6 Ways to Rewild Yourself Now.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Last year when the fight against a pandemic ruled our world – and in most countries across the globe the battle is even more alive now – we could witness unusual images as a result of the global shutdown.

As human activity stilled and people were locked down in their homes and an unprecedented silence entered metropolitan cities, wildlife responded. Wild horses appeared in the streets of Sarajevo, jackals in the heart of Tel Aviv, deer were wandering in forests during daylight, female loggerhead turtles could undisturbingly lay her eggs at closed beaches. Smoggy air turned into cleaner skies, polluted rivers turned into clearer waters. All of a sudden silence ruled the chaotic world and natural conservation could exist without human interference.

You may even say the pandemic has been a demonstration that we are not apart, but a part of the natural world. We are a part of a larger complex natural ecosystem. And our human impact is valid.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Material world

Re-wilding the world starts with re-wilding ourselves. We are so accustomed to spending most of our time indoors in air-conditioned and central heated houses and offices. We hardly know how cold or heat feels anymore. In our modern lives we often do sedentary work, we sit in front of computer screens most of the day. We watch our Twitter timeline to see the latest dramatic events in the world. We read our newspapers and magazines on the same computer screens. We let in the noise of the digital world, where conspiracies, fake news and sensational stories spread across the world straight into our living rooms. Stories that don’t seem to unite, but divide the world. Modern and fast lives, in which the connection with the natural world is completely lost. Because we are too busy living these lives. We feel that we are a part of a material world, separated from the natural world.

Bliss

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are small things we can do, on a daily basis, to bring back the connection with nature, re-wilding ourselves, because deep down the connection is there. How do we otherwise explain the joy we feel when we walk in a forest and we see deer grazing? I felt it the other day, the fresh winter air on my cheeks and the scent of dewy leaves, while I walked through the forest and dunes and young deer were running off from the distance. Pure bliss. Peace. These serene moments in the forest make us forget our mundane troubles. 

Here’s what we can do to re-wild ourselves, to end the lost connection with the natural world:

Go outside

Turn off the noise of screens and televisions and walk in the park or in the forest. 

Fill your lungs with the cleanest air. Immerse yourself in nature and watch the birds and look for their names. 

Be powered by ass, not gas

Take your bike for transport and use those strong legs to get you from A to B. Feel the wind in your hair. Breathe in the fresh air.

Get your fuel free of pesticides and plastic

Eat vegetables from a local organic farmer or a local market. Who actually wants eggplants sprayed with pesticides that kill biodiversity and which are wrapped in plastic? The dreadful amount of plastic packaging in supermarkets is hard to watch.

Re-connect with the animal kingdom

“Change our diets into mostly plant-based diets. The planet can’t support billions of meat eaters,” David Attenborough says in A Life on Our Planet and he isn’t the first conservationist and environmentalist who claims this. 

In this way we also help prevent wildlife’s habitat, like the Amazon and Brazil’s Cerrado, from being destroyed and counter deforestation.

We help making an end to factory farms which has normalized animal suffering and the killing of tens of billions of animals, like 50 billion chickens plus tens of billions of fish and shellfish each year.

Our connection to animal lives is completely lost, we consider them as food, as objects, and not as sentient beings. We keep denying their suffering and keep our heads buried in the sand. To reconnect with the animal world and to protect wildlife’s habitat, we have to change our diet and stop the animal holocaust. 

Be the gatekeeper your mind needs

We can be easily bombarded and become overwhelmed by the news each day if we’re not careful. Especially in these pandemic times the stream of negativity that flows into our world is dramatic. Watching the news, it doesn’t bring you anything, but misery. I’d rather read a good book or a well written article about the topics I care.

Really can’t miss the news updates? Allocate a time frame, for example an hour in the afternoon. If you’d rather want to keep your spirits high than low, don’t start the mornings with watching or reading the news. To me, there isn’t a worse way of starting my day.  

Feed your soul, don’t poison it.

Again, in these unusual and depressing times, we need to be extra watchful how we feed our souls. Caring for ourselves and each other is what we have to do now. Let’s surround us with people who want us to grow and who want the best for us, and vice versa. Support each other. Go for walks together. Read books that inspire. Have dreams and goals you’d like to work on. 

Grief need not harden us. It can open us. It can remind us that our highest duty is to maintain a harmonious relationship between people, nature, and spirit. ~ Nadia Owusu 

Con Amor,

Eva

Illustration by Vanessa Rose Graham

When You’re Struggling, Remember these “Eat, Pray, Love” Words by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I can sense the restlessness that drives many of us these days. A restlessness I’m familiar with. Moving to a new place on a new island, working on new projects within a pandemic world, and moving house again, to a tiny, basic, off-grid home in development, don’t make 2020 a particularly easy ride.

