'One day, this will be over and we will look back at who we were and who we’ve become… and I believe most of us won’t choose to go back to who we were before'
Lian Brook-Tyler writes a monthly column, Wild&Happy, for the Bishop's Stortford Independent about finding happiness within by connecting with the world around us...
This is my first column since our lives were plunged into the rupture that’s been created by coronavirus and all it has brought in its wake.
My family and I, like many of you, are experiencing the challenges of these times: isolation, changes to our daily habits, fears for loved ones’ health, juggling work and schooling... and I’ve also been present to a deeper shift, one of crumbling structures and the beginnings of a new way of life being forged in this crucible.
While social distancing is our current norm, it’s important to remember that this actually only means physical distancing – our social connections are more important to maintain than ever during this time. Humans are a co-operative species, we evolved to live in close-knit groups and we suffer when we don’t have deep connections with those around us.
Using phone, social media and virtual meeting apps like Zoom to maintain our social connections is wise, and I also believe this is an opportunity to fill the gap of our loved ones' physical presence with connection to the wild world.
I’m noticing how people are naturally being drawn to this connection in all kinds of ways...
Starting to grow vegetables for the first time or seeing that their vegetable patch has gone from being a nice little hobby to something deeply useful and nourishing, not just for them but for those around them with whom they can share their produce. Right now, my kitchen houses parsnips, rhubarb and beetroot grown by my neighbours (aka ‘The Best Neighbours Ever’!).
Prioritising the time to take a walk every day, whether that be to a nearby park, woods or fields. I’ve seen many more people walking on the footpaths around the Farnham fields near my house in recent weeks and I love that my daily walk is becoming a new norm for others too.
Consciously choosing to connect more deeply with beings of the wild world. For over a year now, my chosen wild being to connect with has been an old oak tree that I make a near-daily pilgrimage to commune with. Over this time, it’s shown me many things about how to slow down, to be present, to see my place in things and to live life well.
Recently its bark’s crevices showed me the secret of ‘rupture’ and the opportunity it provides for expansion. This guidance has become a certain touchstone for me in these uncertain times.
I’m clearly biased because my work is based in wildness, but I deeply believe that this rupture to our way of life is a reset, an opportunity to reimagine our lives, to choose a more natural balance and to slow down to the pace of the Earth.
So how we behave in this time doesn’t just have to be about how to cope until we can get back to normal, but it can be a chance to create a way of life that is more natural to our species, to who each of us uniquely is and in symbiosis with our home, the Earth.
The choices we make now are creating who we’ll become.
One day, this will be over and we will stand together once again, we’ll look back at who we were and who we’ve become… and I believe most of us won’t choose to go back to who we were before all of this happened.
We can let the wild be our guide here, too. Nature doesn’t go back on itself, it cycles – it cycles into greater expansion, blossoming into something ever more magnificent.
I believe if we take this opportunity to allow the wild world to remind us who we really are – creatures of this beautiful planet – we can expand into greater magnificence too.
* Lian Brook-Tyler lives in Farnham with husband Chris and their two children, who attend Windhill21 Primary School in Bishop's Stortford. For 15 years she worked in the corporate world, rising to be head of online at BT, before the life-changing loss of her father, Robert, led her onto a path to become a coach, co-founder of Waking The Wild, which helps people to reclaim their wildness and actualise their deepest gifts, and host of wildly popular podcast The Primal Happiness Show.