Naked in Eden: My Adventure and Awakening in the Australian Rainforestby Robin Easton
'You must be mad to live in the bloody jungle, mates.' Not mad exactly, just disconnected and seeking more meaning and adventure in their lives. An eccentric free spirit who never quite fit in, Robin Easton saw her soul mate in Iana rugged, rowdy Aussie who wanted out of the confines of his family's business. Together they planned their Great/b>
'You must be mad to live in the bloody jungle, mates.' Not mad exactly, just disconnected and seeking more meaning and adventure in their lives. An eccentric free spirit who never quite fit in, Robin Easton saw her soul mate in Iana rugged, rowdy Aussie who wanted out of the confines of his family's business. Together they planned their Great Escape: to live off the grid in a remote area of Australia's Daintree Rainforest.
But as their Jeep wound its way closer to the tiny black dot on the map, Robin couldn't have fathomed just how the jungle would test her mentally, physically, and spiritually. As she came face to face with her fears of deadly snakes, leeches, and man-eating crocodiles, she began to unravel the mysteries of life and death, love and loss, and nature and humankind. Hidden in the forest mist, she discovered our biological relationship to the natural world and our unique place in it.
- Health Communications, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
- Age Range:
- 15 - 18 Years
Read an Excerpt
Snake in My Face
The gentle breeze that usually filled our valley had abandoned us. I knew the day would soon be intolerably hot. If I wanted to go for a morning hike I had to leave immediately. I slugged down almost a liter of water, grabbed a handful of dried fruit from the tent, and wandered up the hill that rose behind our camp. I was eager to reach the crest and see what lay beyond. Was there a grand vista or perhaps an undiscovered creek full of ancient palms? But the top of the hill never came, beyond each rise was yet another hill. I kept climbing and climbing and was annoyed when the pain in my bladder begged me to stop and let go of the water I'd drunk earlier.
I pulled my frayed denim shorts down around my thighs and squatted barefoot to pee. Oh man, the simple pleasures people miss; warm urine pooled around my toes, and warm air caressed my bare arms and legs. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. A six-foot, red-bellied black snake raced toward my feet and the urine streaming from between my legs. I gasped, pulled back. Startled, the snake rose to strike position, twelve inches from my face. With head and neck flattened, he lashed out three times in a false strike within two inches of my nose. I froze. Oh God, I'm still alive. His fangs didn't snag my face. Robin, stay calm. Don't move a muscle. If he bites, you could be paralyzed.
Head to head, eye to eye, I didn't dare breathe; my moist breath might provoke a serious strike. Inches from my face, my neck, it would be the worst place for venom to enter my body, immediate envenomization. I could see each individual scale on his head. His rapidly throbbing throat stretched so tautly it appeared distorted. Two glasslike black eyes bulged with fear and stared straight into mine. His tongue flicked between black scaly lips to taste the air. Can he taste my fear? I have to let him know I'm no threat. How do I communicate that to the snake's tongue? His eyes are almost popping out of his head. Boy, I know how he feels. Wait a minute; he's more terrified than me.
When I realized this, I knew that the way to reassure him was to act and feel as if his presence were almost irrelevant to me, as if I were a tree or a rock. Surprisingly, that was not as hard as you might think. I knew he'd either bite or he wouldn't, but if I flailed about or even moved he'd most likely strike. Since we were already nose to nose I decided the best course was to calm myself in earnest by pretending I faced only an earthworm and had nothing to fear. Something shifted in me and let go. I actually began to relax. Time slipped into slow motion. Time within time, face-to-face, I started to comprehend this maligned creature. I began to think and not merely react. Gradually, compassion calmed my racing heart, and within that calm I heard the snake's thoughts.
'I don't know who you are. I'm terrified. Confused. I don't want to harm you. You just happened to be on the path of my flightthough I will protect myself, fight for my life if I have to. You don't seem ready to attack. You're too big to eat. You're much bigger than I am and could easily crush me. Aaah, so you hadn't thought of that. You don't realize your own strength, do you? Not that I fear that strength. So, you're afraid too. What'll you do with your fear? Strike out? Kill me? I'd like to pass unharmed. Will you let me do that? I don't dare take my eyes from your face. You might hurt me. I must remain in strike readiness to protect myself. If you look away and allow me to escape I won't harm you. Can I trust you? Can you trust me? We've reached an impasse.'
