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Back to Basics
We occasionally like getting back to basics around here. It can be so good for the body and soul.
Face it, family life can be challenging at times, so, like a clean diet after vacation, remembering the basics helps normalize our senses and remind us of what is important, especially since we have a house full of hormones!
My son, an almost teenager (in two weeks!), is as persistent as a politician and gifted in understanding systems, and thus, the least amount of work necessary to fulfill said system requirements (like homework). It’s quite impressive. To a parent, these gifts can be exhausting, so I intermittently implement my signature Back to Basics Boot Camp intended to inspire more ethical and cooperative aspirations. This involves earning back luxuries like rides to school (we have a bus that stops right outside our door), electronics, and desserts with a heavy emphasis on exhibiting cohesive and cooperative characteristics.
Not only is my son hormonal, but so am I thanks to menopause. In fact, my gangsta name may or may not be MOMSTER: perfect for leading almost-a-teenager Come to Jesus rallies and leading some no-nonsense boot camps.
As you can imagine, life with Meno-Mom and Teen Titan can get downright sketchy. To quote Flo Rida: “It’s Gettin’ Down For Real” (and I only know these lyrics because a certain youngster sits in my passenger seat 90% of the time and controls the radio station).
Happily, there is a magical antidote to this daily rap.
It is available by unplugging from electronics and getting back to basics – the basics of nature.
By the end of whatever tortuous activity we have planned, our son is usually a calm, delightful conversationalist with liberal tendencies for affection.
You can read about the restorative qualities of nature on the internet or in most journals. Research has proven time outdoors has positive physiological and psychological effects– and in our family there is no better proof than a relaxed, engaged, and laughing child.
When we first arrived in Sedona last week, I had arranged for an evening spiritual hike with Joseph White Wolf. Joseph is a charismatic gypsy from a fur-trapping family in Ontario. I can’t say we believed all of his legends and survival stories, but they sure were entertaining. As we romped through the landscape, our family was asked to interact with each other and with the land. What adjective comes to mind? What animal are you thinking of?
Trust me, there are not many things more awkward than huddling for a family drum circle in the middle of a medicine wheel surrounded by agave plants at dusk, but as Joseph talked to us and asked us to conjure our own words, we softened.
Like in nature, we opened up to our authentic selves.
One afternoon on another tour, we bounced mightily along dry creek beds, fresh air in our lungs and a picturesque backdrop of amazing views in every direction. Jovially thrown about the jeep, I played up my fear of toppling (and peeing my pants) during the 4x4 experience.
And I was legitimately apprehensive when we saddled up onto ATV’s and steered our own vehicles through protruding rocks and deep ruts. My son ridiculed my sloth – like speed and delighted in my uncertainty.
I was happy to show him my vulnerability because there is no better sound than a giggling teenager seeing his usually controlled nag of a mom losing her mind around motor vehicles, red dust, and wildly uneven ground. They say laughter is the best medicine, and I know it was soulful medicine to hear my son laugh like that!
Like nature, we were calm and effortless.
And the ruins themselves are impressive. Soaring or four stories, the elaborate village shelter was left behind, presumably after the water supply dried up. The ruins are natural in their existence and slowly eroding with the weather. I marvel at structures still standing hundreds or even thousands of years after their use. It reminds me we are all connected to a larger picture, evoking humility.
Like nature, our small family represents the life cycles of all generations. We are the cycle of life.
The ultimate feeling of connectedness and expansiveness occurred at the Grand Canyon where we walked for miles along the South Rim. There is no way to feel mightier than nature in those moments. I’m not a fan of heights, so my personal limitations were apparent while my son and husband found every scenic outcrop along the way to stand toe to toe with nature’s imposing depth. Invigorated by our surroundings, we attempted to a hike an old mule trail to a copper mine down inside the canyon. As we started out, we met a few dedicated hikers who had made it down and back with full backpacks, hiking sticks, and probably some trekking knowledge. I got the idea this was serious business!
We curiously headed down, and it wasn’t too long before the vanishing trail (my husband says I exaggerate) and the sheer drop – offs had me clinging for life and insisting my family go on while I tried to prevent a paralyzing panic attack by inching my way back to flat ground. Once again, mom failed epically, to the delight of her kid. Yes, my son hiked fearlessly down the narrow, harrowing path a little ways further and back up without complaint. In fact, he was proud of his efforts.
Like nature, our family is complimentary. We respect, encourage, and look out for one another.
The benefits of nature on a family are profound. We feel a relaxation, a release, and ease which helps to make late night dinner time conversations interactive and engaging. We feel a desire to head to the pool after a long day in the sun rather than turn on the hotel room’s television. We feel an innate connectedness and cooperation prompting us to be kind and inclusive.
Nature is fuel for our souls and fuel for our families.
Next time you’re out in nature, see if you can notice more than the beautiful scenery and fresh air. Notice how different you feel and how connected you are to your family and friends.
It is basic, it is clean, and it is delicious.
And there is nothing fishy about that.
Peace & Light,
The Busy Buddha
Talk Back to the Trio
What are your favorites way to enjoy the outdoors?