Repose.a state of rest, sleep, or tranquility.
I’ve realized the importance recently of being still, cutting myself of as much movement and thoughts as possible. How often do we do this in our day-to-day? Almost never. There’s always stimuli, distractions, the list of to-do’s.
It’s rare that on top of the cooking, the social gatherings, the housework, the real work, we find time for JUST ourselves.
We start acting like robots with responses that are automatic or habitual, losing our sense of self. We step out of the moment and into task accomplishments forgetting to appreciate what’s infront of us. Soon enough, our days are mixed up and we can’t even remember what we did yesterday.
The fast-forward button gets hit and January becomes March, March becomes September, then suddenly we wonder, but where did the summer go? It was there, every. damn. day. But we weren’t. We were too busy thinking about the next day to ever be present, so the present day slid by. Don’t let it!
Take the time to slow down. To introspect. To be grateful.
R e p o s e
It makes such a difference.
Let’s take a moment to understand something: Mental illness is serious, it is real, and it is all around us. It comes in all forms and severities and doesn’t necessarily have tell-tale traits. It is not a question of whether or not it exists anymore, we KNOW that it does. We can actually view the differences in people’s brains now with modern technology.
Robin Williams made us laugh for years with his joyful presence on stage and in movies. Kate Spade was a very successful businesswomen who had tons of energy and motivation for her line of work. Anthony Bourdain was a hilariously happy man who had an enviable life travelling the world and indulging in delicious foods.
The toughest pill to swallow about their seemingly perfect lives is that they were far from that. These were idols who struggled with themselves, with depression. It is a mental illness that can manifest itself in so many ways because every person is different. Based off of experience I know that for some people it is situational (they’ve lost their job or a loved one, stressful events take place etc.), for some it is historical (battles with PTSD, anxiety etc.), and for some it is more physical (brain development has been altered due to childhood trauma).
I can relate personally to these celebrities which is why this topic is so important to me. I was there for 10 years… this last year something changed and I can say that I am somehow freed of it. I know what the dark depths feel like and how helpless everything can feel. Mine was clinical depression, something wasn’t right in my brain. The chemicals were imbalanced, the synapses weren’t happening properly. I had to rely on medication for 10 years.
Now let’s dig deep because I believe transparency is the only way people can relate or begin to have some insight into what they’ve never experienced. I’m not even sure my family realizes how bad it was because I hid it so well. My friends never knew and when I opened up to them when I was really struggling, I felt like they wouldn’t believe me because just like those other celebrities, I was always happy and cracking jokes in school. It never showed except for when I was alone.
My depression was not out of self-loathing or loneliness; I had enough friends to warm my heart, a great family to go home to, exceptional grades and I was really confident in myself and my abilities. I think this is why it was so hard to accept that something might be ‘wrong’ with me. I’m a firm believer that people can do pretty much anything they set their minds to, so when I was consumed with pain on the daily and thoughts of suicide danced in my head almost hourly, I was frustrated to no end that I couldn’t just ‘stop’ it. Here’s a private blog excerpt from over 3 years ago:
“It doesn’t make any sense, even to myself. I’m someone who understands how privileged I am, I don’t dwell in past situations, I rid myself of negative energy in my life. I’m proactive on my mental health with eating properly, going to the gym everyday, writing out my ‘favourite things’ and ‘things that make me happy’ each day.
Society tells us that if you try hard enough, you can do anything. I believe that, and that’s why it’s so hard and frustrating for me to understand why I can’t get this cloud to leave me alone. It’s non-stop sadness, hourly throughout a day, with at least once a day me thinking about death. I won’t do it, but I also don’t understand how with such a strong mind, I can’t get away from this.
I think the hardest part is admitting to myself that there’s something wrong that I can’t control – and even though I preach about getting rid of the stigma towards mental illness, it’s still just as hard for me to accept. I feel like I SHOULD be able to control it.”
Here’s another one dated also from over 3 years ago, documenting my need to go back on medication but reluctance to do so.
“Lately I’ve been so riddled with emotion that it’s making me physically ill. I’m numb, motionless, dizzy, and sick. I can’t begin to explain how much I feel and don’t feel all at once. My body is telling me to give up, to go back on SSRI’s. My mind is in internal war – I can’t. I know this will pass, I have to keep convincing myself it will.
I will not allow myself to give in with almost two years clean [from SSRI’s]. Every downhill stops at some point, and there’s always a way back. I’ll make it back.
I just don’t understand why it’s getting worse. I use my workouts as an escape and they’re becoming addictive in what may be a bad way – I’m becoming dependent on them to alleviate how I feel, wanting to leave situations to go for runs constantly because it’s the only thing that temporarily heals me.
