Have you ever found yourself in a place of pure, unspoiled, beautiful, and noticeably untouched land?
The quiet is so loud that you forget what “civilization” sounds like.
Iceland, a land of fire and ice, sky and sea, water and wind . . . of beauty and magnificence!
In July and August of 2018, I returned to Iceland 40 years after my first adventure to this northern and remote part of the world. I was then, and I am witness and participant now, in the still present rawness of nature that has had hundreds and even thousands of years to just be and become. It is not to say that civilizations influence isn’t having its effect, it is, but nature in so many places is without signs of human touch. It is this part of my recent pristine experience that I celebrate and share.
Iceland excitedly demonstrates connecting to Nature on a deep level. Iceland speaks loud and clear. One day an oasis of sunny silence and air floating puffins sailing off the cliffs into the sea, the next with rain and winds that will tear the asphalt off the roadbed. Perhaps here, more than other places, one’s experience is so intimately influenced by the weather.
Everything seems more profound. The visual crispness of colors. The surf forever refining the black lava sands into finer particles. The roar and sheer power of the water as it pours over slowly yielding hardened lava. Staring at a waterfall in Iceland, is a deeper experience then most. The sky is often grey, as water is everywhere, in the sky and on the land. As I approach, the sound increasingly drowns out my inner chatter. What’s for lunch? How many miles? is replaced with experiencing the sheer power and force of nature and quickly going from thinking to feeling . . . into a beautiful doorway, where seeing the waterfall is being the waterfall. Raw and robust, real and in your face. Mother Nature’s voice is more obvious, her actions more pronounced. In Iceland for 22 days; I felt no boundary separating me from water, rock, grass, flowers, sky. Nothing between me and the wholeness of the earth. The country is its own kind of paradise, providing freedom from one’s own barriers with all she offers.
The journey into Iceland is an adventure that most aren’t prepared for, in a good way. A planned vacation turns into an internal transformation. One quickly realizes they’ve been longing for something they can’t explain, and through her incredible beauty; Iceland reveals a vision. Iceland’s vast expanses of unspoiled scenery make you realize that you aren’t separated from Nature, rather you are a part of it. The rivers that you see are like the rivers of your veins and arteries. You can feel it in the glaciers, the black sand beaches, the ice caves, the pure freshness of air and bubbling steam geysers. The sweater you might be wearing is from natural colors and you see those sheep grazing on the lush green grass right before you. Woven patterns handed down through generations, so that it becomes a treasured garment to wear for a lifetime.
As I journeyed this time, memories of 40 years ago continually welled up inside me; as I sat inside the same cave, or walked the same beach, and saw the same rock formations off the shore. Tears, joy, laughter, longing, sadness, gratitude overwhelmed me as I traveled inwardly and outwardly across Iceland’s mighty expanses. My eyes and heart were opened once again. So much out there and inside me is unchanged. Yet a big part of it all has changed profoundly.
In today’s mayhem, humans have quickly forgotten what it was like to have only nature as your chorus and not the sounds of technology. To feel one’s heartbeat pound with the waves on the rocks; and begin to transform inside. Sightseers stand in awe as million pound icebergs bob up and down, in gentle rhythm in the Jokulsarlon lagoon; melting, breaking up, and floating out to sea carrying with them the mystery of the past. As the ice transforms, so too does the watcher; surrendering what is out of their control. Like busy industrious ants taking pictures hoping to see, to remember, to capture that connection to the earth.
From my journey of 40 years ago there are increasing signs of overgrazing, roads, power lines, hay wrapped in colorful plastic, and tourist accommodations. The question for me is how can we protect and preserve Iceland or the remaining Icelands in this world? Can we? Progress may take all this, or perhaps a volcano, who is to say? Unspoiled nature doesn’t deserve to take a backseat in the far distant collective memory.
The true nature of Iceland is where nature is left alone. Where we can co-exist as a part of, rather than attempting control of. Where we can stand or sit or lay in awe; while tears fall from our eyes in gratitude for the unmistakable gifts of life, in it’s many expressions. The true nature of Iceland and the true nature of our home, this earth, is worth experiencing with one’s heart.
Ilan Shamir, Founder Your True Nature
Nature in its essence of water and movement shared with me its advice as I took the time to feel and deepen into my connection. The waterfalls of Iceland in the video below filled my heart and gave me their wisdom. May you find the flow in your life each day.
Video Credit: Ilan Shamir & Nisha Anand