I live not in myself …

“I live not in myself, but I become a portion of all around me … Are not the mountains, waves and skies a part of me and of my soul, as I of them?”  -Lord Byron.  See the full poem at the end of this post from which this quote is derived.

Of course that’s what I always say when asked what I am.  Actually, I often take it as far as saying that I am all that is not me.  Yeah, well … never mind.  A line for another time.  But do read on for something that makes sense to normal people.

I stumbled onto this quote at Joseph Cornell’s Sharing Nature website.


I’ve just begun exploring his work tonight, so I’m not ready to jump up and down yelling, “Donate to these people!”  But I offer it for your consideration and would love to hear what you think of it (either privately or in comments below).  I found Cornell’s blog interesting.  Kick the tires of his work and let me know how it feels, not just intellectually, but to your instincts, intuition, gut.


From their website About page:

When Joseph Cornell’s first book, Sharing Nature with Children®, was published in 1979, it was greeted with universal acclaim. Renowned conservationist Sir Peter Scott said, “I found Sharing Nature with Children a most original and imaginative concept in a field which is vital for the welfare of the planet.” J. Baldwin, editor of Whole Earth Review, wrote, “This is absolutely the best awareness-of-nature book I’ve ever seen. Sharing Nature with Children has become justly famous because it works.”


Sharing Nature is a worldwide movement dedicated to helping children and adults deepen their relationship with nature. We use creative, life-changing nature activities and Flow Learning™, a revolutionary teaching system that fosters empathy and makes ecological principles come alive. ​

Broader Aims

  • Broaden people’s sympathies and inspire a sense of stewardship through immersive [Ah! That’s the key word for me. -DK] and life-changing nature experiences. 
  • Teach principles of ecology and natural sciences by experiential games and stories.
  • Foster intuitive, heart awakening experiences of nature. 
  • Use and promote Flow Learning methodology. 
  • Create innovative nature awareness and wellness resources.
  • Transform society by training leaders and multipliers. 
  • To create deeper and long-lasting change, we focus on uplifting people’s consciousness. 
  • Help nature and help people discover their own higher nature.

From Bartleby.com Poetry of Byron, Chosen and Arranged by Matthew Arnold:

Lord Byron (1788–1824). Poetry of Byron. 1881.

I. Personal, Lyric, and Elegiac
Nature the Consoler, II

(Childe Harold, Canto iii. Stanzas 71–75.)

IS it not better, then, to be alone,
And love Earth only for its earthly sake?
By the blue rushing of the arrowy Rhone,
Or the pure bosom of its nursing lake,
Which feeds it as a mother who doth make
A fair but forward infant her own care,
Kissing its cries away as these awake;—
Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom’d to inflict or bear?

I live not in myself, but I become
Portion of that around me; and to me
High mountains are a feeling, but the hum
Of human cities torture: I can see
Nothing to loathe in nature, save to be
A link reluctant in a fleshly chain,
Class’d among creatures, when the soul can flee,
And with the sky, the peak, the heaving plain
Of ocean, or the stars, mingle, and not in vain.

And thus I am absorb’d, and this is life;
I look upon the peopled desert past,
As on a place of agony and strife,
Where, for some sin, to sorrow I was cast,
To act and suffer, but remount at last
With a fresh pinion; which I feel to spring,
Though young, yet waxing vigorous, as the blast
Which it would cope with, on delighted wing,
Spurning the clay-cold bonds which round our being cling.

And when, at length, the mind shall be all free
From what it hates in this degraded form,
Reft of its carnal life, save what shall be
Existent happier in the fly and worm,—
When elements to elements conform,
And dust is as it should be, shall I not
Feel all I see, less dazzling, but more warm?
The bodiless thought? the Spirit of each spot?
Of which, even now, I share at times the immortal lot?

Are not the mountains, waves, and skies, a part
Of me and of my soul, as I of them?
Is not the love of these deep in my heart
With a pure passion? should I not contemn
All objects, if compared with these? and stem
A tide of suffering, rather than forego
Such feelings for the hard and worldly phlegm
Of those whose eyes are only turn’d below,
Gazing upon the ground, with thoughts which dare not glow?

“Is it not better thus our lives to wear,
Than join the crushing crowd, doom’d to inflict or bear?”

No argument here.  (Except with the apostrophe.)