I just wonder what life is like for people who don’t deal with this; they have no idea.”
I don’t even recognize myself when I read that now. That’s nothing like me anymore which is why I can understand how it can be so hard to comprehend what depression is. I read that now and I remember the days of coming home, locking myself in my room, tears falling down my face, staring at the wall, at myself, going on walks trying to fix myself, the headaches, the joint pain, the insomnia, the feeling like the rest of my life was going to be a repetitive miserable play… the everything. I’ve been there, I’ve suffered through it, yet with a healthy mind currently I now reflect back on that and go REALLY? There must have been SOMETHING you could have done. I’m guilty of judging myself! I can see how it’s so easy to judge others when you haven’t been there. People generally have a low tolerance for what they don’t understand.
The important concept to focus on, however, is that regardless of your own opinions or stigmas around depression, people are going to continue to suffer. Let me tell you, suicide is not selfish. When you’re in that low state, fighting your demons, it’s an inexplicable feeling and staying alive fighting daily takes a lot of courage. It’s almost like having a negative pressure in your head telling you that’s the only answer. You don’t think about your family, your friends, your anything. You’re so desperate and scared that it seems like the only way to stop the suffering.
So let’s be proactive together rather than blaming and throwing words towards the humans who need our help. There is hope for EVERYBODY. It also comes in different forms. For some people it is as simple as changing their lifestyle, eating better etc. For some people, like myself, it just took time and medication.
Many people who have failed suicide attempts immediately regret it. Here’s a couple of interesting stories from men who have attempted jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
This breaks my heart (sourced from the link above):
“Kevin dropped his classes at City College of San Fransisco and took a bus to the bridge. Sitting in the back row, he cried openly, not hiding his distress.
‘I actually had a pact with myself, this is something that many suicidal people do. If one person says ‘Are you ok,’ ‘Is something wrong,’ or ‘Can I help you?’ I was going to tell them everything and beg them to help me,’ said Kevin.
No one spoke to him. He spent 40 minutes on the bridge, tears still streaming down his face. And then, finally, someone approached him…. Kevin had been waiting for just one person to reach out to him. On the span, a woman came up to him on his left side.
‘Blond curly hair, giant sunglasses that didn’t fit her face, and a smile. And I thought, she smiled at me, she’s going to ask me if I’m ok. I don’t have to die today. I’m 19, and I don’t have to die,’ said Kevin. ‘That’s when she pulled out a camera and said ‘Will you take my picture?’ And I was crushed.’
He took the picture and returned her camera. She walked away. Within moments, he jumped from the bridge.”
It doesn’t take much to help somebody. It can be exhausting and time-consuming, but keep in mind how it feels on their side of the table. Nobody with a mental illness wants to have it – they don’t think it’s cool or fun; they’re even more tired of it than you are but it doesn’t change the fact that they NEED you. Humans are social creatures and I can promise you that even if somebody isn’t returning your calls because of their mental state, it doesn’t mean they don’t care/it’s not helping.
When somebody comes to you and tells you they have cancer, you would (hopefully) never laugh about it behind their back or disengage with them because their treatments are making them weak. Depression is no different. It affects people in all walks of life. In 2017 the WHO estimated that 4.4% of the global population suffers from it. That means that it’s almost guaranteed that you are close to or have crossed paths with somebody who has it. Many people are too reluctant to admit it out of denial for themselves or fear or being ostracized.
Now that we’ve been honest and raw, learned some facts we maybe didn’t know or reiterated what we already did, let’s move on to something positive.
In lieu of mental health week in Canada (May 7-13th), let’s pass on some good energy. You don’t need to have a mental illness to be aware of your mental health – strong minds need reminders too.
- Reach out to those around you, remind them of your love for them
- Find it in yourselves to forgive those who have caused you pain
- Be engaged in your community, find some volunteer work!
- Write out your best moments of the day at the end of each evening
- Eat healthy (with some indulgence of course), stay active
- If you’re not happy with something in your life, change it!
- Try yoga or meditating, it’s amazing for the soul
- Pickup and master a new hobby (drawing, widdling?)
- If you need help from someone, don’t be afraid to ask
For other tips visit Canadian Mental Health Week.
If you or somebody you know may be suicidal or needs to talk somebody, here’s some important resources (more can be found in your local area with a simple Google search of ‘suicide hotline’):
If you’ve made it reading this far, hopefully it’s done something for you. Maybe you can relate to my story, maybe the link for mental health will be of some use, or maybe it did nothing at all for you. Either way, thank you for following along. If you believe this article may bring light to anybody in your life, feel free to share.
