A short story about movement, reconnection and discovering your inner joy.

Unearthing your hidden treasure
Image credit: Hannanh Beadle at Wild Fitness

Part 1:

Nature’s gym; unearthing your hidden treasure:

A short story about movement, reconnection and discovering your inner joy.

Movement and play. One of the oldest and most primal languages of the human body and one that is universal among all human beings on the planet. As the American poet Coleman Barks once said “the joy in being human is in uncovering the core we already are, the treasure buried in the ruin”1.

To understand fully how to unearth our inner treasure and reap the benefits and joy of such wealth to its fullest extent I first need to take you on a little journey. A journey back in time well over 12,000 years ago in fact. A time before skyscrapers, high-rises and endless traffic. A time long before any kind of modern technology or machinery was even a speck in our imagination. A time before the world of 9 to 5’s, packed office blocks, commuter trains and confining ourselves to four walls.

We are talking of a time when nature was untouched and flourishing and no signs of modern life had yet tarnished our view, our bodies or our brains. A time when human beings lived off the land, ate unprocessed natural foods and spent the days socialising with our tribe. A time when we lived in harmony with nature, before money and power ruled and we built ourselves a world of convenience.

Living in this, shall we call it, ‘ancestral world’, was in some ways easier, and some harder. One noticeable difference though was that of human movement. We are not talking here about mass human movement of the migration kind or a political human movement but instead the simple ability to move our bodies through different planes, varying angles, ranges of speed, on, in, over and across a multitude of terrains.

Our ancestors spent their days moving. Running over short and long distances, sometimes for days on end to hunt game. Weapons made by hand would be thrown to catch their prey which would then have to be carried back to camp. Whole villages were built and maintained via traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. If you took a look around there would be not a chair in sight. Instead everyone sitting on the ground or in a resting squat, socialising, playing or cooking and all in nature. If food was dwindling and it wasn’t the right time for a hunt a small group would perhaps head off on a foraging walk or climb a nearby tree to gather some fruit. Life wasn’t busy or taken over by emails, texts and social media. People had time to themselves. Time to simply watch the world go by. To pause and reflect, just as we are going to do now.

As we take a pause in our story you may be wondering of what relevance all of this is. Speaking of a time so long ago we are only aware of it because of books, museums and television shows. A time that we have surely spent thousands of years evolving and moving on from. Building ourselves a ‘better’ world so that we no longer have to ‘live like cavemen’. A time that we don’t really care to remember. A time we are fast forgetting. Not because it was necessarily bad or painful but because, for the majority of us, we are simply indifferent about that side of our history. Never sparing a moment to think about the ancestral world unless it is brought to our attention via mediums such as this blog.

In order to answer this question of relevance I want to bring to the forefront of your consciousness two key points from our tale so far. Two points that if I failed to highlight them or simply missed them out all together the rest of our story would lose impact and this blog would not have much of a direction to it at all. The first point so glaringly obvious yet so contradictory to our modern lives that we are simply failing to even see it. Movement in the ancestral world was not movement for the sake of exercise, this was movement for the sake of living. At times for the sake of survival, at others for sheer pleasure.

The second point is a human beings capacity for movement. This is a point that often sits unnoticed and taken for granted by the majority of us, however could not be of more importance in our story. For our capacity of movement is what makes us human. It is what makes us unique, what sets us apart from the rest. Think about that one for just a second…we are the only animals on the planet that can move in all the ways and across all of the terrains and nature environments that we are capable of. We are the only ones that can run, jump, swim, climb, crawl, grapple, catch, carry, lift (etc). Given a long enough distance we are even capable of outrunning a cheetah…isn’t that an incredible thought?

Movement is truly our hidden treasure.

Before moving onto part two of our story let me first refer you back to the opening paragraph of this blog and specifically to the quote from our American poet Coleman Barks: “the joy in being human is in uncovering the core we already are, the treasure buried in the ruin”.

In part one we discovered our treasure (movement). For part two we are going to explore the ruin.

Unearthing your hidden treasure
Image credit: Hannanh Beadle at Wild Fitness

Part 2:

So let us continue our story by fast forwarding a few thousand years to one of the worlds biggest events and landmarks in human history, an event known as the industrial revolution.

The birth of the big smoke, the start of the working week, the introduction of mass machinery. However you want to recognise it the move from countryside to city was the point in time we started our decent to ruin. Or to be more precise, when our bodies started to descend into ruin.

You see, with the migration away from nature came the migration away from movement itself. We started building which meant the removal and paving over of nature. We began to process food which meant no more hunting, no more foraging and in turn much less movement. We started working long hours, at first in hard labour intensive jobs that neither our bodies, nor our spirits, were designed for. We began to build machinery to make our lives easier and as time went on we moved towards desk jobs. A more sedentary lifestyle brought with it an even more drastic reduction of movement all together. Our capacity to move shrank, our world became convenient and our lives became lazy and lonely. Movement was no longer a necessity in order to survive. Our bodies lost their driving force and one of the main identities that made us human. Our bodies became a ruin of what they once were, our treasure got buried deep within and “man became the only creature on the planet who refused to be what he is”2.

Fear not though for there is an up side to this story, a happy ending, or new beginning, depending on how you want to look at it. A way to unearth and reconnect with our most valued treasure, through nature’s gym.

Unearthing your hidden treasure
Image credit: Hannanh Beadle at Wild Fitness

Part 3:

As our American poet Coleman Barks also said: “I think we all have a core that is ecstatic, that knows and looks up in wonder”3.

Here at Wildfitness we could not agree more with this statement. For we believe in nothing more than the power of human movement and the pure joy that it can bring to the soul. If we learn where to look opportunities will start to show us their hand. Movement opportunities that if we grab onto with everything we have our treasure will be rediscovered and shine brighter than it ever did before. We can live a life with a feeling of freedom from the restrictions and restraints learnt through a life of conditioning in our modern world. We can once again run, jump, climb, play and move as we did before on the savannahs of the African plains. Reminding ourselves that the great outdoors isn’t just for observing, it is for exploring, for interacting, for learning and for moving in nature, it’s the perfect gym for the mind and body.

So let Wildfitness start your next chapter. A chapter of movement and rediscovery. A journey to regain the very thing that sets our souls on fire and fills our hearts with joy. A journey towards the one thing that makes us the most magnificent and capable animal on the planet.

Welcome to “the new, old way”4. To the vastness of the real you and your new found wealth of treasure.

Will you once again look up in wonder and allow yourself to experience this world with wondrous uninhibited joy?…well, that one is down to you.

Let me help you rediscover your inner joy and strength through nature’s gym at the Walk Yourself Happy Retreats in April, May and June.

Learn more about Wildfitness

Unearthing your hidden treasure
Image credit: Hannanh Beadle at Wild Fitness

References:

  1. Quote, Barks, Coleman, (n.d)
  2. Quote, Camus, Albert, (n.d)
  3. Quote, Barks, Coleman, (n.d)
  4. Frank Forenchich, The New Old Way, Exuberant Animal, 2018
Blog Author: Wild Fitness