One of my favourite books as a child was The Call of the Wild by Jack London.
It was one of dad’s favourites and he’d passed down his own abridged copy (with pictures) to me when I was very young. I remember reading and re-reading the story of how a domestic Husky went from playing with his master’s children in the comforts of a wealthy, well-heated suburban home where he was no doubt fed creme de la creme in dog chow to the wilderness, cold and chaos of the Yukon territory where gold was discovered. The Gold Rush meant that Huskies were needed to pull the sleds and Buck, our hero, was kidnapped and sold by a servant of the family.
My favourite part of the book was when Buck proved himself capable of leading a pack of his fellow Huskies as he evolved (or de-volved?) to strengthen his senses and muscles to survive and thrive in the climate which originally bred his muscular stature and a thick coat of fur.
The reason this book left such a deep impression in me is that I innately believe that as humans we are an inseparable part of nature. In school, sitting in straight rows, standardised desks I often daydreamed of Buck busting in through the classroom door in front of his sled and taking me to the wilderness with him. When we moved to the US and I was required to write short stories for English class, the theme was always turning back on society to live in harmony with nature. I had a dislike of credit cards, tracking systems and anything that attempted to capture, classify and segment a part of the population.
The one call I never responded to growing up was my mum’s call to dinner.
I was always too wrapped up in school work, you see. Yep, that same girl who wished to be rescued from educational institutions by a pack of wolf-like dogs, all of a sudden, when she came home, she started doing homework.
Because I was labeled the studious one. It was my duty within my family to live the life dad, also an ex excellent student, wanted for himself.
So I rarely showed up on time for dinner. All of this yelling and wasting her voice on me, too stuck in housework, and mum too stuck in her duties, one of which was making sure we ate whether we were hungry or not, cost us far too much of our own nature. It left mum voice-less, literally.
It drove me further and further away from who I was – a writer like Jack London. With whom I met again on the Writers’ Walk on the Circular Quay when I set foot in Sydney back in December of 2010.
His quote there states clearly that man’s purpose is to live, not to merely exist. Yet, that’s what I’d been doing for far too long. I’d allowed others with all of their good intentions, to write on the pages of my life. That changed when I set foot in Australia.
Not having an obvious path, I had to create one of my own and took many dead-ends, made many turns but here I am, writing. Finally.
My Mum’s Voice
The role dictated to mum was one of a dutiful housewife. She had to make sure we were clothed (even when we didn’t want to be), fed properly (even when we didn’t want all of the nutritious food she was offering), the house clean, neat and dinner on the table by the time dad got home from his job he hated where he was never appreciated enough.
A sad existence.
I’m sure mum didn’t want to keep pushing food and god aweful clothing she found on sale in the markets or op shops down our throats. But that’s what happened.
Too wrapped up in our roles and list of duties which left us very little breathing space, we forgot to breathe. We forgot to be in touch with our own feelings and we certainly never connected. It’s a shame. But it’s not too late. I’m lucky that both of my parents and my brother are still around (while it’s questionable as to who’s living and who’s merely existing in their long list of duties).
I fell into the same trap when Lucy was born. In an attempt to be the perfect housewife, planning all household activities and scheduling them, I stopped feeling joy for my life and almost poisoned the ones I love the most, including my unborn child. Yep, I undercooked some sausage in a rush to get it to the dinner table by 6:30 sharp.
How fucked up is that?
It saved me though. I stopped. I got rid of my to-dos. I started focusing on taking care of my daughters and my writing, because this shit is what takes care of my soul. If I don’t replenish my inner garden then I got no fruits to share with anyone and my household will starve, not physically, but worse, emotionally.
The Voice of Mother Nature is Within
We all have bodies. It’s a prerequisite for being here on Earth among the living. As such, we are all a part of the living physical world. Not honouring our needs for nutritious food, sleep, water and rest is, in essence, turning our backs on Mother Nature.
She’s in trouble these days. We’ve been caught up in a terrible cycle of doing, doing, doing and consuming more, more and more without regard for what feelings we’re suppressing within us. We’ve lost touch with our own feelings and that’s what’s put our material needs on overdrive and here we have an epidemic of over-consuming, creating waste.
All because of what?
We want to fit in? We want to be perceived as better than others? Well, we are not better. We are all unique, one of a kind. Nobody on earth, not even your twin has the same experiences which shape their perspective.
Take a minute for that to sink in.
If we only stopped and listened to ourselves, maybe we’d hear Mother Nature calling us back to her arms. If we only took the time to breathe with our bare feet planted firmly on the grass and then took a drink of water, gazed up at the sky, felt the fire within and the love in our hearts…
Maybe all of the things we feel we must would magically disappear off our to-do lists.
Over to You…
When was the last time you talked with someone who knew you as a child?
What revelations came up and how are you now honouring your true nature? If you need a little guidance, I highly recommend looking into Jeffrey Scott’s document on discovering your core values.