Earlier today I reversed into a parking space and went to get something out of the back of the car. As I was looking down, I felt something wet touch my forehead and when I looked up, there was a large clump of ripe blackberries hanging just about mouth level. With an invitation like that, what could I do but help myself? Yum. When I was a kid you could hardly move for people raiding the blackberry bushes and you had to be really quick if you wanted any. Nowadays I'm often the only one and I see loads of fruit going uneaten and ignored. Why is this?
Is it that we just don't notice the things around us that are free to enjoy? Have we lost the knowledge or have we got scared?
Our obsession with Health and Safety means that we no longer encourage our children to explore wild fruits and taste things they find in nature. In a strange way, the more we focus on Health and Safety the less safe we become as we lose our knowledge of how to cope in the natural world. Could it be that the fear of something going wrong breeds ignorance and that only breeds more fear so we end up afraid of everything that doesn't come in a packet? Many of us also spend so much time inside our warm, carpeted homes playing with technology that we simply no longer connect with nature. We move from house to car to work without ever touching the earth with our skin. At best, our gardens are something to be sterilised or controlled and at worst, they are a pest to be replaced with gravel or decking as soon as possible.
A few months ago I met someone from Eastern Europe who was about the healthiest looking individual I have ever seen. Being curious, I asked him what his secret was and one of the things he told me was that everyday he made a point of walking around in bare feet on the grass. He said that it helped to ground him - just like earthing yourself - a way of discharging all that static that builds up when you live and work surrounded by artificial fabrics and carpets.
Remember that scene in Pretty Women when Julia Roberts takes Richard Gere to a park and he discovers what it is like to walk around in bare feet on grass? You can almost see the look of puzzlement giving way to a realisation so this is what it's all about. In the process of connecting with the earth he reconnects with more of his true self.
If you're frazzled, burnt out, uptight or just getting a bit stressed why not discharge your static by connecting yourself back with the earth again. And while you're at it, pick a blackberry or two - there's fruit all over the place, it's free and it's waiting for you.
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