Creating connections through the outdoors.

Relationships

In My Neighbourhood

The 100 mile diet…So this is a new trend.  Well, not really new.  It has been around for a couple of years, but the concept behind it is to only consume things that come from within 100 miles of where you live.  Ok, that wouldn’t be so bad for me.  I currently live in Nanaimo, BC on Vancouver Island and there are so many great foods and goods produced locally (Including beer!!!).  I would have to give up a few things though, like my morning coffee…

Wait, I don’t want to give up my morning coffee.  Just thinking about the withdrawal gives me a headache.  And what about those who produce the coffee?  If all of us in North America, and Europe for that matter, gave it up, where would they make their living?

This past weekend was the “Hometown Tourist” Weekend in Ladysmith and it got me thinking about just how much the local area has to offer.  There is so much benefit to experience all that is around me.  I have taken the time over the past little while to try to find all of the little spots and events that are in my neighbourhood.  It is amazing what I have managed to find, including little secluded spots to relax and the swing pictured to the right.

I am not saying that we should live entirely local and not travel outside to other places or consume things that come from elsewhere.  Those people make their own wellbeing off of the exports that we purchase from them.  If we stopped living globally and all lived entirely locally, there would develop an entire new set of problems.  Problems separate from the transport, production, pollution and free trade of goods. I feel that instead we should take from the following quote:

“The best way out is always through.” ~Robert Frost~

We need to discover our own area first before heading out and experiencing the outside world.  Even though it may seem a little selfish, take care of yourself and your own area before you try to take care of others.  It will make things so much easier and make you and your neighbourhood so much healthier.  We need to take care of ourself and live locally.  However, we cannot stop thinking globally.  There are many others who rely on our current habits for their own wellbeing.

This Friday, June 15 is Nature Play Day, so get outside into your own neighbourhood and play in nature.  There are so many things to do.  Like I have said before, be creative, take some risks and find someplace close to home that you haven’t seen before.  I will be in nature this Friday in my neighbourhood!

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A little off-colour, it’s all about perception.

This whole post is going to be about bad jokes.  If done right, they can be very clever.  To tell a bad joke that doesn’t come across as offensive is very difficult, and few people can do this successfully…

Ok, this post is not going to focus on off-colour humour (there may still be the odd pun thrown in though;-)).  I am going to talk about colour and perception.  Since it has been a while, so I will be brief even though I have a lot to talk about.  I have decided that posts are no going to come more randomly in their timing, but more frequently.  It is hard for me to get time to sit down and write on Wednesdays.  Not to worry, I will try to still be sarcastic and entertaining in my writing.  Things will stay interesting.  Less planned and regular will help because how often is life able to be planned and regular?  You don’t need to answer that, it was meant to answer itself with ‘hardly ever!’.

May is in full swing and, in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, it is known as being the month of Spring and new beginnings.  We have gone from Winter, which I see as a time of solitude, to a time that is seen for growth, and new beginnings.  Colours have begun to appear, so here are some interesting effects of different colours:

Green: Gets creative juices flowing, is the symbol for growth, both physically and psychologically, and sparks our creative side.  Causes us to think outside the box.

Red: Hurts exam scores and is associated with a fear of failure.  It is linked to success and dominance and men have been shown to find women who are dressed in red more attractive (good news for red-heads).  It is a very dynamic colour, where it has been shown to increase respiration and heart rate, intensity and energy.

Yellow: Is a mood lifter.  It has been shown to make people more lively and talkative as well as improve focus and concentration.

Blue: Makes us feel comfortable in a room, causing people to stay longer.  It has a soothing effect, slows heart rate, and boosts your ability to think outside the box like green.

Pink: Is seen as girly, fun, and innocent.  Inmates were less hostile in pink cells, but it is just softer version of red so it is not calming.

White: Is associated with authority, sterility, spaciousness, purity, and nausea?  White florescent light and white walls causes eye fatigue and ill feelings.

This week’s idea: Open your eyes to all of the great colours around you and practice some ‘green vision‘!


Being Alone Together

I have spent the last week working hard in the outdoors (and it happens to currently be raining), so I am going to focus a bit more on some indoor elements.  I would like to start off by saying that coffee shops and pubs have quite a few things in common.  They serve great tasting beverages, have a relaxing atmosphere, are generally filled with groups of people chatting face to face, lack young people…wait a minute!  They lack young people?  This is true.  The younger generations don’t usually hang out at a coffee shop or a pub.  This is for a number of reasons, some obvious and some not so much.  Usually people go to these places to interact face to face with friends or colleagues.  Young people these days seem to use the internet or their phones instead.  I remember running up the block to knock on a friend’s door to see if they could come “outside” and play.  I never texted or Facebooked (possibly a new word), mostly because it was unavailable, but I would go for the face to face interaction.  There was also no Googling (another new word) when I hung out with friends.  It was mostly imagination, talking and play, and, a lot of the time, this was done in the outdoors.  Occasionally when the weather didn’t cooperate we did hang out inside, but there were not that many screens around when we did.

Speaking of the indoors, I sit here now in on of my favourite indoor spots, a coffee shop.  You may have guessed that another of my preferred spots is a pub.  However, blogging doesn’t make as much sense when it is written at a pub.  It may end up being entertaining, but the spelling and grammar mistakes…I have enough of those already!  Just looking around at these locations give credence to healthy relationships.  People are conversing face to face, usually with only a drink between them.  These face to face interactions without a screen in the midst are becoming few and far between.

Most interactions these days take place over email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the list goes on.  This is especially true with the younger generations (again pulling from the coffee shop and pub reference from above).  Convenience is stepping between us and our health, both physical and mental.  It has become way more convenient to turn to technology, instead of going into nature or even doing the simple task of meeting to chat with friends.  Even though we are connecting a lot more easily through technology, relationships are suffering and we are actually becoming more alone.

Going back to the title of this post, there are two ways that I see in which we can be alone together.  One is in nature, and the other is with technology.  When we go into the wilderness with a group of friends or colleagues, we can become truly alone.  However, to stay safe and even alive, we rely so much on each member of the group.  Even though we go into nature to be alone, these experiences end up bringing groups closer together and help to develop strong relationships.  That is why we use nature and the outdoors for so many team building activities.  It has so much power to help to develop new strong relationships and build upon existing ones.  Being alone in nature, in the end, makes us less alone.  In the contrary, I believe technology has the power to do the opposite.  That is if we are not careful and mindful about it.  This video is great and delves deep into how we are becoming more connected through technology, but asks the question of whether it is making us more alone:

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In the outdoors, we are alone together, and when we are connected through technology, we are together, but alone.  I don’t really need to say more…

Now for the idea of the week: This one is simple, I want you to develop your relationships with those around you.  Go into nature with a friend where you need to rely on them and your relationship.  Or even more simply, just sit down with only a beer, cup of coffee or tea, hot chocolate, between you and a friend and have a chat.

(Theme: Relationships)