Every day, we receive messages on climate change. Social media, TV commercials and news reports are reminding us that we’ve done a poor job of taking care of the earth and now there’s a price to pay. Wildfires, flooding, earthquakes and droughts can be very overwhelming and certainly alarming. What I’ve noticed is that despite the cause for concern, the closer you are to observing how resilient nature can be, the more likely you are to take a keen interest in its homeostasis.
Bite sized digital detoxes make a difference
Most of the world’s population lives in urban centres, the prime location to live and breathe the caustic effects of pollution. Poor air quality, excessive light, constant noise and non-stop microwave emissions, all take a toll on our physical and mental well being. Our body and mind can often be affected by these various types of pollution and sometimes, it all goes unnoticed until you take a break from it. It wasn’t all that long ago that we started hearing about, “digital detox vacations” or “wellness retreats”, in a desperate attempt to give our mind a chance to reboot. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great idea to disconnect from your device to reconnect with nature. Heck, we’re trying to make a living off this concept. Although, these breaks can be taken in smaller, bite size pieces, on a daily basis to reap in the benefits more often.
Explore Nature In Your Own Backyard – And Really Listen
When was the last time you took a walk in an urban park? When we lived in Walnut Grove (Langley), I used to take the dogs for walks at Derby Reach Regional Park. A great little trail system only a stone’s throw away from our house. We’d walk along the river and do little more than listen to the sound of the water while we got our daily exercise. Now, take it one step further…turn OFF your phone. I know, that’s really scary, but try it, just for 30 minutes…you’ll be ok. Phew! Good job!
Now I’m going to throw another crazy idea your way…listen, really listen to all the different noises coming at you. One by one, try to tune out the artificial noise; cars, sirens, people on their phones, construction equipment, planes in the sky, and tune in to the sounds provided by nature. The wind in the leaves, the birds chirping, the squirrels scurrying about on a tree trunk. Can you hear it? It’s there, but you really need to listen. That’s the difference between urban settings and living in the heart of nature.
At Ruth Lake Lodge Resort, we have to strain to hear city noise. We are enveloped by sounds provided by nature. More sounds than you can imagine. Sounds that may conjure up distant childhood memories of vacations at the lake or summer camp. Guests often share their stories of how this place reminds them of something that happened, “so long ago” they’d forgotten. Research shows the sense of smell is the one most tied to our memories, and yet I firmly believe sound comes in at a close second. Not everyone can settle into the peacefulness of a wilderness setting. Some people are quite unnerved by the feeling of being disconnected from technology. We’re so used to feeling in high demand from non-stop notifications, that when we start realizing no one can get a hold of us it seems uncomfortable to the point of anxiousness.
Realizing a Care-Free Childhood Was The Best Kind of Childhood
Yet, many of us had that kind of childhood. No cell phones, no computers, no helicopter parents, just simple freedom of navigating life using our wits without a GPS. I had that kind of childhood. Living on a farm in rural Ontario. Getting on my bike to go town and hang out with my friends. As long as I came home for dinner, I don’t remember my mom being too worried about me. Plus, when you’re from a small town, everyone is watching whether you realize it or not. If you’re getting into trouble, your parents know before you get home. That much freedom taught me simple things like being responsible for my own safety.
Recognizing dangerous situations and hopefully, taking the right action to avoid that danger. Skills that have come in handy when you share space with wildlife. Testing boundaries and learning from mistakes. Most of my friends had similar childhoods and we all brag about how, despite partaking in some pretty sketchy activities, we turned out ok. We’re often quick to judge how kids today live their lives. But let’s be honest, it’s not necessarily any better or any worse than how we lived…it’s just different.
The world has changed, and the generations are changing right along with it. That is what’s supposed to happen. Our parents and grandparents lived different lives than we did. Our children and grandchildren are forging their own path. We simply hope that if the best of your childhood was living freely, enjoying moments in nature, embracing the joy of being a little wild, then next time you’re with your kids or grandkids, take them on a journey through sound. Share your fond memories. Let them hear a crazy story from your childhood. Reach out, hold their hand, and cherish the moment.