Our body is such a miraculous thing- the complexity is truly awesome. We can attempt to look at our bodies through so many different lenses: anatomical, physiological, biochemical, biophysics, neurological, energetic, chemical, psychological, spiritual—each lens opens up a vast world that tells us something about how we function yet no one lens can tell the wholes story. I want to add an important dimension that is not often valued—and that is experiencing as a way of really knowing how something is and I think there is something important about this aspect of living that we need to re-cultivate.

In nature, to understand a place I can read a map and it tells me something about the terrain. I can take samples from the soil and it tells me about the geology of the place. I can analyse the chemistry and it will tell me about the chemical make-up of the soil and what might grow best. I can look up Tripadvisor and learn through other people’s experiences. But it is not until I take a walk that I can begin to know what it is like to be in this place, on this land. The map will not tell me what the smooth grass or the gravel feels like underneath my shoes nor how floating leaves and the smell of damp earth make my spirit soar. When we observe and experience being in a place over time, we become very tuned-in to what’s going on. Years ago, I lived in a small converted garage for a year. My ears were so attuned to my surroundings that I could hear people talking from miles away or hearing the rapid rustling of leaves in woodlands I immediately knew was a deer. The granularity of experience over time delivers an intimate knowing.

To get to know ourselves better require time spent experiencing ourselves and the way we are- our internal hills and valleys, rivers and streams, bright and dark spots, highways and pathways, where we are free-flowing and where we feel blocked. It gives us a sense of how we are shifting today and how we have shifted over time.

When does pressure become stress? Is pressure ‘good’? Only we have these answers and our ability to answer accurately depends on our knowing of our own landscape.