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  1. #11
    Rouskof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneClick View Post
    We like to think we're special
    You are very special, for sure

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rouskof View Post
    Wow you Americans have a term and a theory for anything.
    At least an acronym for everything

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ylnfrt View Post
    This sounds like the perfect reason to get a Tensa4- sleep in luxury when on the road and when out-n- about.


    Christmas is right around the corner. Time to start dropping some not-so-subtle hints to the better half.

  4. #14

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    http://www.florencewilliams.com/the-nature-fix/

    Currently reading this... it's interesting thus far in that many developed eastern countries also understand the need for nature. (Japan and South Korea notably). In this book the idea expressed is more than just terms and theory but new studies and science from around the globe.

    We (americans) are more fortunate than most in that we do have large spaces of open space but around the globe the need for preservation of our wilds is needed. Even here it is clear that while we do have quantity, the quality can be debatable. Isolated spots of preservation do not thrive if they are not large enough or interconnected enough to encourage healthy genes through migrations of diversity between areas. After all... if your neighbor's home is in poor condition so too is yours.

    A real life is one that is in balance. That is hard to obtain today no matter where you live. We do have many great advances not to be taken lightly or ignored as we have become more urban/modern creatures. Like anything though they do come at a cost. Life has always been a struggle, first to simply survive, then to eat, then to live. True the country farmer of a few generations ago lived a good life outdoors close to the land... but many of his children died of unknown disease, accident, or simple infection. Many a woman died simply birthing those children. He also lived one illness, bad harvest, simple accident or natural disaster away from his family being wiped out. We have come along way in tending to the body in both food security and medical advances. Education and interconnection of ideas is at an unprecedented level. And of course the quality and quantity of goods and services available is unmatched in history. To an extent we have made great strides in how one can age well, and even die well.

    The key though in my opinion is not to rewind, but to push through. To see the same advances in knowledge of the world around us and our place in it. To find balance with the earth as species. And ultimately to find wisdom in living in harmony with both ourselves and the world around us.

    Native Americans share the medicine wheel... which has many meanings.
    Industrialized nations around the world have done much to provide;
    Healthy conditions for birth, the most critical function of life itself.
    Plentiful food for growth, the most critical function of the body.
    Education and knowledge, the most critical function for the mind.

    What we fail to do though is provide wisdom and interconnection for the soul.
    Our strides forward in these other areas have upset this balance that those folks we idealize in the past we imagine held.
    We imagine they had this perfect balance of life, body, mind and soul... or at least a better one than we have now. While this is true for some, it was not true for all.

    The book I am reading is one of many that examines from science that which many outdoors people understand... modern life is in many ways better, but also broken somehow.
    There are actual physical, chemical, and neurological reason why we 'crash' after what should be a restorative trip. Why many long distance hikers report severe and even crippling depression post hike.
    But the Native American had little time to work on his spiritual health if he could not obtain food. Little time to love his family if they died of a fever. No pleasure was found if one played all summer and died during winter.

    So if you are out of balance, all one can do is seek it. We too need food, shelter, and health.
    Earn enough to secure each and little more, live frugally, and free up what time you can for those ways that add balance to your life.

    Life is not easy. In the US it is healthcare that remains my biggest obstacle. But it must be done.
    My daughter had a simple enough illness that didn't respond to oral medicine, and required an IV drip and a few days of hospital stay to resolve.
    Even with the crushing insurance payments it was still a $4500 out of pocket expense.
    While that money could have gone towards a vacation, a long distance hike... a better balance and harmony with nature for my whole family... the death of my daughter over a simple illness would have rendered that joy empty. So I gladly pay the bill even though the trip could not be taken and not only the vacation canceled, but also no time taken off work.

    In some ways Europeans have advantages we do not have in healthcare, mandatory time off, and other healthier choices than we make. A better recognition of our value as healthy humans, not simply gogs in a machine.

    There are many times I lament my choices to not pursue a life in the woods, but during a long distance hike filled with stunning glory and deep spiritual fulfillment I looked to my side and found it empty.
    No spouse, no child, no humans at all. Had I truly found balance? Or had I done what many have done and simply followed one path to the exclusion of all others?
    So I made a choice...

