded of that once again this weekend at Bon Echo Provincial Park.
3PM the car’s packed and we’re headed for the great Canadian wilderness. Just a spontaneous and quick trip but one that’s definitely necessary. It’s been a tough year for my husband and I and although if you flash through our Instagram accounts it might look like sunshine and rainbows, what you perhaps don’t see is the storms that we went through in the process.
But such is life. A series of experiences that if we pay attention can help us grow and the more we grow the less we take it all personally. Which is why nature has always been my guru. In the words of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
So then why are we fighting against it?
It’s so painful to go against our very nature and the evidence that it destroys is becoming pressingly obvious. Both internally, suppressing our spiritual nature, and externally, destroying our environment.
I’m not saying we all run barefoot for the hills to make moonshine (although that might be a hoot) but what I am saying is just like this weekend, and maybe a little bit every day, we start to infuse our lives with a little of what comes naturally. Perhaps a slow integration. Because we didn’t get this way over night and we’re certainly not going to change it that quickly either.
Baby steps, slow, steady, radically focused change. It’s what’s always (when I’m patient enough) brought about the most sustainable and fulfilling changes in my life.
And our journey to Bon Echo was evidence. We took the long way of course. We could have taken the highway and been there sooner, however we savored the journey, stopping along the way for the lunch, driving through small towns, and watching the epic landscape roll by in the rear view mirror. I could see Mr. Anderson and Oliver watching from the back seat as well. It was so cute.
We arrived just in time, set up camp, and Timm started a fire so I could make my very first campfire chili. It took a few hours, but was totally worth it. The sun was shining, birds frolicking in the forest, raccoons waiting in the trees for us to walk away so they could steal a bite, it was just perfect. Oliver sat watching my every move and Mr. Anderson was snuggled up in a pashmina by the fire.
Here’s my campfire chili recipe if you’re interest:
2 Cans of Organic Mixed Beans
2 Cans of Organic Crushed Tomatoes
1 can of Organic Tomato paste
1 Cup of Red Wine
I bottle of Roasted Red peppers
1 Table spoon of chopped garlic
Pre-made Spice Mix (Chili powder, Cumin, Onion powder, Basil, Cheyenne pepper, Sea Salt, pepper)
Build a campfire, of course. Be sure you have a grill over the fire to place the pot on. Place pot on grill. Sautee garlic and roasted red peppers (with oil from bottle) until golden brown, add red wine and cook for a few minutes to cook of the alcohol, add pre-made spice mix (pre-making it saves on space for packing, there’s no exact measurement just use your intuition) as does using the bottled garlic, peppers etc. which also prep time and utensils, mix spice mix with garlic, peppers and wine, then two cans of crushed tomatoes, two cans of mixed beans and can of tomato paste and cook for approximately 90 mins, or longer, the longer you cook it the better it tastes. Be sure to watch and keeping stirring to keep from burning to the bottom of the pot. Oh and make sure you have a lid so the “flankers” as they call them in Newfoundland don’t get in your chili. Then serve with your favorite accompaniments. I added some aged cheddar, sour cream and Tostitos, I forgot the avocado at home.
After dinner my husband, Mr. Anderson, Oliver and I sat snuggled up by the fire. Not saying a word we we’re in a trance just watching and listening to the sounds of nature.
We awoke to the same soundtrack, with the sun beaming through our tent, the crisp air of fall sneaking in and a beautiful orchestra of birds singing in the background.
I want more, more campfire chili and more orchestras of birds vs. the beeping of construction vehicles I can hear in the back ground as I write.
After breakfast we headed out for a walk along the river, the lake and then finally stopped at a rocky beach, obviously this was Oliver’s influence, but the landscape was EPIC and the experience was beyond blissful. It was a nice quiet beach with only us and a family with the most adorable children, so smart, witty and beyond grateful to be in their element.
Oliver tuckered himself out, even now as I sit here writing at my dining room table, with a warm cup of coffee (well it’s getting cold cause I’ve been typing for a bit) he is still sleeping.
We are all deeply fulfilled and exhausted at the same time. I couldn’t even muster up the strength to shower last night so I still smell of campfire lol. (Does anyone know if an essential oil that smells like campfire? I’m working on a blend)
All and all the last 24 hours was a deep reminder that nature is a great healer, a great teacher and that I need more of it in my life. We all do. And not just once in a while for 24 hours but as much as we can get.
It’s natural Prozac (do they still make that stuff?)
It’s refreshing to stand as a witness to how it all unfolds so peacefully without effort. Everything has it’s time, place and purpose and is graciously in harmony with the whole and yet somehow we have become disconnected. We’re more connected to our phones, the internet, and doing vs being.
Ah! I heard you…
We can’t just be, such a Utopian I can be sometimes, eh?
We need jobs and money and, and, and…
Why yes we do, but we also need nature, a connection to each other and to the deeper meaning of life and to realize that the constant chase, the pushing, striving, more, more, more is taking us further away from what we are, and that disconnection is what’s creating a world full of disease (dis-ease).
So do yourself a favor. Get outside today, even if just for a moment. Find a piece of nature, take off your shoes, plant your feet in the earth and take a deep breath, and do it tomorrow, and the next day and the next.
You get the picture my friend and you’ll thank me later!