When I interviewed for my job at a nonprofit conservation organization I joked that nature was my religion.
It might not have been the most tactful thing to say in a job interview, but it was true, and I have a bit of reputation for being blunt.
What I mean is, when I’m lost or confused or need to get back on track I usually go on a hike. Sometimes it’s a painful experience, but it’s a form of meditation for me. When I’m in the woods or on the prairie I feel connected to the world around me. My thoughts are clearer, I breathe easier and I usually return home with a greater sense of clarity about what I need to do next.
I grew up on a farm in Mitchellville, Iowa, so nature has always been a part of my life. I wasn’t a particularly outdoorsy kid, although I spent a lot of time reading under trees, staring up at the stars and trespassing in my neighbor’s woodland. I loved exploring and even though I didn’t always know what I was looking at, I felt comfortable and at peace in nature. Like I could just be myself.
In college I started hiking a little bit more, camping a little bit more and became an environmentalist. I know a lot of people think that’s a dirty word, and since I’ve started working in the field I’ve adopted the term conservationist. I believe strongly in protecting the Earth. I also believe that it’s not only possible for everyone to have a deep connection to the Earth, but that it’s incredibly important.
So that’s what this blog is all about. I want to help you deepen your connection to the Earth. I want to help you learn to live in the present moment. I want you to benefit from spending time in nature.
Spending more time in nature is going to help you in a lot of ways. It will make you healthier both mentally and physically, relieve your stress, help you become more productive, connect you to the world around you, lessen your risk for life-threatening diseases and the list goes on and on.
Okay, so, we get that you like nature Terra… but what is with all this minimalism stuff and how did you end up doing this?
Long story short, I was in a long-term relationship for six years. The relationship last through a good portion of my teens and early twenties. I was unhappy in the relationship, and knew I was unhappy because thoughts came bubbling up every time I would do yoga or hike or go on a long run. They just did. And as a result I avoided those activities and I was miserable.
Until one day I took a hike that forced me to face the reality of my situation. I was unhappy. I was not going to get happier. I was causing harm to myself, my partner, my family and friends and I was not living authentically. When the relationship ended I did not handle things well, but eventually I greatly increased the amount of time I was spending outside.
Spending that time outside led me to begin running again. It deepened my connection to the world around me and helped me understand what my purpose was. I learned more about things that interested me. I grew passions. I adopted a minimalism lifestyle in accordance with the beliefs I gained from my time in nature. Essentially, I healed, or began healing. I started to feel a whole lot more like me. And that is exactly what I want for you.
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Terra Ash Bruxvoort is a Des Moines based freelance writer. She is pursuing an MS in Sustainable Management and holds a BA in English and Nonprofit Management. You can learn more about her services at ashbruxvoort.com or you can get in touch with her through email.