Life in the Woods
Written by Ade
A few weeks ago during my NLP Practitioner course, I got reintroduced to the movie ‘Dead Poets Society’. For those of you who have not seen or don’t remember the movie, it’s the one where Robin Williams, plays an English schoolteacher who through poetry, inspires his students to ‘seize the day’. One of the many memorable moments from the movie for me was a quote attributed to Henry Thoreau, who in 1845 removed himself from the normal day-to-day life of Massachusetts, to go live in the woods for two years.
Thoreau’s idea was to take himself away from society, so that he could get a chance to determine what was really important to him. The quote, which is taken from his masterpiece, ‘Walden or Life in the Woods’, goes “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived'.
Whilst I have not like Thoreau, physically taken myself into the woods. I do feel that this year, I have metaphorically and deliberately lived in the woods. This time last year, I was in the process of leaving my full-time job, exploring what to do next and debating whether to continue dividing my time between Amsterdam and London - a period of my life, I refer to as ‘heeding the call’. As I wrote in my first blog, The Calling, this is where we have “a deep knowing that something has to change, that things cannot continue the way they are -That inner voice or external circumstance offering the invitation to venture into the unknown”.
Heeding the call has meant accepting the invitation and heading into the unknown, or in Thoreau’s words – ‘into the woods’. The Woods, being that place where there are no distractions or illusions and I have had no choice, but to come face-to-face with myself. In the woods, through self-inquiry I have been able to dive deep in - rediscovering my true Self, letting go of negative patterns and making peace with past wounds. Being in the woods has meant facing my demons and sitting through dark nights of the soul moments. Being in the woods has also meant having endless belly laugh moments and feeling so connected to life and everything it has to offer. Being in the woods has meant, being able to sit with strangers and loved ones, and truly see them with love, non-judgement and compassion. Yes, being in the woods has been nourishing and truly healing.
Like Thoreau, I went into the woods because I wanted to live life consciously and not one day discover that I had not lived my own life.
As we settle into the penultimate month of the year and the trees shed the remainder of their clothes, I once again invite you to listen out for the call. Yes, it might be scary to head out into the woods, but the fact is, all you will find waiting for you is yourself - surely that is a journey worth taking!
May your journey into the woods be filled with bliss, joy and enchanting adventures.
Personal Development, Inspiration, General Interest,