There’s insecurity and chaos after so many people lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic and who are facing troubled times right now. Although you can’t lose a job you don’t have — it’s another way of saying that I don’t have a “real job” –  I can sense the restlessness that drives many of us these days.

A restlessness I’m familiar with. Moving to a new place on a new island, working on new projects within a pandemic world, and moving house again, to a tiny, basic, off-grid home in development, don’t make 2020 a particularly easy ride. 

I didn’t fully realize it until recently, but these past eight months have been a bit of a struggle, mostly with myself. More than before I see obstacles on the road. Every thing I do, feels like an effort and somehow I need time in the morning before I can start the day with a positive mindset. During these last months I wanted to cry and let my water run free, just to let it all out, but I just couldn’t. 

Several times I felt tears burning in my throat, but I couldn’t release them. Then the other day, all of a sudden, I started sobbing and, finally, I could let my bottled up tears go. The strange thing is, I didn’t even know why. I couldn’t explain to my partner what was going on and somehow without words he knew that I only needed his firm, loving arms around me. 

Then I sobbed because of “everything”: my mother who lives alone while I’m living in another country and I can’t support her. My dad who passed away many years ago and who I miss so much. The fear something bad happens to my partner. Family members, who are ill. Our suffering planet. People’s greed that destroy the natural world. Hunger. The exploitation of animals. Refugee men, women and children, who are living miserable lives in refugee camps in Lesbos, Greece. I have read urgent, poignant stories about this crisis; it’s complete darkness without the tiniest sparkle of light and hope to a better future. Really, these stories leave you with a heavy heart in your comfortable home.

Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’?  I thought, this must be the book that would lift me up from my melancholia. I was about to finish this soul-searching story when a gripping paragraph caught my attention and its writer – she’s so funny too – just poured me a warm cup of comforting tea. In Elizabeth Gilbert’s words I read something that needs to be saved to let them be a guidance on gloomy days.

“They (Zen Buddhists) say that an oak tree is brought into creation by two forces at the same time. Obviously, there is the acorn from which it all begins, the seed which holds all the promise and potential, which grows into the tree. Everybody can see that. 

But only a few can recognize that there is another force operating here as well — the future tree itself, which wants so badly to exist that it pulls the acorn into being, drawing the seedling forth with longing out of the void, guiding the evolution from nothingness to maturity. 

In this respect, say the Zens, it is the oak tree that creates the very acorn from which it was born. 

I think about the woman I have become lately, about the life that I am now living, and about how much I always wanted to be this person and live this life, liberated from the farce of pretending to be anyone other than myself. 

I think of everything I endured before getting here and wonder if it was me – I mean, this happy and balanced me, who is now dozing on the deck of this small Indonesian fishing boat — who pulled the other, younger, more confused and more struggling me forward during all those hard years. 

The younger me was the acorn full of potential, but it was the older me, the already-existent oak, who was saying the whole time: “Yes – grow!  Change! Evolve! Come and meet me here, where I already exist in wholeness and maturity! I need you to grow into me!” 

And maybe it was this present and fully actualized me, who was hovering four years ago over that young married sobbing girl on the bathroom floor and maybe it was this me, who whispered lovingly into that desperate girl’s ear, “Go back to bed, Liz..” Knowing already that everything would be OK, that everything would eventually bring us together here.”

I guess I still have to meet my older me, the balanced woman who navigates on trust, the already-existent oak tree. 

Or could it be, she did arrive the other day and whispers to me: “You are growing. You will get there. You are resilient. If you feel bad, don’t fight it. Cry if you want to, life isn’t about being happy all the time. Life is about living every single moment. Life is about growing; through happy and sad times. Be with your grief. Don’t feel ashamed for your tears and the mountains you need to climb that feel too high for you right now. Do it step by step. Don’t be afraid. Trust. Everything will be OK.”

Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for planting this seed!

Con Amor,

Eva

The Small Treats in Life, Friendship and Love.

Yesterday it was my dear old friend’s 45th birthday and I called her to hear her voice again and to congratulate her with another fabulous year. I had to send her a Patsy and Eddie picture first. These two women are still so hilarious and some bothering negative feelings you might have, will melt as snow in the sun by even watching one picture of them.

