The REAL Urban Myth is that we can be free of the limits of nature. This is a myth in the true sense of the word, because it is a big picture story that convinces us that the way we live is natural. Urban life is lived in grids of straight lines, made up of streets and buildings, which lock us into their logic. This logic is built on the drive to profit from nature, which we learnt during the Agricultural Revolution some 10,000 years ago. If we grow crops in lines and irrigate them by diverting rivers, we create surplus yields. Then we build more permanent structures to store the surplus and to live permanently near this new source of abundance. Over many generations, cities are born. The people that are born into them feel like the cities are a natural environment. They get used to walking, and then driving, along straight lines, and living in
solid buildings that also follow this same simple rule. The most efficient way of moving things, including ourselves, or housing them, is in straight lines. In a sense, we are farm creatures as well; sorted into cages like the other animals we have domesticated.
In modern life, many people feel that this system has become a faceless machine, locking them into grids of work, rest and play that lack the freedom and deep satisfaction of living in close contact with nature. This is natural, because humanity spent over 90% of their evolution in intimate relation with the more-than- human world around us. The ebbs and flows of organic life, the cycles of growth and paring back, the sniff of the ocean breeze and the captivating sight of a campfire all draw us to a better place. The real urban myth is that we no longer need these things as an integral part of our lives, because technology replaced nature as the great provider of all we need. Food comes in plastic packages from the supermarket and water from a tap (if we’re lucky). We don’t have to contend with the challenges of nature to benefit from its gifts. But along the way we have forgotten that we are utterly dependent upon a healthy world for our continued existence.
We have also left behind the ways of life that could keep us in close contact
and relationship with the elements. My “Break Free Exercise” is a type of ecotherapy, designed to reconnect you to these deep streams of the human psyche. Give it a try, in nature or in your own home (although you’ll need to adapt your movements if you have hard surfaces to deal with!).
Keep coming back to naturecalling.org for more free advice on how to deepen your connection to the elements. You will also find an Invitation to consult with me for personalised attention to the way you stay in touch with the healing, empowering and transformative powers of nature.