For two weeks we leave our 3,000 sq ft abode for our 150 sq foot home on wheels. Leaving behind all we think we need for precisely what we do need to live while we explore nature in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, my birth and ancestral home.
Being limited by weight as well as space we are careful in our choosing and yet there is always something we find that in the end, we really don’t need: too many clothes, food not eaten, a book not read. Traveling by canoe, we have lived with less. Hiking for a month, just 16 pounds of essentials. Even then, there are items not used.
There is a feeling of inner peace and comfort with a touch of pride in challenging myself this way. I imagine if I am alone, I would live with much less, but I tell myself with spouse and family, kids, and grandkids, who knows what I might need? Does the goose traveling the lake before me need more for the five goslings who follow her? Does the wood duck build a bigger home for her brood? Do I accumulate for an unknown future? Do I hold on to objects to keep the past close at hand?
I wonder, am I going into the wild or am I traveling in such a way that the wild might come into me? As I travel my ancestral land, memories surface wanting to be let go, dreams arrive asking for release. The more I release from within, the more I take in and, as each day lightens my load, I realize the space for awareness of the world around me.
Freedom, as we distance from our accumulation, is living in the present. All that I see around me in this moment: the blue sky, Red Pine, deer, geese, the waterfall, and the path I walk on, the ripple in the water, the reflection of the rock, water I carry, lunch when eaten. All become a part of me, all that I truly see. As I travel, I feel larger somehow, a feeling of expansion arises from within. Joy and gratitude flourish.
Still at water’s edge Goose calls her goslings to swim Heart opens in joy.
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”Anita Desai
“It is not what you look at that matters. It is what you see.”Henry David Thoreau
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ongoing Resource List: Reading for the Heart and the Mind
- The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
- Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
- A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
- Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
- I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
- Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
- The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
- Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
- Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
- The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
- Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
- Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
- Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
- I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
- Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
- On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
- Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
- Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
- The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
- Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
- Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
- Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
- Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson