In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful. – Alice Walker
The Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia is a sacred place for Robin Easton. Among the thick vegetation, extreme temperatures and dangerous wildlife is where Easton found peace and her greatest love – Nature.
In the book, Naked in Eden: My Adventure and Awakening in the Australian Rainforest, Robin Easton shares her time in the rainforest when she was twenty five years-old. Faced with the challenge to adapt or perish, Easton chose to survive. Her book provides a moving and inspirational account of her survival and the spiritual awakening she experienced there.
Several reviews have been written about Easton’s remarkable novel, Naked in Eden (to read these reviews, just click here). But what struck me after reading her book was if she is still able to have a love affair with Nature after the many years, and the many miles, that have passed since then.
Robin’s passion for Nature, and life, come alive in the following interview. Her answers provide hope that regardless if you have never been to Australia, or have never even left the city, there is still a piece of Eden waiting for you.
Robin shows us the way there.
The BridgeMaker: What is the greatest problem facing humankind today and how can Nature provide a solution?
Robin Easton: One of the greatest challenges facing humankind is our collective belief that Nature is something separate from us, something “out there.” seen as “scenery.” I don’t think it’s a conscious belief; nonetheless the repercussions of it are so staggering that they endanger all life on planet Earth.
Today there’s much anxiety, fear, greed, addiction, anger, and grief. When I see this turmoil around me, I’m filled with great compassion for my fellow humans. I understand their emotional anxiety, and know that it results in part from living “out of relationship” with the life that sustains us all.
Everywhere I go I see the symptoms of our “out of relationship” thinking and lifestyle. I see exhausted people endlessly trying to fill the emptiness inside, the hunger, anxiety, loneliness, despair, and fear. Yet nothing seems to really fill it. So we drink, take drugs, over eat, watch computer porn, have multiple relationships, buy more and more things, stay forever busy, or watch endless TV, all of which can be desperate attempts to fill the part of us that we’re missing.
If we can recognize the world around us as an inseparable extension of us, like a leg, head, or arm, and we an extension of it, we can begin to see ourselves and the world in a whole new way.
Maybe the first step is to shift our thinking and expand our awareness. We don’t have to go to a distant jungle to do this. We can simply lie upon the earth and watch the clouds go by, and do so without talking on a cell phone, without reading, without listening to music, instead just be in relationship with this greater world.
TBM: Now that your Daintree Rainforest adventure is over, how do you interact with Nature on a daily or regular basis?
RE: I am blessed that my relationship with Nature is such a complete one, so intimate and loving that I commune with Nature all the time, no matter where I am. Yet, I still take time each day, even if it is five minute, to be “with” Nature, and give thanks for the beauty around me, that is me, if I let it be.
In the morning, I usually wake early to watch the sunrise. I often walk miles barefoot up mountainsides just to feel the Earth beneath my feet. Sometimes I wade in a local creek while I photograph water bugs and colorful rocks.
Some nights before bed, I walk outside my door and stand alone under the black sky until I fully grasp that I am floating through space on an amazing self-sustaining spaceship.
As I look at twinkling distant stars I wonder what’s out there. I cry because I feel those stars as part of myself, part of us all. I thank them because I feel beautiful. When I go inside to sleep I am more whole, more peaceful, and more connected to something loving, infinite, and Divine. I feel watched over.
TBM: As you continue to grow and learn from your incredible experience in the rainforest, what new lessons are being revealed to you today that were not obvious at the time?
RE: What seems to be happening is that the things I learned in the forest are coming more fully to light, not so much in a new way, but rather in a deeper all encompassing way.
The insights and wisdom I gained have become more universal. I experience them no matter where I am. During my time in the forest, I took in so much information and had so many wild experiences that I changed drastically.
It has taken time to process all that. In fact, the changes in me were so total that I’m not even the same person who went into the jungle. I think this is one reason I didn’t write my book sooner.
In many ways, although I had returned to society, I was still in the forest. I was more spirit than physical body. It took a long time to understand my culture, and then bring the wild and my culture together inside myself.
For many years I felt I walked in the space between two totally different worlds. I no longer feel this way. I now experience it all as one world, one existence. There is no longer a split between me and all that is around.
TBM: What are a few strategies parents can follow to encourage their children to enjoy Nature more?
RE: I highly recommend getting rid of the television. Have the courage to unplug it today. One day your children will grow to adults and they will thank you.
When I was a child my father got rid of our television. That one action changed my entire life and how I viewed the world. He then started to take us hiking, camping, swimming, and sledding, and so on. We all fell in love with Nature.
My mom usually had a large vegetable garden every summer, which also helped connect me to Nature. She was always pointing out snowflakes, flowers, the color of autumn leaves, the shape of a bug, or the beauty of a sunset. She took time to stop and show us these things.
I would encourage parents to let their kids get muddy, wet, grass stained, and go barefoot on the lawn, stand in the rain, roll in the snow, and feel the wind.
I would encourage parents to be aware of how they talk to their children about Nature, especially about snakes, spiders, and other “creepy crawlies” some parents may fear. We can teach our children how to fear, or we can teach them how to have respect and awareness. There’s a big difference.
Take time to play with your kids in the snow, the water, the woods, the fields. Stay out one night and watch shooting stars. Your children will never forget it. Imprint your children with these essential parts of themselves.
Children need Nature for peace, self confidence, a sense of safety and love. We all need it.
TBM: What could be Nature’s surrogate? In other words, for people who will never have an opportunity to experience Nature in the way you did, how can they still find a way to comprehend its incredible power and the lessons it teaches?
RE: I would say that love is Nature’s surrogate.
Nature is Love. If we expand our view of nature from one of “beautiful scenery,” “wildlife,” “outdoors” and so forth to one that is vast, and encompasses all that exists and that ever will exist, we then begin to understand that Nature is Love. Nature is spiritual. Nature is the Divine.
However, to begin to feel this in our core, we need to connect with Nature. We need to go into relationship “with” Nature, every day. Start to commune with it, acknowledge it, and give it thanks.
Nature is an amazing energetic fabric that includes everything in existence: you, your child, your neighbor, the woman in China, the distant galaxy, the cells in your toe, the boy in Mexico, the elephant in Africa, the mosquito in Maine, the mountain in Colorado, the river in Russia, your house, your car, the tree in your backyard, your neighbor’s tree, and the flea on your grandmother’s cat. It is all Nature.
TBM: What adventure do you have planned next?
RE: I’d love to sometime do a barefoot trek of one to two months. I’d love to kayak some long rivers that have sections of untamed water. I’d love to see the Kalahari Desert, and meet the people who’ve lived there for thousands of years.
There is much to see and do in the world, but if we live with our eyes, hearts and minds open, everyday is an adventure, right here, right now, even as we drive to work, or take our kids to school. We don’t have to go to the jungle to experience life altering adventure.
The trick is to see the adventures happening right under our noses, every day.
About Robin Easton
© Robin Easton – Author of Naked in Eden: My Adventure and Awakening in the Australian Rainforest, is a writer, blogger, nature photographer, musician, and adventurer. She has appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in an award-winning NBC News affiliate piece, Paul Harvey News, KBLA Radio, KSFR, Big Blend Radio, and others. She writes and blogs at www.nakedineden.com.
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