When we are fortunate enough to visit or live near places of immense natural beauty, we are somehow compelled to share the experience of this landscape with others. This leads me to wonder-do we witness a sunset differently while being held in the arms of a lover? Would we enjoy a bush sunrise more if we were camping with close friends? Might we perceive the majesty of a mountaintop vista in a more transcendent way if we have trekked to the summit with a group of strangers? For some people, the experience of solo travel pales by comparison, yet there are those who prefer the adventure of journeying alone. Personally, I would recommend both, as opportunities for deep reflection and engagement.
This week’s travel theme (provided by Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack) once again coincided with some of my thinking throughout the past week. I have been reflecting on what it means to live a meaningful and satisfying life and whether life is generally less fulfilling for those who are not in a relationship. For me, being in relationship offers an enriched experience of life, one in which every encounter and action is more cognitively, emotionally and physically charged. So I have been struggling lately, especially when my mind is stimulated with new learning or my senses are awakened by new sights and sounds. Sharing deep or intense experiences, thoughts and feelings with family, friends, colleagues and the blogging community isn’t quite the same as sharing these with an intimate partner. And yet, I wonder if I have convinced myself of this through years of drawing comparisons while listening to the dominant social narrative that persuades us of the benefits of being in relationship and the deficiencies of being single.
Perhaps, as is often the case, some answers can be found in nature. The bright and brilliant colours of the natural world coexist harmoniously with muted hues, reminding us that both extremes are required for balance in the organic, dynamic evolution of life. Moreover, how we ‘see’ the physical world is determined by the kind of light that exists or the light that we shine on our experience. Life itself is neither exciting nor dull, but our perception and perspective makes it such. Just as we define ‘pale’ as being the absence of colour, we attribute certain events in our life as being less significant or less fulfilling because of the absence of some quality-the absence of fun, the lack of stimulation, the denial of gratification, the absence of that special someone with whom to share that experience.
Nature invites us to accept and experience life as it unfolds, not to judge, adjust or reject what it presents to us. When I sit by the ocean and take photographs, I accept each sunset on its own merits, I don’t yearn for a more colourful palette. The sky might be aflame with red and orange, the ocean might be dull and grey, either way, the canvass is beautiful, unique and ever changing. Rather than avoid or resist those moments that ‘pale in comparison’, we might discover more about ourselves and the experience itself if we learn to embrace the lightness of being that is offered to us on a daily basis.
“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity, to the small things hardly noticeable, those things can unexpectedly become great and immeasurable.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Link to Cinova’s Blog: http://cinova.wordpress.com/2013/04/07/weekly-travel-theme-pale/