Living in harmony

I live in a culture that thinks ‘business as usual’ is by default, a good thing. It is part of how western culture expresses its power over nature that it can carry on regardless of what the weather is doing. We don’t shorten our working days when the nights draw in. We put our lives at risk driving through ice and heavy rain to get to work. And if you had an outdoor activity planned and there’s a heat wave, slap on the sunblock and carry on as usual! There’s mounting evidence to suggest that sunblock won’t stop you getting skin cancer. Removing the natural warning sign of sore, red skin, you may get a higher level of cell damage and never know there was a problem.

Go into a pharmacist and you’ll find all kinds of ways to mop up the symptoms of illness. Dry up your cold. Suppress the cough. Hold back the diarrhea and get back to the office. Never mind that these are the means by which your body is trying to get poisons and diseases out of your body. You also need antiperspirant, so as not to smell bad or look damp. Never mind that sweating is a way of dealing with overheating, never mind that sweat smells bad because we’re getting toxins out of our bodies. Sweating is antisocial and should be stopped so that we are better able to be crammed into tight, airless spaces without offending each other’s nostrils.

Triumphing over nature – be that the weather, or our own bodies, is part of what makes modern western culture the way it is. To go faster, do more, be awake longer, travel further, and never stop being busy, we do all kinds of things that are not natural and suppress rather than answering our physical and emotional needs. It’s worth looking at how this manifests in your life.

I use caffeine to push my brain and body when I’m tired and should be resting. I use electrical light to extend my day, despite how much better I like natural gloom and sleeping a lot in the winter. I can’t get enough done that way. I buy some pre-processed food because cooking absolutely everything from scratch takes so long (Biscuits and cakes, sauces, rice cakes, tvp, and other snacks). I use sugar to push my energy levels up so that I can do things that otherwise might be too much. I use pain killers to keep going when I’m bleeding, and St John’s wort to keep going when I’m depressed. I let keeping going be more important than healing, dealing with underlying problems, or resting.

There’s a lot of room for improvement here. If we want to live in harmony with nature, our own bodies are a good place to start. If we could collectively learn how to live with our own bodies rather than trying to triumph over them and make them into smooth, convenient plastic, we might do a better job of living more harmoniously with everything else, as well.


About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

4 responses to “Living in harmony

  • alcsmith

    So true. I find it easier to follow the natural rhythms of the day when nothing is expected of me, and I expect nothing of myself.

  • druishbuddhist

    At least in the US, in my experience, the natural order of things is pushed down and looked down upon as something that should be overcome in the name of “progress” these days. Even our food (even produce) is sanitized and cellophane wrapped to the point that it scarcely recognizable as having a form other than man-made. We’re been carefully segregated from the natural world, and it is having a bad impact on physical and mental health.

  • greenmackenzie

    well said….I spend my life gently nudging people back into a genuine relationship with their bodies following a cancer experience….but why wait for such a dramatic nudge from nature…slow down and breath each day with savour! Thats always my advice for what its worth 🙂

  • Leeby Geeby

    Your very right in that regard. We so often ignore our health and safety in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Individually and as a species, we do this very much at our peril. This was brought home to me recently when I suffered a debilitating illness that put me seriously out of commission. Why? because I kept trying to rationalize away the fact that I have an employer that treats me like a slave and was destroying my health and sanity. This was part of a recognised process of Shamanic crisis, but I felt no less ashamed by my lack of eco-intelligence due to this fact. I believe the recent earth changes are very much related to awakening us out of our lack of eco-intelligence as a species. The physical, emotional and intellectual illnesses that we experience, feel very much related to the upheavals in the body and conciousness of the earth, with sickness playing the role of a purging or rebalancing of the system as it were. Many thanks for this insight, it has helped me integrate a very useful puzzle piece in light of my recent Shamanic crisis!

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