Much love. NIN.
Growing up, I used to think nudists were a bunch of weirdos. I mean really, who lounges around without clothes? But you could also take that sentence and flip it, to be something like ‘I mean really, who lounges around WITH clothes’? Why is either one better than the other? I can tell you that neither is – it all comes down to personal opinion and perspective.
Not every person has to enjoy being nude, however, I can tell you that I haven’t yet met somebody who has tried being Naked in Nature and didn’t like it. The realization of doing it is always the same: ‘wow, I can’t believe how natural this feels’ or ‘Darn it Martha, I feel so free and connected’.
No, nudists are not creepy people who want everybody to see their privates. They don’t lounge around comparing sizes and body parts (or atleast in my experience they don’t). They are just like you and me and everybody else you’ve ever met with the exception of a little bit more freedom under their belt (or belly?). It’s an interesting thing getting naked with friends because initially you would think you would be self-conscious and looking at each others goodies when in reality you tend to forget they exist. It’s not as awkward as you think.
So why do this in nature? In my opinion, it’s the most connected to our true selves you’ll ever be. You’ve stripped yourself free of name brand clothing, of your ‘identity’, only to be brought back into the most basic identity of a human mixed among the Earth and the trees. Isn’t that where we all started before we entered the era of materialism? I think we deserve to remind ourselves of the simple joys in life.
As much as we would love to post every photo to our account, we simply aren’t able to. Too many photos (which is awesome!), butt not enough time.
What we look for when we post:
- High quality image
- 18 years or older
- Breathtaking scenery or nature
- Unique poses or shots which are fun to look at
- Group shots (go grab your crew!)
- Diversity in human shapes, backgrounds and sizes (every now and then we receive emails from people who are worried they aren’t fit enough to be posted – we don’t even take that into consideration! Love yourself, love your body and push those comfort zones friends, this is NIN after all.)
Good luck friends!
Roses & Rocket Ships
You are given the option to focus on one of two things in life.
One is a bouquet of roses that will bring you aesthetic pleasure, one is a rocket ship that will take you wherever your heart desires.
When given to you, the roses are just little buds – nothing extraordinary, but you like looking at nice things so you allocate your time into helping them grow properly by cutting off any petal that looks out-of-place, and by rearranging them to fit your needs. You even buy items to enhance their beauty, a pretty pink bow and glass vase. They bloom at their peak, your friends compliment you on them – you can’t help but feel proud.
Reality sets in when these roses start to age. Their petals shrivel, the veins become more prominent, and eventually they don’t look as nice as they used to. Through desperation you buy expensive food for them, you place them in different hours of sunlight, but sadly nothing works and they end up inevitably dying.
The Rocket ship
The rocket ship you are told can make all your dreams come true, it just requires extra attention. You don’t know anything about rocket ships though so your first step is to research about their structure and how to make them function efficiently. From here, you learn how to take proper care of it and how to fix it as required. It’s a time consuming project – one of the biggest endeavors of your life – but the rewards are promising.
Once built, the rocket ship has no limits. It can travel anywhere you like, allowing you to do anything you want. People are envious of what you’ve made, and it encourages others to begin building their own rocket ships. There’s no ceiling, no cap-out.
Then there’s you.
You can choose to focus on the ‘roses’ and have the ability to be aesthetically pleasing, but that only takes you so far – a side compliment from friends before you start to lose your beauty.
You can choose to put your effort into the ‘rocket ship’, AKA your brain, which has infinite possibilities when it is concentrated and worked on.
What I’ve learned…
It’s amazing how many people choose the roses and perceive the rocket ship as too much work. It’s amazing how as humans we have been given a number biological advancements in comparison to other species (‘theory of mind’, mental time travel etc.), and so many people fail to appreciate and capitalize on it.
Simply put, we’ve been given this insane machine that will learn whatever you teach it. There are no limits. It can go and go and go and go. The more you teach it, the better it becomes at everything. Positive correlations.
It’s crazy that as a society we seem to place more emphasis on creating greatness out of something that requires mediocre effort when we could create infiniteness out of something that requires just a little extra care.
The problem with relying on aesthetic pleasure is that if you don’t like the way something looks, your resources are limited. The opportunity with the mind is that if there’s something you don’t like about the way it functions, you can change it. It can be morphed however you desire with just enough discipline and dedication.
Naive, a word that can be used to describe the assumption that other peoples thought patterns are the same as ours.
