As contemporary humans living in cities and walking around on mostly pavement, we have desensitized ourselves to being mindful of nature. Do you look where you’re stepping? Are you careful of the ecosystems beneath your feet?
We are usually wearing thick-soled shoes, heals, boots, and the like so that we can’t feel what’s under our feet.
In contrast, in the wilderness, there are ecosystems everywhere beneath our feet. This requires a different mind set from that of being in a city or town. It requires more mindfulness.
Right relationship with the wilderness in practice
In a recent backpacking trip, I was in a group that was moving very quickly, taking branches right off the trees and fixin’ to build a fire in a fire pit where a rose bush was growing. Meanwhile, I like to move slowly in the wilderness. I like to for permission, and to gather what has already been released (dead branches, leaves, and grasses on the ground) instead of snatching branches off of living trees.
Moving in the city is not the same as moving in the wilderness. The wild requires a relationship of reciprocity and respect. It requires moving slowly and intentionally.
Walking in a sacred manner is taking the “leave no trace” philosophy of National Outdoor Leadership School to the next level in service of being in right relationship with Mother Earth.
The big picture
I believe that creating this respectful relationship with Earth can help us with our relationships with other humans. Specifically, asking permission and being respectful can help us to walk the talk of “consent culture.”
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