“Getting Away to Find Whole Self”
by Kendrick Mercer, author of WHOLE SELF
Nature has a healing quality. Vibrant greenery rustling from movement. The scent of moist soil. The sounds of wind and water. The startling beauty of a mountain range when you step out of a clearing on a forest hike and see a vista across from you at eye level. The morphing shapes of clouds making lazy pictures in the bright blue sky. The heat of the sun on your face and arms. If you open your senses to experience the diverse qualities of nature and connect with the consciousness that lives in you behind your words and agendas, you will find yourself inside your body as Whole Self. This harmonious, resilient being is who you were born to be.
Our early ancestors, going back as many as 250,000 years, had brains and bodies much like ours. They lived in harmony with nature and would have viewed themselves as animals. Some had an extraordinary ability to adapt and innovate, which was something new to life on Earth. And about 60,000 years ago, when a super volcano erupted, a mere handful of very hardy and adaptive souls survived the catastrophe. We are descended from these remarkable people who found ways to survive treks of hundreds of miles with uncertain food supplies through unfamiliar terrain, and gifted us—their descendants—with the genetic heritage of abstract reasoning.
While we can be grateful for our highly evolved minds, there is a drawback to them. Our powerful capacity to anticipate the future and avoid danger keeps us alive, but most people in the modern world also run on a low-grade level of anxiety because we are hyper vigilant against threats from “dangers” in settings that are not mortal threats. We fear threats to our self-images and belief systems. At birth, instead of being left to bask in Whole Self, we are encoded by our parents, families, and communities to become Constructed Selves trying to control fear. Running our lives making decisions based on these encodings rather than on our instincts and innate sense of harmony does not bring us joy or a sense of aliveness. It stresses us and leaves us feeling as if something is off. Fortunately, reconnecting with Whole Self is the antidote.
Getting away to find Whole Self in nature may be just the remedy you need for whatever ails or confuses you. Whole Self is latent, yet accessible in each of us. It is a state of inner trust that allows all our knowledge to synthesize so we may respond spontaneously and appropriately to real problems in real time in each moment of our lives. It is tranquil, dynamic, and effective. It is a state free of resistance, anxiety, self-doubt, and prejudice. Whole Self enables us to live our lives with quiet confidence and minimal effort. It is the elemental state of being human.
Travel to a forest, a lake or stream, an island, a mountain top. Or step into a garden or park. Find a place to sit where you will be undisturbed—even if only for a few minutes—and be still. You may close your eyes if it helps you get present, or keep them open. I assure you, there is no need to invent a lot of rules for this process. You already intuitively know what to do and can trust it. I recommend breathing and being with what is. Listen, observe, taste, smell, feel. As you do, you may perceive the world around you heightened, like a blurry camera setting has come into focus. You may also notice that tension has dropped away, or that you can breathe easier.
My wife, Valorie, and I live on an island in the middle of a lake in northern Idaho. Every season and day have nuances that are fascinating to us because we take time to appreciate them. Being in harmony with nature through Whole Self is integral to our lifestyle and relationships. If you use your travels to experience Whole Self in a world of setting, I can promise it will enrich your life by making every moment more vivid and peaceful. Life is a grand adventure that begins with you.
KENDRICK MERCER is a historian, philosopher, and consultant. He has provided more than fifty years of coaching to thousands of people who note the transformational power of his business and personal development advice. His extensive knowledge of history, anthropology, evolution, psychology, and science has helped numerous corporate CEOs, presidents, and executives, as well as entrepreneurs, independent business owners and more.
Mercer graduated from Willamette University in 1958 with a major in history. He went on to earn a Doctorate of Jurisprudence in 1961 from Willamette University Law School, and passed the Oregon State Bar, standing fourteenth in a field of 400 participants, and joined a law firm in Oregon. For more information, please visit www.kendrickmercer.com and connect with Mercer on Twitter.
Whole Self was released on June 20, 2017, and can be ordered from Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.