Today, it is an honor to have Daphne as our guest writer. Daphne is a wonderful friend, caring lady, and all-around ‘giver of joy’. A talented writer, Daphne shares thought-provoking and uplifting articles at Joyful Days – a blog with a real focus on finding happiness and abundance through personal development. A recent example of one of her articles is Back to the Start: Why You Do What You Do, in which she discusses the value in examining the decisions we make as we work to better understand ourselves.
Today, we’re headed into the jungle! Read along, as Daphne talks about…
As Close To Eden As You’ll Get
“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.” ~ St. Augustine
The name of this blog caught my attention from the beginning. A jungle to me was a dark foreboding place, and I wondered why Lance named his blog “Jungle of Life”. Later I found out more about a jungle and was amazed at its beauty and what it can teach us about life.
The Original Jungle
The Bialowieza Puszcza is a half-million acre jungle straddling the border between Poland and Belarus. It is Europe’s last remaining fragment of old-growth wilderness. Trees here reach 150 feet, with moss that’s grown on them for half a millenium.
(The source for all quotes on the Bialowieza are from “The World Without Us” by Alan Weisman.)
Lesson #1: Life proceeds from Death
In the Bialowieza, the profusion of life owes much to all that is dead. Almost a quarter of the organic mass aboveground is in assorted stages of decay.
If you have ever walked in a jungle, you’ll remember stepping on the dried and decaying leaves that cover the ground. Death and dying are a natural part of the life cycle. In our developed cities, on the other hand, we have tried to separate dying from living. We put the old and dying away in hospitals or homes, instead of living among them, keeping them part of us, and imbibing their wisdom. This is the opposite of nature’s way.
Lesson #2: Life takes care of itself
The Bialoweiza is the only place left with all nine European woodpecker species because some of them only nest in hollow, dying trees. “They can’t survive in managed forests” says forester Andrzej Bobiec, “The Bialowieza Puszcza has managed itself perfectly well for millenia.”
Humans as a species try to manage everything we come into contact with. We like things to be clean, orderly, predictable. Our overzealous management of people and places often upsets the natural balance, and causes something to be lost.
We sometimes forget that life on earth managed perfectly well before we came along, and will continue to do so after we leave. Perhaps it is time to stop micro-managing people and places and trust life to nurture its own creations.
Lesson #3: Divisions are man-made
An iron curtain bisects this paradise, erected by the Soviets in 1980 along the border to thwart escapees to Poland’s renegade Solidarity movement. Although wolves dig under it, and roe deer and elk are believed to leap it, the herd of the largest of Europe’s mammals (wisent) remains divided, and with it, its gene pool – divided and mortally diminished, some zoologists fear.
Nature does not try to own things. We do. We like boundaries and territories. We divide the world we live in into “yours” and “mine”. We guard our portfolios at work, we want ownership rights for our property, we even think our children belong to us.
By claiming our ‘territory’, we restrict the flow of ideas, of energy, and of love across boundaries of nation, race, religion, and socio-economic classes. When we can release the need to own, then maybe we can enjoy all that life has to offer.
Was Eden a jungle?
I don’t know about you, but my mental image of Eden was more like a pretty English garden than a primeval jungle. Yet that’s probably not what the original Eden was like at all. Perhaps even our concept of paradise is contrived, landscaped, managed.
Would you recognise Eden if you were walking in it? Could you accept the disorder and the decay without wanting to clean it up and arrange everything neatly? Maybe this messy life you have now IS Eden, or as close to Eden as you’ll get. Let’s appreciate and enjoy the “jungle of life”.