It has been some time since I made my last posting. When I started my blog, I made an agreement with myself. I wanted to post an article every 10 days or so. This was not an unreasonable request that I asked of myself. It was not intended to put pressure on me. Rather, it was activated by the need to set up a creative process for myself so that I could reflect on relevant issues and/or examine topics of interest.
I remember my college days when assignments had to be done. There was a lot of pressure on one to ensure that due dates were met. I remember working long into the nights preceding the due date. And then there was the relief once you handed the assignment in, only to be confronted with the next project. It was a never-ending cycle of ups and downs as pressure and relief exchanged places over time. But as I think of this pattern now, the relief was only an illusion since completing one assignment moved you onto the next assignment. There was no respite from the on-going demands. You constantly had to be doing things, producing things; and with it there was this constant pressure that underpinned the process. The academic process was also wrapped up in an evaluation and critique process. And this usually heightened the intensity.
For many of us, work demands are no different. I consult with clients who often use the metaphor of ‘being like a rat on a treadmill’ to explain how they feel about the pressures of their lives. They hanker to get off the treadmill, yet lack the courage to act to even slow down a little so that they can take stock of how they are ‘doing’ (or living) life. They fear that they will be ‘left behind’ or ‘not achieve success’ if they just stop for a brief moment. Usually, it is crisis that throws a spanner in their works and catapults them off the treadmill.
I have just returned from a visit to the Pilansberg Nature Reserve. I always find that I am able to regenerate my energies in nature. I don’t have to do anything for this to occur. I just have to be in nature. It feels as if nature makes no demands on me. From this perspective, I feel that nature treats me differently to how I tend to treat myself.
Linking to nature, I wondered what ‘being in work’ means. And if there was a relationship between doing and being, what would it be? As I pondered this, I sensed that ‘being’ did not necessarily exclude ‘doing’. In fact, ‘being’ could be equated to a special kind of ‘doing’ – a doing without any resistance. Elite athletes are aware of this special kind of doing, where their energies flow effortlessly in challenging competitive situations.
Being in the zone is where nature constantly finds itself. Nature doesn’t have to do anything to be something. And that is why being in nature can be such a regenerating experience.