What does rewilding mean and what does it take to rewild our lives?
Rewilding - what is it? Is it howling like a wolf, dancing naked under the moon? Is it living only from foods foraged from the land, is it eating without cutlery, is it giving up our worldly possessions and living in a mountain cave?
Well, no. And maybe yes.
Rewilding stems from the practice of ecologically restoring the natural and wild spaces of the environment (broadly speaking to mitigate climate change, mass extinction, and encourage the return of biodiverse ecosystems).
But no great change happens without a fundamental internal shift in what we value and how we behave in accordance to those values. No great change happens without self-inquiry, a radical change in perspective, and action.
Along with the rewilding of our external natural environment, a rewilding of ourselves is needed for ecological restoration ("as within, so without").
In today's capitalist society, we have mostly been reduced to being seen as producers and consumers, and the systems in place have been organised - whether consciously or not - to make sure we are contributing to the mechanics of capitalism. Capitalism is a system designed for growth and expansion, with a view to infinity. For the most part he only system it gives back to is itself, and in the doing so it has pillaged and not replenished the natural world, and isolated much of the human population from that which is actually needed to survive and thrive... nature.
As we are a part of nature this has been very damaging to our emotional, spiritual, physical and psychological life. We are quickly being reduced to numbers and statistics, and are fast losing our relationship with our own inner essence... what it means to be human in a living world. We are losing the relationship with ourselves, that is, our most natural selves stripped from today's capitalist cultural and social narrative... the expectations that have been placed on us as to how we define and value ourselves as human beings.
When we learn to rewild ourselves, we learn to fundamentally shift our values in favour of an ecocentric way of being - that is a way that honours the intricate web of life, of the seasons (both internal and external), and with an extended timeline view of our presence here, understanding that we belong and act as a representative of our ancestors and future generations.
Rewilding is a reconnection of our inner nature. Some of those are primal and biological needs (touch, naturalised foods, fresh water, clean air, soil microbes on our skin), and some are psychospiritual - relating to emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social - (sitting around a fire, creating with our hands, gardening, being in natural spaces, being with others).
When we rewild ourselves we develop an inter-dependant autonomy (being sovereign while in relationship with community), a recognition of personal responsibility for our own happiness and sense of self. We rely less on external factors to make us happy or to fulfil us (and capitalist culture relies on us to constantly feel unfulfilled and discontent) and bring responsibility back to ourselves in the creation of our own experience... not being a victim of the dominant social narrative.
Rewilding is also understanding that everything has a place that contributes to the richness of life, like an overgrown meadow with it's wildflowers and insects, rather than a mowed lawn which may not support as much life. It's neat, sure, but there is not as much to discover there, and not much magic to be found.
Rewilding is an opportunity to honour and take advantage of every life stage - we see the beauty, usefulness and validity of a flower as it buds, blooms, and then dies. This is one of the most destructive messages the capitalist culture continually throws at us (especially women) - that we have an expiration date well before we are ashes in the wind, and that we are only loved and honoured in our youth... they sell a lot of rubbish to us via that messaging!
When we rewild we act with sovereignty as we rekindle our kinship with the earth, and meet those wild places within ourselves that understand our place in the whole, and our need for the wild to reestablish our humanity.
We have been culturally and socially conditioned our whole lives, and sometimes it can be difficult to comprehend what it is like to be rewilded, as a caterpillar cannot conceive the life of a butterfly. But rewilding it is a continuous, beautiful excavation and process of self discovery that can be frightening, and also joyous, beautiful and ultimately incredibly liberating.
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: Ian Keefe