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The Power of the Woods

Take a walk in the woods. Once you get far enough, you can’t really tell where you are in relation to the world. When you immerse yourself so far in the woods, you have no idea if you’re in Newark, DE; Cortlandt Manor, NY; somewhere in the south, or Burlington, VT. You just know you’re in the woods, in a natural environment.

Gone are many of the distractions of civilization: the hustle and bustle of life in a college environment – the people, buildings, cars, schoolwork, computers, televisions, etc.

Keep a cell phone with you, for safety. No need to have it on, really. But it would be reasonable to have it on your person, just in case.

If you really want, you can bring some music to listen to on your journey. Music can inspire a myriad of* thoughts. But that’s probably better to write about in a separate post.

When you’re isolated from the aforementioned distractions of everyday life, you can really take time to focus and ponder on a unique and independent level. In a solitary environment such as the woods, you are able to focus on your upper-level human needs, as described in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for as long as you need or want. These levels include the esteem level, which focuses on self-esteem, self-respect, and self-value, and the self-actualization level, which has the individual accepting reality and not denying the truth, accepting of themselves, and interested in solving problems. The lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs deal with needs that can be addressed in quotidian settings, and they don’t necessarily focus on the individual’s psyche like the upper levels do. The upper levels can motivate and drive behavior.

When you don’t have to worry about the rest of society, you can experience quite a bit of self-realization, and self-actualization. As you venture through the woods, take however long it takes to discover and think.

Think about what? Well, think about life. Think about yourself and who you are – your positive traits and how you are better for them – and your character flaws and how you can improve upon them. Think about others, what you have done for them, what you can do for them, and vice versa. Do others know you as you would like them to? And at the same time, do you know as much as you would like to know about the people you care most about? After answering those questions, there may be a few people whom you think you should be getting lunch with sometime soon.

In a world that is becoming more and more commercialized, natural settings such as the woods are often sacrificed for future capital endeavors, such as retail outlets, residential developments, or other commercial venues. I have no doubts that not all the woods in the world will be demolished for money-making opportunities, but I hope that people realize the impact and power that the woods can have on an individual, and I would encourage people to take advantage of their natural surroundings.

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