My friend was having a beautiful and very hot day on a boat in the canals of Amsterdam with her family and parents. We don’t speak each other that often, but we still feel involved with each other’s lives which are very different, you could say total opposite. As dear friends we wish each other happiness and love, and the fact that our lives are so different, isn’t an obstacle for being such good friends.

No rainbows and kittens

I told her on the phone life on Mallorca isn’t always rainbows and kittens. I was complaining a bit about the scorching heat we’re having for weeks now and that I’m longing for our new place where we will have true privacy which is so important to me and that we’re lacking at home. Making progress though.

We have a lot to do, but with this super hot summer, every action I undertake, costs me lots of effort; it’s tiring. So I was telling her all this very honestly. You can’t be in a happy place with yourself constantly. There are ups and downs and I must say quite some downs in the past year. Last Saturday, for example, I had a bad day. I didn’t feel good physically, having some problems with my gut-system and digestion again (which can also make you feel depressed by the way) and I felt extremely tired. I spent most of the day in bed, sleeping, and didn’t even feel like reading a book, while books are my favourite things. On such days, I mostly have negative thoughts. I never realise it at the moment, but luckily it never takes very long, one or maybe two days, and it’s over again. 

Hours of cycling

When I called her, I wasn’t totally over it. Dorus and I decided to go to the beach. I told my friend that the beach is so far away (another complaint) as we have our bicycles that have to take us there, which is fully our choice though. The nearest beach is at least 1,5 hours cycling. So to have a cool, fresh, deeply desired dip in the sea on these hot summer days, we have to cycle at least three hours. It’s funny when you used to have the sea right in front of you and it used to be so easy to go for a swim on a hot afternoon.

Yet, I love cycling (not at midday in August..) and how exhausting it sometimes is, it’s also a kind of therapy for me. I’m moving, breathing fresh, rural air, sweating and healing from my negative feelings. After I called my friend it was already late in the afternoon, but Dorus and I decided to cycle and try another beach this time. First we would stop in Llucmajor, a small town half way, to have an Americano (a black coffee) with a scoop of icecream in it…our favourite treat lately. We do this constantly…telling each other “after we moved these stones, we’ll get ourselves a cold drink” or, “after building this piece of wall we are allowed to rest and have a coffee” or — even better — “we go to the motorbike restaurant in Algaida, Los Ultimos Mohicanos, to have patatas bravas and veggie burgers (the best)!” Things like that. We “need” it somehow, these hot months when we’re working on our home project. It keeps us motivated.

Don’t trust Google Maps

We never reached the beach. We cycled a long time, the route was taking us along animal farms and rural homes, but there wasn’t a quiet road that could take us to the beach. The sun was almost setting  and when Google Maps was taking us to a private home and area which was supposed to be on our route, we decided not to pass and to return. An old friendly farmer came and closed his gate, the path Google said we had to go. This is not my first time that Google Maps takes me to private areas on Mallorca which I’m supposed to pass, but obviously aren’t public routes at all. Maybe next time we need to take the busy car road to get to Sa Ràpita, the beach we wanted to go. 

Sure, I could be pissed off for not reaching the beach and to wash all the sweat and stickiness off of me in the sea, but instead we both smiled, ate a juicy apple and decided to go back. We returned to the cozy square of Llucmajor with its terraces and ate some patatas fritas we both fancied. These things make me happy. I had a delicious gazpacho Andaluz (Andalusian cold tomato soup) and olives too. I can’t get enough of these fruity, tasty tomatoes here. 

Miles away 

I was thinking of what I said to my friend on the phone earlier that day. The negativity, the doubts of what I’m doing here on Mallorca, it seemed already miles away. Yet, I know it will come back, it won’t end, and that’s okay. Meanwhile, I know what works for me to wash away these uncomfortable feelings this summer: cycling and stop for a coffee with a scoop of ice cream, a Spanish terrace at night, and the love from those around me (close and further away) and last, but not least, having a plan. And yes, a dip in the sea would be very much appreciated too.

Green Gorillas

In the meantime we’re working on our Green Gorillas project as well. In October, if the Coronavirus let us, we organise a Tiny House Build and Sustainable Living Course in France at Howard’s country home. Vanessa, our Green Gorilla friend, moved to our land some weeks ago and is living there temporarily in her tent. With these hot temperatures it’s probably the best place to be at night. She’s such a smart young woman, a great help, a talented illustrator, incredible movie-maker and sweet friend.

Watch here the video Vanessa made together with Dorus! 

https://youtu.be/kVGDVevZ8G4

Con Amor,

Eva

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