This summer, we’re exploring the Healing Power of Nature through a series of stories from the Yamai family and members of the Snow Peak community. This week, we’re sharing the story of Pemba Sherpa and the ways nature transformed his life. Read on to learn about Pemba, and check out his video interview for more.
Albert Einstein once said: “Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”
While I was a junior in college, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and agoraphobia. During that period, I developed constant panic attacks. I started working on myself by turning toward nature and examining the simplicity of the world around me. I looked at ants that came into the house, observing them without judgment, just watching their path. I listened and watched the birds as they flew by the window. I watched the trees in a nearby park to understand what it means to be a tree. Without trees, birds would not exist, insects wouldn’t either, and neither would humans. Through these realizations, I developed a deep appreciation and compassion for everything. This immense love and compassion for nature's gifts became an important part of my journey. I started meditating on essential elements like the air that keeps us alive. Without it to breathe, the world would not exist. Slowly detaching from my human ego and moving closer to appreciation and love gave me the courage to push myself beyond my phobias.
By taking one step at a time, despite how difficult and uncomfortable it felt, the love, compassion and appreciation for nature slowly overshadowed the fear. During this process, I developed an immense love for photography which helped me push my boundaries even further. I ventured to remote areas in order to capture beautiful images. My short hikes turned into backpacking trips. My backpacking trips evolved into a love for mountaineering and rock climbing. Things that once felt unattainable became my passions, and I started enjoying everything more than I feared it. My dedication to thankfulness allowed me to overcome my panic attacks and agoraphobia.
Today, after all these years of work, I have triumphed over my phobic nature, and I feel more deeply rooted and connected to the world around me. Our modern society has created fast-paced and chaotic life. Our ideas of success center on greed and power. In many ways, we’ve lost sight of our core values and the very things that differentiate humans from other species on this planet.
Humans are distinct in their ability to observe and express love, compassion, empathy, appreciation and thankfulness. However, the stresses of modern life have caused a significant increase in mental distress. I firmly believe that meditation and time in nature can have a significant positive impact on us all. We need to balance the technology and conveniences of modern life with a connection to nature. By reconnecting with the rhythms of nature, we can create stronger bonds with one another and with our surroundings.
Words and photos by Ang Pemba Sherpa.