    I do not say that choice was easy to make, or easy to live with, nor that I will succeed on the path I have chosen.

    The no life for me is the life out of balance.

    Much like backpacking... there are always easy alternatives. One could simply not go at all, not cover miles, not carry things, not climb the hill, not sleep outdoors, not take any risk.
    Excellent nature documentaries are abundant for us to sit on the couch and watch. But Backpackers make a choice to go regardless.
    Choosing to take just what you need for health, safety, and practicality.
    To challenge oneself physically, to risk reasonably.
    To have the knowledge to push or pace yourself, prepare for the trail ahead, and to rest when needed.

    And above all to have the wisdom to stay on the path and not take the easy fork.
    To understand that this trail you walk is leading to a sense of fulfillment because it has challenges to the body, mind, and spirit.
    Reward without struggle is emptiness in it's own right.

    I cannot say what works for you, nor could I give you my map and expect you to find happiness on my trail.
    Each must both define and walk their own path.

    Though I can encourage you to examine where your path is heading and why.
    Family is a choice, so is work, the place one lives, and the people one keeps in their life.

    Much like a backpacker may choose to walk a long, boring, strenuous section of trail to reach some distant and remote goal... I made a choice.
    Simply recognizing that I chose to walk some unpleasant section of trail reduces the burden of that section.

    So just as a hiker gets footsore and weary, so too do I get heartsick driving to work rather than the trail head.
    I find myself wishing I was using gear myself instead of sewing it for others.
    But ultimately it was my choice. I can always reexamine my choice and change it. Other than death, no choice is irreversible.
    But having made the choice... putting one foot in front of the other remains the only way to cover ground I know of.

    For me; it was not a noble ideal to sit on that distant mountain top deep in connection with the wilds.
    It was an easy path, an escape. In it's fullness was an emptiness of it's own.

    Ideally when next I stand there I will have family, children, and hopefully... my fellow humans.
    After all, if my fellow humans choose not to also love the wild places and protect them...
    As I said earlier; if your neighbors home is in poor condition, then so is yours.

    Mitakuye Oyasin

    There is no such thing as Native American philosophy or religion. Each nation, each tribe, and each individual has their own path. Though I find this concept fairly universal.
    I choose the Sioux spelling as it's a language and knowledge better known, and in that language that phrase translates roughly into;
    'We are all related, we are all one'.

    All means all. From Mother Earth on down to brother mosquito. Despite all our gains we have failed to see our relation to the world around us, and walk further from that connection each day.
    If there is a source of universal heartsickness among humans I suspect this is the source.
    I also suspect that many who visit the woods find themselves slapped in the face with it... and hurt deeply in a way they can't put their finger on when they return.

    But don't despair for your neighbors, or look to find better ones. Nor can you seek to simply hole up in a cave.
    Being a functioning cog in a broken machine is hard on the soul.
    As any wise solo backpacker will tell you; if your trip sucks maybe you need better company.
    About all you can realistically do is to fix up your own house. It is all you truly have control of.
    In finding balance in your small part of the world, you tip the balance of the whole world.

    Not in a boastful american pride sort of way in feeding your ego by being a good example to your fellow man.
    Nor in the overly zealous environmental or religious way that shames your fellow man with your supposed piety.
    But in the native american way that shows us that it is not the great noble lone tree on some hill, but the many many trees together that make the forest.
    It is the forest that makes the ecosystem, the all who are related who dwell there that make it healthy.
    And that healthy balance that makes it one, makes it whole.

  5. #15
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    Dude, thank you so much for that "treatment". I'm not so sure we're all interconnected nor am I about the 'progress' in our modern society you mention. I think we are overpopulating this planet to the point we cannot stand each other, and loose this 'interconnection' you mention. But I, like everyone else, will have to be part of this. I suspect it will be to the detriment of nature, because what you see and feel on the 'trail', or 'trip' (personally I do not like much to follow trails), you quickly forget back home.
    As for the spouse and kids, I think it is hard to share experiences in general with other people, whoever they may be. But you are right: going by oneself has its limits.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to answer my threads, as I think it is not the first time. I will look into the native American's culture. I thought there wasn't much of it left, especially as far as the language is concerned, but I am not an expert.

