Relationship with place

How connection to place is foundational for living in inter-dependence

Having a relationship with place - the land and community around you, both human and non-human - is integral to our sense of belonging and uncovering the depths of who we are.

Having a healed relationship with the natural world is taken to a new level, when we heal our relationship to the land and community we live within. Like any relationship, this takes time, care, patience, and sitting with the feelings of discomfort or shadows that may come up for us.

When we are able to sit with the land and community around us, we become a part of an ecosystem and begin to really lean into the mechanics of inter-dependence, of a communal way of being that is holistic and integrated. Living in this way is the way of being human, and as such - if we can face what comes up for us - offers us deep healing and understanding of who we are.

Let's talk about travel. I know, first hand, the excitement and benefits of travel. I know what it is to seek new horizons, to be intrigued and excited about what is out there. I think it’s healthy and important, especially for young adults, to explore the greater world.

The pioneering and adventurous spirit is an admirable trait, however, like most things in our “modern” consumer culture, in many instances travel has become a bauble of consumption, a photo opportunity, a source of entertainment and distraction. In the doing so, when it is mindless travel to fulfil our fleeting wants, it can be devastating for the natural world, for other communities. This is not about forming relationships or wanting a deeper understanding. It’s just entertainment. (This I know of first-hand in my own regional community in Thailand, and I highly recommend the book Ancient Futures: Learning From Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodge, for a beautifully written autobiography of her years spent living in Ladakh and observing the changes that took place as western culture began to encroach on their traditional way of life).

It can be argued that traditional nomadic people travelled all the time, and that we have a natural inclination to move around, however in reality the majority of traditional tribal peoples had a different relationship with the idea of “home”. They moved, as a community, seasonally… going to the same places year after year, following their ancestral footsteps to the best living conditions dictated by the seasons. Or - in more recent centuries - they moved because they were persecuted, or enslaved. They didn’t jet around for pure pleasure.

I think this is a valid topic to confront as we move into an era where reciprocity with our natural environment (giving, not just taking and damaging), and the protection of the rights of tribal and indigenous people needs to be addressed.

Ethics aside, spending time in one place deepens our relationship with it. We begin to recognise and build a relationship with it’s seasons, it’s rhythms, it’s inhabitants, it’s spirit.

I recognise that I am very privileged in this aspect. I live on stolen land, that my family have inhabited for 40 years, we owe nothing to the banks (though we owe huge reparations to the Indigenous Community that we strive to work with). I also have traditional home land overseas, so my travel builds a relationship with that place by necessity.

It is worth considering, though, that wherever we may land - whether it be urban, or suburban, semi rural or rural, we have the opportunity to sit with that place, learn from it and give back to it. We have the opportunities to grow things, to work for communal parks and green spaces. We have the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our place, and by extension deepen the relationship with ourselves.

Would you like to REWILD your life?

If you feel the call to rewild your life or to move into a more sovereign and ecocentric way of being and would like coaching and guidance while you recover your wild senses, I would love to be a part of your coming-into-being, and walk alongside you! Email me for an obligation-free, no expectation, no hard-sell, honest conversation of where you are, what you want for your life and how we can bring that into being in a holistic, ethical and inclusive way.

*Note: I acknowledge that I have the privilege of place and resources to rewild and heal my relationship with my natural self. However, ultimately there are infinite ways we can begin to rewild ourselves, no matter our race, gender, finances, location or education. If you have a body, and a mind, you can plant seeds to your own rewilding.

Melanie is a sovereignty and mindfulness coach and facilitator, a nature therapist, writer and educator. She is dedicated to the rewilding and remembering of ancestral ways for women to create fundamental and sustainable changes in their lives, and in our world.

Title image: Melanie Tongmar