While the snake directed his thoughts into my consciousness, I heard a lizard dart among the leaves, a fly zip past my right ear. A kookaburra in a distant tree gave a brief laugh; the midday sun sweltered too hot for anything more raucous.
The snake flicked his tongue.
All of a sudden, I felt more awareness than I'd ever experienced. I was taken aback that I could feel such crisp clarity. More surprising, I immediately had a memory I didn't know I could recall, a memory of being connected to all other life forms, a time when all beings communicated with each other, awareness-to-awareness.
The snake waited, motionless.
Thoughts drifted from my mind. With the ease of a child, I talked with Red-belly, thought-to-thought.
'Okay, Red-belly, I hear you. One of us has gotta be vulnerable. I'll take the risk. I need to test my courage. And you're right; I'm heaps larger than you. I must appear huge. Since I've intruded into your space, I'll retreat first. You can trust me. Please let me trust you. I don't wanna become paralyzed from your bite. I'll slowly turn my head away so you won't see my eyes, and my eyes won't see where you're going. I've no interest in following you. You're safe. Just don't bite me. Okay? Sloooowly, I'm turning my head and eyes away from your space. See? I'm completely at your mercy. Don't harm me. You're free to leave. I won't hurt you.'
With my head turned side on, the snake took one huge black lunge and whipped half of his six-foot length up and over the rest of his body and vanished into the rainforest faster than my peripheral vision could follow.
I collapsed, grinning to the urine-soaked ground. I felt elated. In the face of potential death, I discovered a courage I didn't know I possessed.
Tested and passed, I began my initiation into the mysteries of the Australian rainforest. There were many more tests. Each one I embraced with loving spirit and open arms. Daily the whisper of this ancient rainforest beckoned me to enter and discover life's most intimate secrets. In time I shed all of my clothes along with my fear, and walked naked into the jungle.
What People are Saying About This
"Naked in Eden is a can't-put-it-down thrilling account of who we really are--and why our connection with the natural world is so healing and vital. This book is a page turner. I couldn't help but think, 'I want to see the movie!'"
--Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause,and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
"As crusty as an adventure novel, as labyrinthian as a spiritual memoir, Naked in Eden is an in-depth exploration of the central questions of our time: Who are we human beings, and what is our place in this wild world?"
—Chellis Glenndinning, Ph.D., author of My Name Is Chellis and I'm in Recovery from Western Civilization, Off the Map, and more
"This is a beautiful and brave book, a woman's true story of her remarkable transformation in one of the most exotic, most dazzling, and most dangerous places on earth, the Australian rainforest. Compelling reading, spiritually charged, unforgettable."
—Joseph Dispenza, author of God on Your Own: Finding a Spiritual Path Outside Religion, The Way of the Traveler, and Live Better Longer
"Robin Easton's is a heroine's journey that, like all such journeys, risks everything. The payoff is transformation and a discovery of her deep intimacy with the earth itself. At a time when nature as we know it is in peril - and we with it - we need Easton's message as never before."
—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of the New York Times bestselling book Healing Words, Healing Beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine, and others
"A wonderful read that takes you into the wonder of unknown spiritual worlds."
—Lynn Andrews, author of the bestselling Medicine Woman series, Love and Power, Tree Dreams, Teaching Around the Sacred Wheel, The Mask of Power, Walk In Balance and more
Meet the Author
Robin Easton walked away from society at the age of twenty-five. She left the United States and went to live with her husband in the remote tropical Daintree Rainforest of Queensland, Australia. One of Robin's most remarkable rainforest experiences was the gift of music. During her last year in the rainforests of Australia she began to dream beautiful music. When she returned to the United States she sat at a piano and played as if she'd played for ten years. Unable to read music, Robin has performed and recorded on both the east and west coasts. She's done production work with musician Les Brown, Jr., and produced and published her own piano solo album, all from her original dream music.
