Daily Maverick Life recently published an article in the Wellness section of their paper called The year 2021: A crisis of meaning. Authored by Melody Emmett, the article speaks to many of themes that we as the Masiyembo Association care about and programme coordinator Matthew Zylstra was interviewed for the piece and shared the following:
“One of the things we are really searching for, especially at this time, is meaning. So often things are reduced to economics but we don’t actually live economic lives. Economics has a huge impact on what we do but our lived experience is not an economic experience; it is an experience of interactions that give meaning.”
For Zylstra, connection with nature is a way to find meaning. “When we engage with nature, when we utilise our senses, when we slow down, when we connect, we start to take our engagement with nature to a much more meaningful level. That is where my work is focused; on nature connection”.
"We get stuck on dopamine/cortisol treadmills where we swing between pursuit of ‘reward’ or being in ‘fight or flight’ mode. Excessive social media entraps us in dopamine loops and excessive ‘busy-ness’ and fast-furious living pumps the cortisol. We are not attending to our parasympathetic nervous system – allowing the space to ‘rest and digest, to care and connect – all critical in the healthy regulation of neurophysiology and emotions toward a balanced way of being,” says Zylstra.
In authentic relationship with the natural environment, the human body releases oxytocin and endorphins which are associated with positive emotions such as calm, contentment, and love, which create a state of ‘mindful being’, according to Zylstra.