The history of mankind shows us evolving away from living in nature and as part of nature (depending on it, surviving it and maximizing it).
We built cities, created industry and developed technology, all in an effort to improve our lives, protect our species and advance ourselves.
We can’t say for sure if we are happier or more satisfied than our early ancestors, but we definitely live longer in our new, unnatural environment.
We like our conveniences, and are highly entertained. But there’s one thing wrong with our life indoors, in cars and on sofas: it’s too clean.
We took our first cruise a few years ago, and got a real kick out of how happy the crew outside all of the restaurants were to squirt your hands with antibacterial wash as you were on your way inside. “Washy Washy!” they would chirp, to get your attention.
It was cute, and actually comforting too, since you are confined in close quarters for a week on the ship, and germs that can make you sick really do travel to surfaces and food from your hands.
No one wants a weird epidemic while sailing around the Virgin Islands.
But aside from the obvious benefits of advances in sanitation when it comes to long distance travel, medical care, human waste and the like, being super clean isn’t always a great idea.
In fact, it’s a better idea to be a little dirtier, more often.
No, not with your wound care, but yes, by allowing yourself to play in the dirt, work outside, and get back to nature–which is where you came from and how you were made to live.
Not just among nature or with nature, as if it was something separate from you, but also as part of nature. Because that’s what we are.
And yet, most of the time we walk on floors and carpet, and cover our skin with clothing. But we come from wandering tribes living outdoors or in caves. And then we wash our floors and carpet and skin and clothing. But we come from wearing animal hides and taking mud baths.
We are meant to survive nature’s challenges, and thrive with her bounty. And that bounty includes all kinds of weather, terrain, plants and animals. And germs.
Immunity is Beautiful
It’s okay. You’re allowed to be clean. We’re all better off not living in filth, we know that.
But it’s also okay that you kiss your dog and eat from a well-seasoned cast iron pan. Because a little bit of crusty old food or a slobbery canine kiss might be teeming with bacteria that will do you good.
It turns out the soil of this earth actually contains microbes that enhance your health. Not just your physical health, either, but also your mental health. That’s right, kids eating dirt was pretty much the equivalent of self-medicating. 🙂
The immune system is enhanced by a bit of dirt, allergies are less frequent with more exposure to nature, and happiness is increased when people spend time outside, in green spaces, or even when they just imagine doing that…. it’s that powerful!
So you not only have permission to get out in elements and get yourself a little dirty, you are recommended to do so. Spend a day getting sweaty, smudged and tired.
You can always washy washy before falling in your nice clean bed, exhausted, renewed, and content.
For reminders each week, click here.