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Forest Romper


Dear Jim,

There is a word that I like at the moment.

Romping.

[verb]

(especially of a child or anima) to play roughly and energetically

Every day I romp in the forest.

I pull on an outrageous pair of floral gum boots that Renja (the residency organiser) bought me, and I head out.

Not for fitness, or to follow a path, or find my way.

Precisely the opposite.

I go out to splash in puddles, and slide down rocks, and stomp through bushes. Bury my fingers into mounds of damp moss to feel the grime, pop fungi full of powdered gas that explode and magically reincarnate.

I don’t mind getting dirty, or wet, or having to peel off layers of clothes and throw them in the wash after only wearing them once.

It’s a kind of return to childhood, but with an adult gaze.

And it is important.

Sometimes people get mad at you when you go on a residency.

Most of the time because they don’t really understand what a residency is, and think you are just on a holiday instead.

I think everyone should do residencies.

Not holidays, not just a fun break, but a dedicated time to connect with oneself and regenerate.

Of course, on residencies I still spend a significant time sitting at a desk doing work.

And that of course begs the question “what is work?”

Can romping be work? Well yes, I think it absolutely can.

In Norway, I hiked.

In Finland, I romp.

Who knows, in the desert maybe I will stand on my head to sort my thoughts and better understand the world.

This is really important.

And it’s important to recognise that this is important.

It’s important to find time and space and silence.

It’s important to give yourself permission.

It’s important to read, and talk, and walk, and listen to stories, and stare up at the sky.

It’s important to value this.

It’s important not to feel guilty.

This is work.

People talk about “responsibilities.”

But this is being responsible.

This is me saying, “I need this.”

I need this to be the best possible version of myself.

I need this to do what I do best.

For you.

For me.

For everyone.

To be able to give 100%.

To be able to be fully available and committed.

To be abele to reach inside, connect, and give everything.

So why do we find it so hard to give each other, and ourselves, permission to do this?

We need to do better.

ROMP. ROMP. ROMP.


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© Alisa Tanaka-King 2020