  6. #16

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    Just a note, I'm pretty sure mtngeronimo meant the "PTSD" as a joke -- PTSD normally stands for post-traumatic stress disorder (as in what soldiers or victims of violent crime experience). Still, it's a joke that has some truth.

    Personally, I do feel some disconnectedness and sadness on returning from a trip, and I suspect it has a lot to do with feeling overwhelmed with "stuff". Life while traveling is so simple, partly because there is much less between you and nature. So trying to pare down the "stuff" in one's life -- material, or even psychological -- to experience nature more regularly can be helpful. Of course there is more to it but that is one aspect.

    I have not gotten to travel in France (other than connecting through the Paris airport -- doesn't count!), but there are nice areas of Europe where one can go experience the woods, mountains, and more. It does seem, however, that there are less natural spaces next to or within populated areas. We, too, have the "leftover" lands made into parks, but also some wilder lands that may have been logged or farmed but then are left to grow back into their natural state. Does that make it harder to "escape" in France?

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rouskof View Post
    Dude, thank you so much for that "treatment". I'm not so sure we're all interconnected nor am I about the 'progress' in our modern society you mention. I think we are overpopulating this planet to the point we cannot stand each other, and loose this 'interconnection' you mention. But I, like everyone else, will have to be part of this. I suspect it will be to the detriment of nature, because what you see and feel on the 'trail', or 'trip' (personally I do not like much to follow trails), you quickly forget back home.
    As for the spouse and kids, I think it is hard to share experiences in general with other people, whoever they may be. But you are right: going by oneself has its limits.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to answer my threads, as I think it is not the first time. I will look into the native American's culture. I thought there wasn't much of it left, especially as far as the language is concerned, but I am not an expert.
    Yar...

    Something to keep in mind, is that interconnection is not a positive or negative word in and of itself.

    Overpopulation is an issue period, that affects the planet as a whole.
    Humans are one species of many, and we do operate to the detriment of the rest.


    So you can visit the woods, feel your connection to it, experience your small part of it, and feel positively.

    You can then return to the city, and feel the disharmony more dramatically... and feel excessively negatively about it.


    That higher high, and lower low is a general descriptor long periods of time spent outdoors.
    It's also something scientists study in many forms... it may even turn out that nature may be the cure to many of our societal issues.


    What all of our goal should be is to bring that feeling of balance back home with us. It's not all bad, or all good.

    You can talk interconnection like a peace loving flower child or like a biologist. The mice may not be happy to be eaten by the owl... but they sure are interconnected. They are also in balance. I'm more the biologist than the hand holding hippie.


    Humans don't have 'an owl' swooping in to keep us in check and we are the only species on the planet who violates that general rule... but perhaps not as well or cleverly as we think.

    Interconnection works in many ways; including returning to an overpopulated, unhappy, dispirited city after the relative clarity of the woods. As I said; if your neighbor is unhappy, so too are you. You could give that level of connection whatever weight you'd like... from a simple feeling of tension or a true connection to your fellow man on as deep a level as you'd care to assign it.

    Regardless- nothing is all bad or all good.

    I do find it interesting that this post trip depression that has been more discussed among outdoors folks is also being studied by science. We did not evolve to be urban animals, and for those of us who slip back and forth between those two habitats seem more affected than others by the issue. You can ignore the peace and love hippie bullshart if you like and focus on that.

    Native Americans... Socrates and Plato are no longer living breathing folks with culture to study... but the ideas still exist. That's a more valuable way to look at the ideas in my opinion. Much as you might consider Buddhism without seeking out some Tibetians to go live with. Really; Buddhism, native American philosophy, many celtic, welsh, and Nordic countries have similar ideas. Ironically, many areas of science are starting to recognize and/or apply those ideas effectively. Look up 'forest bathing' for one example.

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