This is a piece I wrote in late 2016 after returning from a month walking in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. I was in the last year of writing my book and was sitting down to write one morning, reflecting on what it is like, returning from the jungle. As we start to come out of the 'COVID19 Jungle' and try to re-enter the world from which we came, we notice that things have changed - not only in our outer world, but also within our inner world. We may not be able to articulate this or put our finger on what has changed within our psyche or our heart but we do feel different (at least I do - are you feeling different?) I've been talking to a few colleagues who go on remote adventures and they have all commented on this familiar feeling of returning from the wilderness.... read on and perhaps ask the question of yourself that I pose at the end of this blog?
Excerpt from: The Spirit of Adventure Calls: A Compass for Life, Learning & Leadership Chapter 29 - page 256
Published 2017 - Wayne Enright
John Mayer’s song “Say what you need to say” is playing in the background, prompting me to write what’s on my mind and in my heart. I feel a bit strange this morning, sitting at my desk, looking out into the garden. Part of me wants to be out there among the plants and the sunshine and fresh air, while I also want to be here writing. My desk is as close as you can get to being outdoors, especially if I open the wide French doors and let the outside in, but I still feel the ‘tug of war’ between these two worlds. I often notice this contrast more when I return from an adventure. My inner world has shifted and feels incongruent with the outer world I have come back to. The resulting perturbation causes me to change a little each time.
I either have to change my outer world or the way I operate in it to match the shift inside of me,
or allow the internal shift to dissipate and slip back into my comfort zone.
I’ve just returned from another month in Papua New Guinea guiding a couple of groups across the Kokoda Track. The transition back to the ‘civilised’ world is always challenging but has been more difficult this time to say the least. A month of walking meditation in the jungle, pristine mountain air, beautiful waterfalls and rivers, inspiring cultural experiences and open-hearted people have taken me to a place in my consciousness that feels assaulted when it rubs up against the reality of city traffic, un-reality TV shows, news headlines, advertising and time deadlines. I feel the gravity of ‘civilisation’ pulling me away from the natural beauty and simplicity of where I feel a belonging.
The longer I spend in the wilderness with people of another time, the more I notice the disconnect between the inspiring qualities of things such as nature; adventure; beauty; love; joy; peace and balance, and the sometimes stressful world of media; technology; time constraints; money; noise; processed food; chairs; shoes; political correctness and over-regulation.
This contrast is sometimes overwhelming, confronting, painful, depressing and in conflict with my heart’s truth and my more natural state of being. It jolts my senses, creates fog in my mind, perturbation in my soul and imbalance in my body. I feel a hint of sadness in my heart feeling this disconnect between my true nature and ‘the sea of cars’ (as Murray refers to it in his book ‘My Life in a Sea of Cars’). I wonder if others feel this distance from nature and their wild heart? Perhaps part of my purpose is to reconnect people with the inspiring qualities of nature, adventure, play, and journeying back to where they feel they belong; places that make their heart sing and where they feel most alive? I hear about ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ and often think that ‘Adventure Therapy’ is as important for ‘adults at risk’ as it is for young people at risk.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods and rapture on the lonely shore; there is society, where none intrudes,
by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but Nature more.
Written by Wayne Enright - September 2016
A question to leave you with
Adventuring into the unknown by choice or by chance (especially an experience that is prolonged and challenging), inevitably changes us and can leave us anxious, confused, out-of-sorts or perhaps enlightened, renewed or inspired, as we re-engage with the world from which we came. However we feel about this double-edged sword, this shift in our outer and inner landscape offers an opportunity and a challenging question:
Will I embrace the change and opportunity in my outer world and the way I operate in it
to match the shift inside of me, or allow the internal shift to dissipate and slip back into my comfort zone?
The choice is mine.
In North American Indian culture, the word 'Medicine' is often used to define the unique gifts of each person. It is considered a tragedy when people don't take the time to explore those gifts or don't have the confidence to express them. It is for this reason that I take the risk to express my truth in writing. Some years ago I lost my voice for a time and in the journey back to speaking again, I discovered that 'voicing' one's 'Truth' is a healing and health-enhancing gift that I once took for granted. Writing, art, taking journeys in nature and guiding life-transforming adventures, are my 'medicine'. This blog is an expression of this 'medicine'. I trust that the words I write, might inspire you to think about your 'truth' and your 'gifts' and I hope that you enjoy some of the 'adventures' I share.