It seems like a lifetime since having to wake up to an alarm clock every morning, standing in the shower trying to convince myself I was awake then jumping in the car and feeling myself tense up at the thought of sitting in one spot for the next 8 to 9 hours. Working a job I had to do rather than having the choice to do, well we all actually have choice but convince ourselves we don’t, waiting for 5 O’clock to jump in the car to battle the traffic home, eat dinner, watch a bit of TV and think about getting ready for bed to repeat the process tomorrow.
I was having issues with anxiety on a daily basis. My blood pressure was high, along with many other health issues. I was a grown man but I had to ask for permission to leave early or have a day off.
What I have typed above is considered a good responsible life. The problem is the good wasn’t so great.
It’s been over a year ago since that life. I think I have woken to an alarm clock twice since then. I now naturally wake at between 5:30am and 7:30am most days but get to lay in bed for a while and day dream a little while my body naturally wakes up. I then get to enjoy my breakfast without the rush and my mind begins to focus on the day ahead where I make my decisions as to what to do with it. Oh and I haven’t felt anxious in close to a year. My last visit to the Dr was meet with the comment, well whatever you are doing keep doing it, your blood pressure has come down.
A while back I began to realise something. I am living what I can only describe as a natural life. I can distinctly remember about 6 months ago having to set an alarm clock to be somewhere the next morning and it really highlighted the stress it put on my body after not having to wake to one for some time. The other thing that stood out is I didn’t seem to sleep so well knowing that the alarm was going to ring at some stage and my bed seemed so much more cosier than the alternative of having to get up to something that seemed pointless.
This made me think about everything else I used to do or experience during my previous life. I thought, surely this must be having some effect on my body. I would be forced into the day with a sudden burst of an alarm, I remember the feeling of my body and mind trying to pull itself into existence while standing in the shower. Then the tightening of my shoulders and stomach as I backed the car out of the driveway. None of this felt natural.
Once I had been through that morning ritual I was then met with artificial lighting, a computer screen and a very large lack of movement throughout the day as I was desk bound to accomplish the thing I was good at. I started to realise I was spending more of my woken life with people I didn’t really know apart from typical work companion conversations. My family? They certainly didn’t get the best out of me because the time I got to spend with them I was either tired or me needing space to unwind.
As I type this blog I am sitting in our bus looking out the window surrounded by native bush and fields of lush green grass. I have been walking around in bare feet in the long wet grass with a smile on my face feeling my body relax even more while a light shower of rain falls.
It feels as though this environment was created just for us to enjoy and relax in. There is something about being surrounded by the green and the natural light and even the rain and the fresh smell of wet grass and trees that just feels right.
Even though we are exploring New Zealand, the places that seem to have the most profound effect on me is the beaches and the bush areas away from the hustle and bustle of a concrete jungle, the busy traffic, the sirens, and people continually rushing from A to B feeling the need to justify having done something “beneficial” with their day. To live “the normal” life.
I am no longer convinced that is the normal life. My life feels more natural and normal than it ever has. My body responds better to this life. Even my understanding of work has changed drastically. I feel like I accomplish more in an hour and have more satisfaction of what I have done with my day than I ever did when living the 9 to 5. I feel like we have been duped into believing that’s normal and are missing the sense of waking each day with real purpose and a sense of creating your life rather than following the script.
I still work on computers but in my time and the environment of my choosing which has created a new lease of life and sense of creativity when I boot up my computer (not to mention the hourly rate is much more favorable working by contract). What we currently believe is productive is actually not and a 40 hour work week can be accomplished in 11 hours if managed differently. If you research the history if the 40 hour work week you will find it was introduced to encourage consumerism. As an exercise sometime write a list of everything you own, then work out how much time you use that object. I have helped move houses and I am continually astounded at the amount of times I have been asked, “oh just pop those boxes in storage”. You worked hard to earn the money to fill those boxes with stuff. Most of which you probably purchased because it made you feel happy for a moment.
Even writing this blog I feel at a total loss to put words to how I now see life each day. I could never type how I feel on the inside or explain to any degree how amazing this life is now it feels more natural.
I would never say everyone has to move into a bus. But I would say we are designed for a natural life, and this has been proven over and over with the evidence of how living a more natural life effects health and happiness.
So if you work in an office or in a busy environment I would strongly encourage you to take a wellness day or three and make your way out of the city and find a place of solitude surrounded by nature and stop and breathe and notice what happens when you do.
For me it was a matter of make change or die young, words of my doctor. I am hoping to research more about the effects of stress in the world we live in as one year away living a more natural life and I can’t even begin to describe the change it has made.