CONNECTING WITH YOUR ‘WILD SIDE’ TO FIND YOURSELF
If you had the chance to visit South Africa with The Divine Destination Collection, you know how magical the Londolozi Game Reserve is. Located on the Sand River in the larger Sabi Sands Game Reserve near Kruger National Park, Londolozi offers an extraordinary opportunity to encounter wild animals such as elephants, buffalo, white rhinos, lions, and leopards in their natural habitat, while enjoying luxurious lodgings and exceptional cuisine.
Dedicated to preserving the African landscape as a safe haven for wildlife, and to searching out new ways for man and nature to live in harmony, it’s no wonder Londolozi was one of the first places Nelson Mandela visited after spending 27 years in prison.
On September 27, Divine Live and Online participants discovered Londolozi’s unique ability to not only connect people to nature, but to their own human nature. Boyd Varty, whose grandfather bought the land Londolozi sits on in 1926, transported the group of 39 to the South African bush as he told his story of spending 40 days and 40 nights alone in a treehouse in the wilds of the reserve.
FINDING ANSWERS IN NATURE
When COVID hit the world earlier this year, Varty said he felt the need to take a solitary journey out into the wilderness. All through his life he had looked to nature to get answers, and he knew the healing he was looking for could only be found there. “We have the amazing capacity to heal and regenerate when we have the space,” he says.
For the first two or three days, Varty spent his time “listening to the silent wisdom of nature.” He woke up each morning to the soundscape of the natural world, which included the chatter of monkeys and the barking of nyala, a type of spiral-horned antelope common to South Africa.
Varty soon realized that the sounds seemed to form a pattern each morning, and he felt the natural world was trying to tell him something.
A few days later he solved the mystery – the animals were alerting him that a leopard was living close by, and was leaving her den to hunt for food for her cubs. He happened upon the leopard when he was out taking a walk – and instead of being on the defensive, or ready to attack, the leopard just sat there, relaxed, as she observed him.
“There was no fear between us. There was a mutual understanding that both of us belong here. I was not a visitor into the natural world – I was a part of it,” said Varty. “It was very powerful.”
AN ENCOUNTER WITH AN ELEPHANT
The other transformative experience Varty had was an encounter with a bull elephant he also met while out walking. He stepped downwind as soon as he saw the huge creature, who had been bathing in the river. Since elephants have poor eyesight, it didn’t see him, but the elephant stopped and set his trunk along the path to pick up Varty’s scent. The air seemed to vibrate as he watched the elephant.
“I felt something in me align, something deep in the centre of myself. I knew something was different from that moment on. I had touched a place of connection and stillness that became a marker for what I want to live my entire life towards.
“I realized every creature has a gift to give us. The language of nature is not verbal. It is energy, presence.”
A TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE
“The experience really changed him in a very basic way,” says Maura, one of the participants on the call. “He perceived himself as part of the world of nature, rather than separate from it. He was in rhythm with the natural environment and became in tune with how we all play a role in all living things on earth.”
After these two encounters, Varty realized that he had to get out of his rational mind, and learn to feel again – what he described as getting in touch with his ‘wild side’ – which really resonated with Maura.
“When your gut tells you something, your head may not understand it. When you go with your gut though, you are really connecting with your wild, pure side.
“Connecting with that authentic self enables you to be in the world and engage with others. It allows a lot of pieces to click. You think, ‘Yes, that’s right!’ It’s very affirming and empowering.
“I have been on safaris before and I know how magical they are. The noise of the world is quieted, and you engage with people in an open and vulnerable way. It helps you be your best.”
ANOTHER ENCOUNTER WITH AN ELEPHANT
Laurelea, who was also on the call, was on The Divine Destination Collection trip to South Africa and Londolozi in 2016 and was able to clearly picture everything Varty was talking about. In fact, she had her own close encounter with an elephant while visiting the reserve. One morning she heard a big commotion outside her room, and when she left to go for breakfast there was a huge pile of elephant dung right outside her door.
“We were so close to a massive wild animal! It’s awesome that that’s what we heard rumbling near the room. Where else do you get that?”
Laurelea’s experience at Londolozi also dramatically changed her awareness of her place in the world.
“To see these wild animals in their native world gave me an appreciation of their right to exist to their fullest without human beings interfering in their lives. They are animals like us. We don’t think of ourselves as animals, but we are an animal species just like them.”
While she had been passionate about environmental causes before, Laurelea says her experience observing animals in the wild at Londolozi made her consider more deeply and compassionately how food gets to our tables and the animals hurt by humans in the process.
As a result, Laurelea left Africa as a vegan. “I thought – I can play some small role in cutting back on what is harming animals and our planet. Londolozi transformed my way of seeing and being.”
Like Laurelea, The Divine Destination Collection is also committed to making the world a better place, and a donation has been made to the Good Work Foundation , a charity Boyd Varty helped establish.
NEXT STOP – EAST AFRICA
If you would like to take another virtual trip to Africa, the next Divine Live and Online adventure is in Uganda, in East Africa. On October 25, These Gorillas Just Can’t Be Mist! will take you to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for an amazing visit with gorillas.
On November 25, the last trip of the year brings us back to Canada to Churchill, Manitoba where you will have a front row seat with Lazy Bear Expeditions to visit polar bears, Arctic fox, and beluga whales, called Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh My!
Remember – you can still subscribe to all six Divine Live and Online experiences as each call is recorded so subscribers have access to the calls if they can’t make the live call, or wish to watch it again!
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