Nomad For A Day
by Tara Rai
Pêl Rostam was born a nomad. His roots are found in the Bewlie tribe, from the Genjjewan area in the Kurdish mountains between Iran and Iraq. There was not a single trace of civilisation where Pêl grew up. There were no buildings, no schools or shops, not even roads or electricity. In Genjjewan, the nomads and the stars were brothers and sisters; they slept under the same sky. The roosters were alarm clocks, the sunrise marked the start of each day, and the horizon over the mountaintops outlined the shape between the earth and sky. As a teenager, Pêl was forced out into brutal war for several years. He managed to escape, got involved in the resistance movement, was persecuted and eventually ended up in exile.
I met Pêl whilst walking down the expansive beach of North Goa during his winter escape from the darkness in Sweden where he currently resides. It was a mystical meeting, one which easily could not have happened were it not for the tissue I accidentally dropped on the sand that he so kindly picked up with a beaming smile. After many more walks with this incredible force of nature I decided to capture some of his wisdom to awaken others to connect with themselves and the planet.
Pêl runs nomadic workshops around the globe and is in the process of finishing the English translation of his third book, Nomad For A Day, a poetic guide between our inner and exterior relationship with nature. As a city girl born and bred in South London, what I found most potent about Nomad For A Day was how directly it supports human beings to interact with nature in numerous creative ways.
In your book you say everyone is a nomad. If that is so, how can we access our inner nomad?
“There is knowledge deep inside each of us. We are all nomads in many different ways, however we forget it. This is especially the case for those living in big cities. Most people think a nomad is somebody outside of civilisation. Indeed, there are still a few living the traditional view of nomadic existence, but in truth we are all already nomads. For example, organically you are a nomad. Before birth you were not here. For nine months during pregnancy you were invisible taking a journey whilst growing inside of another human being. Then your mother gave birth to you and you literally came from another world into this one. Then you begin your journey as a baby. During this time your body takes a journey; all your organs, cells and senses. All of your experiences make up a journey; moving from place to place, country to country, experiencing everything. We become new all of the time. Then one day, you leave this world and go back into invisibility again but you are still on another kind of journey. Everyone whether human or animal does this journey. Even the planet takes the same nomadic journey. It was invisible at a certain point in time, came to be, is now on a journey through the universe and someday will be gone.”
At present the earth is at crisis point. What can we as humans do to help this situation?
“The crisis on earth is expression for the crisis inside of humans. It is the outcome of the consciousness and actions we make. We are suffering from the way we live and the earth is suffering from that too. The main thing we can do is be in union with ourselves. When we come back to ourselves and we are home in our being, we can see how much the earth is worthy of love and how much we are worthy of love. Then we are able to see ourselves as an extension of the planet. We are one. There is no separation. Every step you take, you must have ground to walk on. Every moment, we must breathe a new breath and it is from this planet that we breathe. There’s no possibility for a single person to live alone on the planet. We are a collective and need a new collective consciousness to heal ourselves, then the earth will heal itself.’’
Tell us about your nomadic workshops.
“We do this in many different ways. What we do is practice meditations in nature. The aim is to come out of the city, from the asphalt, cars and polluted environment and go back into the natural environment. We go outdoors, slow down, find the rhythm from nature and feel this rhythm. The first thing we do is address breathing. When we are in the city, we breathe short and shallow because the body knows the air is polluted.You cannot standing in middle of the most polluted part of London, throw out your arms and go ‘ahhhhh’ and breathe in deeply. Nobody does this in the city. But when you go into nature, you see the clean green, your body knows it is safe so you can throw out your arms out and go ‘ahhhhh’. This breathing is the first contact with nature.
The next step is to go down, taking off the shoes and socks. Let your feet meet the earth as if you were a barefoot child. That feeling is so beautiful because your roots are like the roots of a tree. Your feet have roots in the earth and with shoes you cannot feel them. There is layer after layer of life and energy inside of the earth. When you are barefoot you feel everything if you slow down and want to feel it. Through that we are grounding the energy system, synchronising it with the energy system of the earth. You begin to feel calm and the stress runs away bit by bit. After only fifteen minutes or so you feel a big difference.
When we combine all of that; physically feeling the earth with a meditation there is a bigger effect on the whole system in the body and mind. Through the meditation we cleanse the mind from mental pollution. You go back to the simplicity of life and realise you are a part of this amazing planet. The other thing is that people in the city often look at nature as an object outside of themselves. They are often overwhelmed by this beauty. But when we do the meditation we do not have that relationship. We do not relate to it as an object but become a part of it and experience nature from inside of itself. We become a part of this beauty. The tree is not just an oak tree; you go and connect with it, talk to it, be with it, meditate with it and feel its energy. One of the nomadic meditations is called Wordless Meditation where we remove all words, all concept and what we think we know about nature. We meet them as ourselves without names and feel them from this perspective to see what happens. That which we call oak may have been there for six hundred years. Many generations of people, animals and birds came and went yet this being is still there. How poignant to be with that. So that is a way to go inside of nature and experience it beyond object.”
It is too late for us to change what is happening to the planet?
“To say it’s too late to save the planet is like going around and repeating ‘it’s too late to be alive.’ It is only too late every time we do not do what we should do. An ancient saying goes; ‘The best time to plant a fruit tree was twenty years ago and the next best time to plant a fruit tree is now.’ When we do things in the moment and gain insight then take action it is not too late. We have a chance every moment to do what we should do from our heart and inner wisdom. If we do that then we are on the right track to change the world here and now.”