One of my favourite articles, on the art of how to not be offended, discusses assumptions we make in our every day lives that bring us to automatic pre-conceived conclusions towards the people we surround ourselves with.
Society is too quick to assume behavioural motives behind peoples actions. In highschool people always thought that the girl who was ‘a total bitch’ just decided to be that way, dismissing the way she was brought up, and the defense mechanisms she has put in place in order to cope.
One thing that people don’t realize is how much control they actually can have over the way they perceive the world.
I thought about this in my car today, driving, daydreaming the way I normally do. When I’m alone I think about theories and articles I’ve read. I try to come up with innovative ideas to better the world. I imagine myself being happy and reaching my goals.
So, I pull up to a stoplight and casually look at the people around me – the person next to me looked angry and annoyed about something, and I noticed as I went through my day just how many people seemed this way. I purposefully listened more carefully to people’s conversations, and noticed just how often people complain about their life, their situations, and other people.
I realized something very eye-opening, that not everyone goes through their day in that way that I do, not worrying about the little things. Many people are so caught up in reassessing redudant arguments they’ve had with others, or talking about how much they don’t like other people. So much negativity. What I realized is, these people have an even more difficult chance at being successful in life, not only in terms of their happiness but with pretty much anything. How are they to reach their goals, or focus on positive things when they are so caught up in a repetitive tunnel-visioned circle?
It was the most simple epiphany, but it was mind-blowing.
These people let things that are said to them and the ways that they are treated by other people dig right through their skin. They haven’t learned to let go. They haven’t learned the personal attack on them wasn’t really personal – it was merely a reflection of the other person’s own insecurities or anger towards life redirected on to some unrelated easy target.
Most of the ways we are treated by people are really reflections on how they view themselves. The shittiest people have a lot of the time been hurt the most.
I’m lucky in that I’ve had great opportunities and support systems to help me with everything I’ve been through. Even with great support, I faced a very dark and angry point in my life. I can’t imagine being a person who faced a lot, and never had anyone to back them up. Their anger towards the world, something they’ve never learned to properly control. They put this anger on to others, others who don’t know how to not take it personally, which consequently creates a chain reaction where the people who were ‘attacked’ internalize useless negativity and once again, throw it back into the world.
If everyone could learn about themselves, and try to dissolve their massive ego’s, they might be a little more happy, words might have a lesser impact on them; people may even become a little more compassionate towards others as opposed to defensive.
I try to pay special attention to the people who are rude about others, because I know deep down they’re not confident enough to NOT care about others. Their ego’s get in the way and they try creating a false upper-hand to make themselves appear on top of some mythical hierarchy.
It’s tough sometimes, I’m not perfect at not being offended.
But I’ve learned that the more seriously you take things, the more serious and miserable you become. You lose that childish fun part of your soul that doesn’t pay attention to the negativity of others. You lose the ability to bounce back from tough situations, and brush them off as a learning experience. This is why it’s so important to not interpret situations as surface level insults, but rather to investigate as to WHY the insults were said in the first place.
Everybody wants to change the world.
Butt does anybody really do it?
Most of us sit on our bootys day in and day out. We go to our jobs, we kiss our partner, and we say our lives are fulfilled. But are they really? What if we could be doing more? What if we could free ourselves from the belief that ‘life is life’ and we have to follow it according to a certain schedule or with specific standards?
The best thing I ever did in my life was place myself waaay outside of my comfort zone. The more I did it, the more addicting it became. It altered me intellectually (in a positive way of course!) I had this overwhelming epiphany that life didn’t need to be this routine machine of madness and that I was capable of taking the reigns and making my own agendas.
That’s where Naked in Nature came in… bare with me.
I’m an avid hiker and during a sunny hike one day I just decided ‘eff it, my clothes are coming off‘.
It was awkward, funny, uncomfortable and risky. But I loved it. I switched up my routine and LIVED my life in a way that I WANTED. Those societal norms that tell us the human body is offensive and needs to be hidden? I say BYYYYEEE.
In that moment I realized how ridiculous it was that I’m constantly required to hide the skin on my bum and the tint of my areola. I mean, what’s more offensive? The fact that I may offend somebody with what’s on my body, or the fact that somebody would be offended by what my genetics has created?
Now, imagine if we could take this concept one step further – by simply getting Naked in Nature we could change the way we along with others view our bodies. We learn to love them, rather than hide them. We learn to celebrate them, rather than sexualize them. It’s simple. It’s actionable. And anybody can do it. It just takes a little stepping out of our comfort zones as well as a little appreciation for the unknown. Nothing good ever came from stagnation.
Let’s change our mindset.
One. Naked. Hike. At. A. Time.