Have you ever done something completely illogical, just because it ‘felt right’? Chances are that you have, and that it turned out that listening to that inner, elusive prompt was the best decision you could have made. In bypassing the circuits of habit and the imposed logic of the everyday world we sometimes manage to tap in to a deeper understanding and a clearer vision, one that sees beyond the boundaries we tend to impose upon ourselves all our lives.
We build our vision of reality based on the interpretation of events, both through our own eyes and the filters we impose on ourselves, and through the interpretations we are taught as we grow and learn how to live in a society that has its own rules and preconceptions.
When we are taken out of our accustomed milieu, perhaps travelling to a foreign land where the culture, habits, manners and morality even are different, we notice things we would not have seen in our own habitual places. How we see them depends largely on our own reactions and choices. As a simple example, I remember well the reaction of someone I know to travelling as close to home as France. She found the French to be rude, unmannered and did not enjoy her time there at all.
Historically, there has been tension between the two nations and that is one obvious filter. Our fear of anything beyond our familiar comfort zone is another. I lived in France for years, and never found them anything other than courteous, polite and welcoming. They, however, found the British stiffness… especially my table manners instilled by a Victorian generation… quaintly amusing. The difference, I think, is one of the barriers of imposed perception. To go to another land and judge it by your own ‘normality’, or to be able to leave judgement behind and join them in theirs, embracing the difference and the possibilities that can open through them.
For the past few years we have ‘followed the feeling’. We have made tentative plans, knowing, full well, that we are easily sidetracked. But one has to begin somewhere and a starting point is a good place for that. From there we have seen where the adventure has led us, following clues in the landscape, gut instinct, coincidences… even the red kites.
What we have learned on our travels has been fascinating, opening the landscape to a different vision and interpretation, one that goes both wider and deeper and has challenged many preconceived ideas. What we have been shown about how we usually think and reason has been a real eye-opener in more ways than one.
During half of this time we have been working in the landscape where I live and which I know very well. Yet until we opened ourselves to what the moment might show us, I had never truly seen it, never seen the connecting threads that run through both the land and its history, never understood, not really, how little we humans have changed in our hopes and aspirations, our emotions and fears, over millennia.
The veneer of our modern civilisation is a solid one, hard to break, harder still to deliberately discard. Evolution, too, counts for something and we are not the same as we were hundreds and thousands of years ago in many important respects. Yet beneath the veneer we share the same humanity, the same instincts, the same inner voice that sees clearer than modern eyes behind their designer shades.
Sometimes it is worth forgetting the habits and falsities of a constructed life and remembering to listen to that inner wisdom, following the feeling… or following the heart.