One of the things I feel the most disconnected from here in Luxor is nature! I know that might seem a little strange to some, who see the beautiful pictures of sugar cane fields and palm trees hugging the Nile, but actually living here is a very different story.
Having moved from England, where I was in nature a lot, this life here feels so disconnected from it. All of my life I have spent in nature. Growing up in ireland and being surrounded by fields and woods, then Spain where I spent most days either in water or horse riding or roaming the fields, not always with positive outcomes, but that’s a different story! Even moving to England I was again surrounded by green fields and large woods. And water, my most favourite element.
When I began really connecting to nature, and the elemental energy within it, my awareness that my body and consciousness were part of the energetic matrix of Life within the natural world expanded. I knew myself to be in a relationship with nature and that is where I felt the most comfortable. Doing my earthwork over the past 13 years and being part of the natural world made me feel healthy and whole, even though I was still healing myself of all of my pasts. Over the years I have moved ever deeper into the consciousness of nature, and the elemental energies which keep it growing abundantly. I learned why certain areas were not growing abundantly and how to change it energetically. I also learned how our ancestors understood, and worked with, the cycles of nature to create abundance for themselves. They too had a good relationship with their surroundings. They understood the necessity of creating harmony within that relationship if they wanted to survive well. They understood the vagaries of nature and respected it. Although this has changed immensely over the past few thousand years people are realising that in order to survive they need to move back into that awareness again. Many of the problems with nature is the people in it!
So having grown up, surrounded by nature and the Elementals, and now living in the desert, I find it it is a very different experience. We live on reclaimed desert but which was once ancient graveyards, going back to the Naqada period (6.000 years). A few hundred yards away lies the Temple of Seti the First, which was once beautiful and surrounded by nature, but is now a barren tourist destination. We are surrounded by an ever-growing community of people whose only desire is to live the modern life depicted on TV, and promised by the money brought by tourists. Older, mud-brick houses are replaced by concrete and steel buildings and people are becoming more and more disconnected from the land. In order for these buildings to be built they tear down the trees, which grow around their houses. Palm and fruit trees only grow around the mud-brick houses but disappear as soon as another son needs to build a house because he wants to get married. Slowly the nature is disappearing and being replaced by tall, unfinished buildings with satelite dishes on top and the noisy hum of air-conditioning units. You can’t live in a concrete and steel building here without one!
The disconnection from nature is palpable. As a foreigner here, having grown up in greener Nature, this disconnection is very difficult to manage. I yearn for a small house, surrounded by garden and lots of trees. Although we are lucky here to have a garden I rarely go into it as it is always filled with kids or adults and I really want to be able to just sit under the olive tree and ‘commune’! There is no concept here of ‘personal space’!
It feels here like the prevailing energy is always ‘tense’. There is no sense of ‘ease’ here, even if people spend most of their time sleeping, especially in the hot summer months. I have spent the past two years crossing the Nile, back and forth, from East bank to West bank, but only once actually ‘felt’ the water. The first time we were sitting on the ferry waiting for it to move away, and I suddenly heard the lapping of the water at the edge of the bank. It was such a quiet, soft sound and my entire body relaxed into it. It was the first time in nearly two years that I had felt this and i wondered why it just never seemed possible to connect with the river in this way any more. The people here are constantly thinking of survival and the pursuit of money. The enjoyment of nature is just never considered. They live on nature, not within it.
The farmers, who spend a lot time in the fields, have a closer connection but this too is about money. They think of the land as a product, rather than as something to be nurtured by and enjoyed. They spend more time fighting over it, selling the topsoil for cash, yelling about field boundaries, but not a lot of time actually relishing the miracle of the life they are nurturing as they grow the food for their families. But again it all comes down to survival.
One of the most satistfying feelings i have ever felt was the tiredness at the end of a day spent growing my food in my garden. Knowing that I was taking care of myself and my kids, foodwise. It was a feeling of utter completion and joy, and I never get that feeling with anything else that I do. I miss that connection. I miss life. And as I write this I am hearing three men’s voices, arguing and shouting, about God-only knows what this time. It is a constantly stressful place to be and maybe that is why there are so many stroke-victims here. Virtually one a week. Cancer and stroke, the two big killers.
If you cannot connect with Nature then you are also not connected to your own body. I feel like the energy in my body is depleted. It is starved of life. Living this way is a trap with very little hope for a way out. That is how most people exist here. Cut off from their feelings, their experience and from life. It takes such a long time to move out of this that people often just don’t bother any more. They live in a tiny fishbowl of envy and petty jealousies. They are always on edge. Life is hard but it could be a lot easier, if they only changed their minds and listened to newer ideas and ways of doing things.
But I guess that is why we are in the middle of revolutions. Because people need to be pushed to their limit before they know that change is necessary. And I hope, that when the change really comes that people will reconnect to their land in a positive way and not continue skimming across it as if it were ice.
I can only hope…