Years of globetrotting adventures, one-way tickets and no clear destination have taken me to some of the most surreal places on earth.
Years of sleeping under the stars, floating down rivers and climbing up mountains has freed my soul, given me wings and grounded my spirit.
Here are some of the greatest life lessons I have learned from the subtlety of observing nature over the years:
1. Ocean tides (Set-backs).
Waves come and go. They pull back into the ocean, with full force, before they make it back to the shoreline.
Lesson: When things fall back—when it seems like we are going in the wrong direction, back a million steps—no matter how deeply, we will always come back forward with a thrust. It’s just a matter of time and trusting in the universe.
2. Trees (Stillness).
With their roots so deep into the earth, trees’ branches are wide and open swaying to the rhythm of nature—the wind, rain and sunshine. They stand tall and wise.
Lesson: Stay grounded in moments of chaos. When everything seems to be falling apart around us, strong roots, an open heart and the ability to speak wisely could transform a negative situation into a flower-blooming one. Welcome new people and experiences into your life, but remember to always remain true to who you are.
3. Rivers (Organized chaos).
At the surface they look deceiving, yet beneath their surface appearance, rivers are home to a world of chaos—fish, weeds, dirt and rocks, all moving from one place to another.
Lesson: There is much more to life than what the eye can see. Even when something looks perfect on the surface, we will never understand what is happening on the inside, unless we take a deeper look. Go with the flow, move around obstacles, and never judge anything or anyone just by what you can see.
4. Stars (Hope).
Darkness brings with it—starlight.
Lesson: no matter how dark and obscure a situation may seem, there will always be a light offered, to help us get through it. Darkness will always bring with it a different kind of light.
5. Sunlight (Balance).
The warmth of the sun is brilliant and necessary, but too much of it can burn us to a crisp.
Lesson: Whatever we do, we should do with measure and balance—for all good things must come to an end at some point.
6. Sunsets (New beginnings).
Everything that starts out good must eventually come to an end. Anything that ends badly will always eventually have a new, brighter beginning.
Lesson: No matter how awful of a day , event or situation we face—there will always be a new opportunity to try again, all over again—never despair.
7. Rain and storms (Transformation).
Storms clear out space for new life to grow. Wash out the old, make space for the new.
Lesson: Whenever a situation goes from bad to worse—and everything begins to fall apart, in a way that seems destructive—let it be, give it space and wait for new beginnings. What we may not understand at first, is just part of the magical cycle of death and rebirth in life.
8. Flowers (Diversity).
Some flowers need lots of sunlight, while others don’t. Some need water, and others—not so much, yet this doesn’t take away from their beauty or purpose in life.
Lesson: Not everyone is the same, and not everything is the same. This is what makes the world a better, more beautiful place.
9. Weeds (Optimism).
Even when all the odds seem to be against them—the delicate-looking yellow dandelion will grow up, from in between the concrete cracks.
Lesson: Rebirth, growth and new beginnings happen in even the most hostile of environments—in unimaginable places—locations where we’d never expected them to be. So, even when the world seems to have caved-in on us, there is always a way out.
10. Monarch butterflies (Possibility).
Monarchs defy the odds, more than once, by migrating across the world seeking warmer climates.
Lesson: We should never let speed or size stop us from getting to wherever we want to go. Turtles take their time getting places, but they outlive most of the fastest animals. It is not in who we are, but in the accepting and embracing of it. Once we do this, the possibilities are endless.
Over the years I’ve learned that seeing doesn’t mean just with my eyes, but rather—seeing takes the combination of what all five of my senses present as a picture in my mind.
Simple moments of stillness—that could have gone unnoticed—all of a sudden become powerful tools for growth and becoming. Everything—including ourselves—will always be what it is until it no longer is.
A rose will always be a rose, and a tree will always be a tree—until it ceases to be. Yet its beauty lays in this potential for transformation and of what it could become. Everything that dies becomes part of something else, something new, and it is never completely gone. Life is continuously evolving and transforming, at different speeds and in different colours, with different smells.
The universe is the greatest classroom we could ever attend—if we take the time to read in-between the lines and realize that we are all part of a greater hologram of life.
Author: Carolina Arcila
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/seyed mostafa zamani