I’ve been getting outside more to walk. The days are still cold, sometimes unkind, but they’re redeemed by the sun making a more regular appearance. The warmth feels good on my face, and it’s got me dreaming of the new seeds I’m going to plant and the healing tea garden that will soon come to life in my backyard.
Whether I’m walking in my neighbourhood or on the Bruce Trail, there is a recognizable silence that comforts me. I hear only my own footsteps, the birds chirruping, and the sound of squirrels rustling up dinner prep. Few people are out yet doing yard chores in the cold, with the exception of our 80-year-old neighbour who can always find a way to make me feel like the laziest human.
Most days, I spend my time on a device, on a project, on a mission, always go-go-go. It can be an internal skirmish, as I’m a person who craves calm. So, at the end of the day, I attempt to lace up my hikers, and get myself outside. The silence of the outdoors helps me function, it unlocks my mind to new ideas, new recipes, dreams—you name it.
Scientists who study brain scans already know that moments of creativity take place when the mind is at rest. When I’m outside or simply relaxing, I can feel my brain begin to free itself. So naturally, I find myself craving slower living. One activity that has been cultivating calm for me is seeking inspiration in other artists—artists who embody relaxation and share this special ability with the world. Here are a handful of my favourites, in case you too can benefit from their stories.
Maria and the Forest – An artist, educator, and filmmaker sharing her interest in plants, foraging, and rural life in the countryside of Norway.
The Cottage Fairy – A quiet cottage fairy seeking a gentle life as an artist and writer in rural Washington State.
Martijn Doolaard – A photographer, filmmaker and travel writer from the Netherlands living in the Italian Alps.
Mother the Mountain Farm – Sisters caring for a regenerative farm on Bundjalung Country on the East Coast of Australia.
I hope you can find calm in these stories, and be brave enough to give your brain leisure. It is this that will help you carry your ideas, your writing projects, perhaps even your career, to the next level. As the weather starts to warm, my aim is to get outside daily. You might even see me carrying a basket, as my YouTube friends have all inspired me to forage in the nearby woods.
Thank you, Maria, Paola, Martijn, Julia, and Anastasia. Keep posting, you are an inspiration!