A space to be ourselves

Words & Photography Katherine Heath-

Knowing who we really are is something many of us struggle with our entire lives. We form opinions on matters that we believe to be our own, but that in reality are a combination of facts and observations we’ve heard elsewhere. And, whilst it’s important to learn from others and take external information into account, it’s equally important to stay true to ourselves even if our thoughts go against popular opinion.

External influences, I believe, often play too big a part in our evaluation of ourselves and what we believe we stand for. Our thoughts are clouded by the thoughts of others and it proves challenging to draw a line between where ‘they’ end and ‘we’ begin. But, the more that we are aware of ourselves and the happier we are with ourselves the less likely we are to let the opinions of others shape who we are.

Our lives are fast-paced and in a world where we have instant access to a consistent flow of new information and varying opinions it’s important to take a step back, breathe and remind ourselves who we are when there’s no one else around.

For me, the opportunity to switch off and gather my own thoughts has always presented itself in nature.

I think the one time we are most ourselves, most in our own minds and most aware of what is truly ‘us’ is when we immerse ourselves in our natural world. The sea air, a miraculous tonic. The damp, unmistakeable smell of the earth after rain. The sheer power of the wind during a storm. The irreplaceable warmth of the sun. All things we have no control over and that instantly remind us how insignificant we are and yet how powerful we can be.

Our intelligence is lightyears ahead of our natural instinct but it’s our instinct that greets the natural world with open arms. Our senses heighten, our ability to think for ourselves sharpens and we fall deeply in sync with the world around us. All appears clearer when we take the time to find the pace that our minds naturally thrive at. Stepping into the outside world allows us the time to slow down our thoughts and the space to reflect on who we are and what we stand for.

In time, this practice grants us with an understanding of our purpose and therefore a deeper awareness of what we want to achieve in life.

Our human world is fast paced–technological advancements allow it to accelerate at speeds we are not necessarily ready for–yet our natural world evolves in perpetuum to a slow, perpetual beat.

We will always be, in some way, a product of our environment and those around us which is why it’s important that we choose to surround ourselves with the space to breathe, with those that help us to grow and with the freedom to slow down and ask ourselves who we really are.

© all pictures Katherine Heath

More about Katherine, contributor of our Volume 1 print edition here. Take care! Melanie Kettner