Discover more from The Power Couple by Roman Shapoval
What did our last digital detox teach us?
What our camping trip taught us about plugging into Mother Nature
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Have you ever tried to get away, only to feel like you never left?
We know how you feel. Every year my wifeand I plan at least one camping trip. This year we did a few.
Each excursion teaches us a few lessons, and reminds us of how much we’re truly grateful.
For one, I’m grateful to have a body and legs that can carry a 30 pound backpack up a mountain for two straight hours, and a woman who accompanies me as the perfect travel guide.
Bohdanna and I do our best to draw boundaries with technology daily, however a camping trip allows us to radically change our environment, which if you’re familiar with epigenetics, is more important than any diet or fitness regime.
Our most recent trip was to Killarney, an Ontario provincial park that’s home to sparkling quartzite ridges, coastal pink granite, lush forests, and over 50 dazzling lakes that are so clear you can see right to the bottom. The area was so spectacular, a group of famous local artists petitioned the Canadian government to establish the park to protect it from development.
So… what did we learn?
1. Arriving is more important than getting away
In the early stages of our relationship, we’d plan extensive getaways only to feel disappointed once the trip was over. Our brain either likes to run away from pain, or run to pleasure. Although pain can be a strong incentive to change our behavior, we often lack an accompanying vision of where we want to go (the pleasure) and who we ultimately want to become.
During the past 10 years, we’ve learned how to let go of materialistic expectations, and listen mindfully to what our soul is telling us we need.
Before we can become mindful, we first must learn what mindfulness is not.
I just need to unplug.
I have to get away.
I have to get home faster and speed.
I have to yell at my child so that I can have some quiet.
I just need to check one more twitter post…just one more Power Couple article!
Mindfulness is all about cultivating an awareness of our thoughts. Many gurus will often tell us to focus on positive thoughts, while we forget that most of the time those negative thoughts are running in the background.
How can we learn to be mindful and live in serenity, if we aren’t aware of what’s at the root of our turmoil?
We may wind up getting to our destination, only to feel like we never left.
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
For instance, Bohdanna told herself that she would disconnect from her phone, but she found herself checking it each morning for the weather…hiking info…then for canoe rentals….
She wasn’t checking her social media or work email and texts, so she was disconnecting, right?
After five days, she realized that she hadn’t fulfilled the promise to herself to completely disconnect. By physically being connected to this device, her mind, body, and experience were still being affected.
The next day she asked me if I could just check the weather, and I asked:
“Why? What if we left it up to chance, and to our intuition, on how the day would unfold? If you want, we can always go to the park office where they have the forecast posted?”
She agreed, and the day turned out to be spectacular. Most of the weather reports for the week were wrong anyway.
What’s at the root of this “checking?”
I believe it’s a form of control, which is the cousin of fear. I agree that it’s good to know the weather, but in past times our ancestors instinctively knew, by the position of the stars, the look of the sky, and the feeling in their bones. When we overuse our logical, detail-oriented left brain, we lose touch with the intuitive, holistic right brain.
Once Bohdanna and I learned to let go of that chronic stress, high-alert (beta) brain wave, we could more easily tap into the regenerative, natural (alpha) wave of the Earth’s frequency. Now we could stare into the campfire, or the stars, for hours on end with complete surrender. We got really lucky as well, as we had our own private granite ridge, where we saw the Northern Lights!
No - we didn’t take any pictures of these or the Milky Way, but sat back and enjoyed God’s Big screen.
We did take some pictures of our site and hikes however.
You may be asking:
How was this a digital detox if you took pictures?
I hear you. This is an example of using our devices as tools - in this case, a camera.
I took most of the pictures on our phone, and it was in airplane mode the entire time. Once we got back home, we uploaded all the data through a hardwired connection:
2. When you relax in style, it’s hard to get bored.
We saw many campers sitting by the fire, staring down at their phones. Why do most people mindlessly scroll?
If you ask, that person will likely tell you it’s because they’re bored, or feel like they don’t want to miss out.
Even though we wanted to relax, we hiked or canoed every day. After over two hours of constant paddling, we even managed to find our own private island where we stopped for lunch and an afternoon swim!
We find that the best way our bodies release tension, is by counterintuitively doing the intense. After our day out, we’d come back, make some gourmet camp food, have a glass of wine, sit by the fire, watch the stars, and fall asleep.
If we don’t do anything, we become slugs. You know what happens to slugs - just ask the ones eating the Napa cabbage in our garden.
When we take the time to relax, and pay ourselves the dividend of quality time first, we own the moment. The world opens itself up to us, and options abound.
That’s nice, Roman, but I have to work.
Again, I hear you. Me too. I will literally catch my breath every now and then, and remember to be calm, breathe, and let in that gratitude for the joy of living, and having a heart that can fuel those lungs. The lungs then power the ability to think of the next adventure, whether it’s at my artist’s table that night, or a local trail we’re planning to hike that weekend.
When we’re grateful, we put ourselves in a state of receiving.
There is so much wonder around us, if only we stop in appreciation.
For instance, there are potent health benefits to looking at the horizon. The science of Biogeometry indicates that looking at an interface between two surfaces, like the sky over a meadow, or the clouds over the hills or ocean, can actually calm our nervous system and mitigate the health effects from chronic EMF toxicity.
3. It’s easy to make good food for any situation.
Back to that Napa cabbage. This year we grew twenty cabbages - more than enough weapons of cabbage destruction (WCDs) to lob at our noisy neighbors.
We made teriyaki Napa cabbage salad with our homegrown carrots and pasture-raised chicken instead. We gobbled some of these down at the end of our two-hour hike:
Let us know if you want the recipe!
We packed these bad boys in our cooler, which had a massive ice block instead of quick-to-melt ice chips. Even without the ice, the salt of the teriyaki seasoning, combined with the mineral content of our vegetables, probably would have made this food last for days. We even had one of our cabbages in the van for five days, not in the cooler, and it kept beautifully!
You can eat healthy while on the road without roadside beef jerky road kill from a gas station.
On a side note: mason jars are fantastic if you want to pack your cooler evenly, to ensure that no water gets in your food. Previous years we used a no bueno combination of anchor containers (have plastic lids) and mason jars.
4. Walking is underrated
We walk daily anyway, but at Killarney we walked everywhere.
We walked up and down the hills to:
go to the bathroom
carry water (feels like uphill both ways)
go to the beach
go foraging for mushrooms
When walking in nature, we not only absorb the native microbiome that feeds our gut and immune system, we also have the time to stop, look, and listen to the sounds all around us.
Walking in the woods also supports our natural, relaxed alpha brainwave.
My wife and I always have the best talks when we walk.
5. Meat on a stick over a fire always tastes better.
As humans we’re instinctively drawn to fire. We’re able to relax our minds because we’re able to take the strain off our eyes, as they regenerate under the red and infrared wavelengths of firelight.
I don’t eat hot dogs often, but when I do…
I make sure they’re grassfed beef over a fire.
My kind of fast food.
Two minutes and they’re done.
A pack of 8 costs $10, which is roughly $1.25 per dog.
You can have four hot dogs (40 grams protein) for less than $5.
Now that’s what I call fast food!
Bonus lesson: minivans are even more stylish when camping.
For anyone interested, here are some more pictures from our excursion:
We’d love to know:
When’s the last time you did a digital detox?
Thanks for joining us in reflecting on this adventure!
You are more powerful than you know.
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