Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Nature is at the very heart's core of everything we are and everything we do. In this piece I share some thoughts around the principles of nature that I bring to my work and my life.
Humans and nature are not separate entities and until we can come to know that deep in our bones life will always feel disparate and dissatisfying. There will always be an emptiness because we have disconnected from ourselves and our home. We have unpicked our thread from the tapestry of life and in our unravelling lost our connection to source.
But we can return home anytime we like. All that is needed is to remember and in our remembering those parts of us that we had forgotten come flooding back and all of a sudden the world seems a little lighter and brighter and we no longer feel so lost, we no longer feel so alone.
'The forest has wrapped us in a promise: that we are remembered there and always shall be' ~ Caroline Hillyer
As we Delve into the Forest we remember the importance of our relationship with nature and the imaginary curtain between us and the rest of the natural world dissolves before our eyes in wonder.
One of my all time favourite authors, George David Haskell, is a huge proliferator of this idea and speaks often in his books about how to view things that are created by man an 'unnatural' is to further reinforce this separation. I was once sat in my best friend's kitchen when she said to me: 'man made is not unnatural, there's thousands of years of ancestral wisdom that goes into making a fitted kitchen'. What a bloody wise creature she is.
'Man made is not unnatural, there's thousands of years of ancestral wisdom that goes into making a fitted kitchen' ~ Cherry Jeavons-White
Nature is not just our home it is our medicine. We are not supposed to live full tilt under a constant barrage of external and internal stimulus. Our ancestors would have shifted between short bursts of reactive stress (running from predators) and long periods of responsive recovery (digesting and resting). Our modern way of living violates this natural cycle and leaves us with a baseline of perpetual stress.
Nature is a natural antidote to our unnatural lives reducing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in our bodies and helping us to feel connected, purposeful and alive.
‘We need the tonic of wildness’ ~ Henry David Thoreau, American Author and Naturalist
Rewilding is another name for this remembering.
The doors of my heart blew wide open when I started to learn about rewilding. I felt I had finally discovered a view of the world that made sense to me.
Rewilding as a term entered the dictionary in 2011 and is said to mean ‘the practice of returning areas of land to a wild state, including the reintroduction of animal species that are no longer naturally found there’.
Rewilding nature is not about conservation, it is not about human intervention, it is not about us doing what we think is best for nature, freezing it in a particular point in time deemed as ‘ideal’ or ‘balanced’, it is about allowing nature to decide and to take its natural wild course.
What a powerful lens through which to view a human life.
To remember our innate wildness and freedom is not about us using our small minds to decide what might be best for us and following a strict protocol of actions that might lead us to an 'ideal balanced state' or to 'freedom' but rather letting nature take it's wild and natural course, letting nature decide what's best.
Rewilding is not a passive process but a receptive one. Passivity is disempowering, opening us up to abuse and oppression, whilst receptivity is empowering, opening us up to change, transformation and connection.
'I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.' ~ Angela Y. Davis
The beaver doesn't sit back and let the river flow on by, the beaver builds a dam to deepen the watercourse and create a lodge of protection for itself and its family to be better defenced from predators. These changes to the flow are not unnatural and in fact are often both essential and beneficial often having unexpected and far reaching consequences that provide opportunities for all those that surround.
Some things require acceptance and surrender, whilst others ask us to step up and create change. Sometimes our wildness asks us to flow and not force, sometimes our wildness asks us to craft our reality to create a better world for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Rewilding Human Life
Rewilding has since come to be used in many different contexts, including the rewilding of human life, inviting humans to behave, think, feel and live in ways that we have long forgotten.
Rewilding our lives is to remember that we were once wild animals and that deep in our bellies and our bones we are clawing at the walls of our self-made enclosures, desperate to escape domestication and live wilder and more meaningful lives.
Rewilding our lives does not need to mean going back to life as hunter gatherers or giving up our civilised lives but instead it is about embracing life fully no matter where we live. It's an internal shift; a change in our outlook, our perspective and our approach and even the smallest change can make the biggest of differences.
Rewilding reminds us that our purpose is and always has been to simply exist, to revel in the experience of being alive with all of its challenge and all of its beauty.
‘Rewilding occurs in the breathless awe of our encounters with nature.’ ~ Marc Bekoff
I use the word Wild a lot in my work and when I do this is what I mean...
George Monbiot taught me that wild as a word stems from the word ‘wildeor’ meaning self-willed and wilderness from ‘wildeorness’, meaning the home of self willed animals.
So to allow nature to be wild is to allow the flora and fauna to behave and live intuitively, freely and without restriction including our very own species; humans.
This is a central principal for my life and work: to encourage those I work with to move and show up intuitively, freely and without restriction.