How to find harmony in nature

If you live alone in a cabin (it could be in the forest, up in the mountains or on the Arctic tundra), you soon reconnect with nature because the seasons and the weather become overwhelmingly relevant to the point they become internalized. This reconnection with your natural surroundings leads to a kind of spiritual harmony, but it will probably only do so if you fulfil certain conditions. Or at least this was my experience after living alone in a cabin in north-west Greenland for a year. We all need to slow down occasionally, reconnect and find that sense of harmony in our lives. Afterwards, you feel stronger, more creative and more composed. Here are 5 tips on how to do find that elusive harmony:


  • Choose a landscape or place that strikes an inner chord with you. You should find a place whose raw beauty strips you bare of your pretensions because then you will be able to begin to see what is meaningful to you


  • To find harmony, you need to leave behind the minutiae of modern life. So, leave it behind. All of it, all the gadgets (mobile phones, computers, iPods etc). Instead, take with you one book, a book that is for you a source of some kind of inner inspiration, a book that you never tire of reading


  • Find a place where for a while at least, you will have to fend for yourself. You might have to catch your own fish, pick your own fruit and vegetables, forage for mushrooms, pick flowers for tea etc. In order to achieve harmony, you need to return to a sense of self-reliance, a sense of being dependent on your surroundings for sustenance. Then, you will begin to reconnect with your environment. There should be no grocer or supermarket to complicate the issue!


  • In your cabin, hut or abode, try to create a simplicity that stems from the natural world. Use candles for light, put vases of fresh flowers on the window-sills, open the windows and listen to the birds


  • Take a notebook and jot down what you observe going on around you. Describe the birds, the insects, the animal life, the weather, the seasons (if you are going to be there longer), the local people, their voices and mannerisms. Describe how life changes day-by-day and all the time keep reading from your beloved book


There is an innate desire in all of us to create harmony, but the speed and complexity of modern life pushes us down another path. All of us need occasionally to slow down and reintegrate with our natural surroundings.

I took myself off to the High Arctic for a year with one volume of English poetry, a warm sleeping bag and a load of candles. You can read my story about the joys of the slow life in my recently published, Annals of Solitude: A Year in a Hut in the Arctic available from Wipf & Stock or Amazon