I would identify forests as my place of peace and hiking as my spirit high activity. It is when I am in the realm of nature that creativity flourishes, thoughts seem to become more ordered and prayers more pure. I understand that we are all created in unique ways; however, I don’t believe that anyone was designed to remain encapsulated in the mayhem of a city without surfacing for air every now and then. Here are three vital reasons why making time for the great outdoors, where social media doesn’t exist, should be a necessity rather than a suggested leisurely activity.
1. Boredom ignites creativity
We no longer allow ourselves to become bored and have been convinced that an activity like sitting under a tree in a park, with nothing in our hands, is unproductive. For many, a stroll through trees or a swim in the salty sea becomes dull fast. Although, what we should realize is that is the point. In just the last few years, several research based articles have been written testifying to the necessity of boredom. Between work, family and friend time, television and social media, it is rare for one to even recall boredom. I would adamantly attest to the truth of those articles, professing boredom as fundamental to not only our sanity, but also the unlocking of creativity. It is when the mind is not consumed by distraction that the wheels begin turning and the Creator intended imagination comes alive.
2. The Practice of Living in the Present
I admit that I have been a victim of caption obsession. Rather than indulging in the moment of stillness, I begin thinking up a spot-on caption for the stunning photos I just took. There have even been times where I actually looked forward to returning to 4G zone so that the posting of photos could begin. I have learned now how to quickly catch myself in this act and essentially burn those thoughts to the ground. This issue aside, there is another. We are consistently replaying moments from the past, or designing unrealistic expectations for the future. Very rarely do we ever think in the present. I have found, however, that when we are experiencing a place of nature for the first time, we are most capable of being entirely present. If our brain is not familiar with the surroundings, our senses heighten and it is when our senses are fully engaged that we are experiencing that moment to its fullest. Go in search of a new park to lounge in, forest to explore or overlook to mindfully pray atop.
3. Breaking our Social Media Addictions
I also, have fallen victim to spending an embarrassingly large amount of my hike in search of the perfect photo, while honing my thoughts in on the perfect caption to match it. That is an addiction. We have forgotten how to simply absorb our surroundings. Instead, we seem to be on an obsessive search to formulate the most impressive story. What if we turned our phones off? What if we leave them at home? Just maybe we could allow our senses to fully take in our surrounding, to care for and think something other than our popularity on social media. The addiction is in fact breakable. How about we prove to ourselves that there is more value in this world we are living in than the value we find in numbers of likes.
Whether it be sitting in a tree, under a tree, walking around a lake five times or summiting a random hill, let go of the to do list and embrace the simplicity.