The Whole Design

Categories: Blog, Pressing RESET, Nature, Hiking, Joy Mar 19, 2023

I learned something important the other day, or I experienced something important rather. I was in Sedona on vacation with my family, and we were hiking in the red rocks. It was absolutely beautiful, an environment I’m not normally exposed to. Anyway, what I experienced was a felt sense of joy in my body, not my mind, but my body. 

This is a little hard to explain, but my body actually enjoyed the hike on the rocking terrain. The terrain was ever-changing, challenging, and tricky. It required constant awareness to navigate. I could not daydream or worry about anything that would take me out of the present moment of hiking up the mountain we were on. And my body loved it. With each step, I could feel more and more energy surge through me, I could feel a sense of excitement. I felt alive. Through this feeling, I learned something that I already knew in my head: We are meant to be active and participate in our natural environment. We are a part of the environment.

Again, I knew this in my head, but this is the first time I truly experienced it in my body. Maybe it was because I was in an extremely beautiful place, maybe it was because I was so focused and aware of my movements, maybe it was because I was with my family, and maybe it was because my brain and body were problem-solving with each step I took. Whatever the reason, my body was fully alive, and it felt great. 

This was fascinating to me because I generally feel pretty good on most days, and I go outside for walks nearly every day. But there is a large difference between walking out in the neighborhood and hiking out in Nature. In Nature, I was a part of it, or it was a part of me. We hiked for over three hours, and it felt more like three minutes. When I’m out walking in my neighborhood, even though I enjoy it, three hours feels like three hours; time ticks on, and my body can eventually tire. But when I was in the red rocks, time stopped, and my energy soared. Though my body was doing a lot of work, it was not exhausting but invigorating. 

And that’s what I learned, we are meant to be one with nature and actually be in nature. My body was letting me know this. Yes, it’s great to walk in the neighborhood, or it’s great to climb stairs in a building. Taking opportunities to move is absolutely what we should do to keep our health. But that still can fall short in comparison to taking opportunities to be and move out in our world, to navigate changing terrain, to feel the breeze brush your skin and move your hair, to see and hear the trees and the animals all around you. This is not only good for your body, but it is also good for your soul. It feeds the whole of us - because it is where we belong. 

But this creates an issue. I don’t live in the red rocks. Heck, many of you reading this may not even have a neighborhood you can walk through. What are we to do if we belong in nature if it soothes our souls and invigorates our bodies, but we don’t live there, or we don’t have easy access to nature? I’ve been pondering this, and the best I can come up with is that we must be deliberate and plan to find a way to be in nature 2 to 4 times a month. Maybe we start with just once a month. I’m a practicing scientist, I don’t have any hard numbers yet. But I do know if we plan to be out in nature (to walk on the beach, to walk through the woods, to hike up a mountain) and execute our plan, we can experience ways to invigorate our bodies and nourish our souls.

When we are where we belong and doing what we were made to do, everything will naturally just work better. We will naturally just feel better. Naturally - that’s the message. We are a part of nature. We are not meant to be separated from it. The parts all come together to make the whole. When we engage back into our natural environments, we are naturally going to feel more complete and more alive. 

But this is what I experienced. It won’t mean anything to you unless you experience your body’s joy in your body’s natural environment. So, if you’re up for an experiential experiment, find a place where you can be out in nature and explore your design and your part in the Whole Design around you. Let your body teach you; let your soul be fed. This may take some planning, but it is truly a worthy experiment. 

Comments (3)

  1. Joe:
    Mar 21, 2023 at 02:29 PM

    I absolutely know what you mean Tim. I have hiked in Sedona a few times myself, but I do think you are on to something. I always feel great if I get to go on a hike out in nature on a Saturday. There is a lot of truth to this.


    1. Tim Anderson:
      Mar 21, 2023 at 05:25 PM

      I need to be able to say that I have hiked in Sedona a few times! I have some catching up to do. It’s so beautiful.


  2. Markus:
    Mar 23, 2023 at 08:47 AM

    Great post once again.

    I have discovered that same thing over and over again. Nature almost feels like the only ”reset” that I need. I’m from Finland and I’m so grateful that there is nature almost everywhere. It is easy to move in nature everyday because even if you live in bigger city you can always reach some deep forest if you walk 20 minutes from city centre. Life is awesome when you can enjoy nature daily! :) Although one downside is that when you are forced to be somewhere where the only forest is concrete jungle you immediately start to feel like caged animal. Then it is time to do some resets.

    Greetings from Lapland! Todays ”reset” is going to be backcountry skiing.

    This blog is gold. Keep those amazing posts coming. :)


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