Robin's story has been told on an award-winning NBC News affiliate piece, Paul Harvey News, CNN, KBLA Radio, KSFR, and others. She's appeared in magazines and newspapers throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 2002 Robin helped found the Daintree Rainforest Land Trust (DRLT) to help save the vital rainforests. She writes and blogs at www.nakedineden.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I heard about this book after reading David Moody's January 28 Huffington Post review of Naked in Eden. I bought the book from Amazon, thankful that it was available in Kindle edition. This book absolutely altered the way I look at the forest. I love being outdoors and when I hiked alone, I actually believed I was alone. Easton's book opened my eyes to the idea that everything in the world, plants, animals, trees, bugs, is aware of my presence in the forest. Her descriptions of the Daintree rainforest a passionate and very picturesque. I found myself talking to the book at times, laughing out loud, and fighting back tears at times. I was amazed at how full the book seemed with so few human characters in it, and then I realized the the fullness comes from the most passionate LOVE that Easton projects into her writing. As a reader, I actually came away feeling love, and feeling loved. There were so many times that I just slapped my leg and said to myself "Gosh. I wish I said that!" There is a very striking contrast that I saw in Easton's book as compared to books by different authors in this and other genres. So many authors highlight the "man vs. nature" theme. They amplify conflict with a natural world, infested wild and dangerous man-eating beasts to be feared and then overcome by courage. Yes, Easton acknowledges fear of the same man eating beasts, among other things in the rainforest. But by the end of the book that fear is transformed to awareness. The conflict is transformed to compassion. The fear is transformed into love. I STRONGLY recommend this book for anyone who enjoys nature and who wants to engage a deeper spiritual relationship with nature. I also strongly recommend the book to parents with teens, as a way to get them to get out and live their lives, rather than watch it on television or video games. Real adventure far surpasses virtual adventure, and Easton illustrates how adventure can be enlightening when facing our fears of the unknown.
I expected to read about Easton's transformation during her time in the rainforest. The trasformation happened but she sort of skimmed over what her life was like before the transformation so I really didn't get a feel for what she went through during the process. However, I hate to criticize anyone's transformation process because I know this experience was huge for her, I just don't know if it was worth it to share her experience with other readers, without allowing them to walk down the path with her.
Just as her book's title holds layered meaning, so does Robin Easton's engaging personal story. "Naked in Eden" is an unforgettable adventure tale, mesmerizing in its bold and revealing honesty. Easton holds nothing back as she relates how she reclaimed herself in a most unusual way. Twenty-five years old, mildly autistic, and alone with her new husband in a foreign country half-way around the world from her home and all that was familiar, she found the greatest treasure in life among glistening moments of pure beauty. Exciting, impactful, and awe-inspiring, this nail-biting account of a period in her life is filled with breathtaking scenery, danger, humor, passion and compassion, wisdom, and the most profoundly beautiful love. It's an unusual adventure story, a journey of self-discovery, and filled with universal wisdom. Easton's delightful story is powerful and moving, and it's filled with astounding moments of courage, strength, honesty, vision, and woven throughout her tale are shining nuggets of cautions, lessons, and wisdoms for the world. If readers look beyond the surface, they will find universal messages they can apply for themselves, life lessons for growth and awareness about what it means to live a life that's in absolute harmony with everything and everyone: all our world's living beings. This hard-to-put-down book is an easy read, with dialog and descriptions that flow as smoothly as an undisturbed river. My recommendation, however, is to read it as slowly as you're able, just so you don't miss any hidden nuggets of juicy revelations about life. I couldn't do that, though. I just finished it, and will turn right around and read it again, for the deeper messages, to catch all the subtleties I know I didn't allow to register the first time, gleaning more insights from this most unusual and uplifting love story about life and the world we live in. I can't recommend this book enough, and I eagerly await Easton's next tale! A final word-or two: My admiration for this woman is unbounded. I teasingly remarked to a friend that we should clone Easton, and he said, "Cloning her is a great idea. It could transform life as we know it overnight." I totally agree! The world needs more who approach life and live it as she does: fearlessly and wholeheartedly, and eagerly seeking the best within and sharing it widely. Easton is a worthy role model for all of us.