As we delve into August, here in Edinburgh, the city is overflowing with the simultaneous beauty and madness of the Fringe. Can you feel the longer, brighter days slowly slipping through your grip as we drift through the last month of summer? With that being said, let us use the remainder of this month to appreciate and utilise those extra hours of sunlight still at our fingertips, while also welcoming the seasonal change which is almost upon us. I encourage you to use those precious hours after you finish work, when the sun is still gracing us with its presence to partake in some form of discovery – whatever that may be, go and grasp the sun kissed moments in nature which are calling to you.
- To discover; ‘a process of unearthing’ -
The months of July and August are often holiday months, where many revel in escaping the daily routines of attempting to maintain the ever-elusive work/life balance. In this fast paced world we live in, you would be excused for believing that discovery must be sought from far and distant lands and yet what I have re-discovered during these summer months, is that adventure is never far away...if we merely choose to seek it.
While Edinburgh residents brace themselves for the biggest arts festival in the world to commandeer our streets for the duration of the month, the element of discovery - in all its forms - is present. As I watch an abundance of tourists witness the beauty of Edinburgh for the first time, I momentarily wish I could step into their metaphorical shoes and take a peek at the wonderfully picturesque city I am blessed to, for now, call home; to re-discover what I have grown somewhat complacent of.
The concept of adventure and discovery is best illustrated in children, but somehow through all the angst and confusion of growing up, we tend to lose some of those instinctual senses, or rather the ability to tune in to them. As a child, do you recall being fascinated by the smallest object for hours? Or entertained by a short game long after those around you tired of it? For a child, every passing cloud, every inch of dirt and each petal of a flower can be the beginning of an adventure.
Somewhere along our journey into adulthood, we tend to lose this innate sense of adventure and discovery. It occurs like a whisper – somewhere in-between settling into our daily routines, our eyes become glazed; our minds lazy. We often start to drift away into our thoughts; preoccupied with what we are going to have for dinner or planning our weekend activities. We forget to be present. Too busy rushing from one place to another to discover and rediscover what is right in front of us.
With this seed of exploration firmly planted in your mind, I urge you to take the remainder of this month to rediscover what is at your feet. Tune back in to your innate sense of adventure and follow wherever it leads. It may mean using your day off to brave the crowds and engage in an art form of some kind – theatre shows or dance performances perhaps.
Or it may constitute using your weekends to escape the buzz of city-life in search of the quiet of the countryside. To explore the beautiful, scenic lands of the Scottish Highlands and islands. Embed yourself in nature, unplug yourself from the incessant buzzing of your phone and re-establish your place in the natural world – one of trees and wide expanses and breath-taking lochs. Breathe in that fresh mountain air, let it fill you up. Play in the magical natural world which surrounds you. Simultaneously disengage from what you have been taught and engage in that inherent knowing which you embodied at your core as a child.
Routine is comfortable, accessible and weightless with familiarity to our mind. Discovery is uncomfortable, awkward and demanding. Both have their place in this world, and in our lives, but it is important to ensure that we re-ignite those instinctual senses - that fire in our bellies, our intertwined connection with nature. It is crucial to remember that the clustered cities we, the human race, have built are not our natural habitat. As humans, we thrive when immersed within the natural world. Understanding that all is connected - humans, the environment, living beings - leads us towards a deeper connection to our authentic selves.
As we are told time and time again, and as I am sure you are aware, time outside in nature is essential for both our physical and mental wellbeing. So is discovery, and adventure, and witnessing people or lands or cultures for the very first time. Edging away from the familiar and towards the unknown encourages your mind to mentally engage, to be fully present, to tune in to all around you.
I encourage you to move towards these wild, untamed aspects of adventure. To make space within the necessary constructs of routine which, most of us living in Western society, must relatively abide to. Make space for an element of discovery – your mind, body and sense of peace will thank you.
[Written by Ashley Roy - Friendly face at HLC and Naturopathic Nutrition student]
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