You are sitting on a large boulder covered in moss. Your feet are splashing in the cool brook and you can feel the rough bark of the tree behind your back. You can smell the moss, the grass, and the sweet blooms of some tree in the forest. You can hear the birds chatting high up in the canopy and the bees buzzing from flower to flower on the bank of the brook. You take a deep breath and smile. Ah, simple life.
Suddenly, there is a shrill sound that makes you jump. You realize that it is your alarm clock and that it is time to wake up and get on with another day. The traces of your wonderful dream still linger and you hope that they will sustain you through the drudgery that awaits you.
How many of us start the day already tired before the day even began? Going through the motions: inhaling that first coffee, spending an hour in the traffic and another eight hours in a cubicle doing a job that has no meaning, and looking forward to the weekend and a bit of time to get out and take a deep breath.
How did we get to this point? How did we allow ourselves to become this domesticated, to lose all our dreams, to forget who we really are? We so completely detached ourselves from nature that we dream about it.
We are nature
Humans have a deep need for a connection to nature. We feel it even when we are not aware of it. Sick people in hospitals need fewer pain medications when they can look from their window to a lush garden. Workers’ stress level drops dramatically when they can have their lunch break in the park. We feel instant relaxation when we walk from the asphalt to a forest or a meadow.
We need the connection to nature because we are a vital part of it. We all have a bit of wild nature in ourselves, and to survive, we need to reclaim it. We need to start rewilding ourselves.
Rewild your whole family
What makes you grounded is being in control of your life, deeply aware of the world around you, resilient to sudden changes and influence by others. It means being connected to nature and being aware of it. Coming up with random acts of wildness can be great fun and can be played with the whole family. In fact, it has become hugely popular in the UK where thousands of people dedicated a whole month of June to commit one random act of wildness every single day in June.
Rewilding is a process and it might take years to achieve. But we can start with small steps, with small random acts of wildness that will make our lives more meaningful and ourselves more grounded.
My favourite random acts of wildness
Of hundreds of random acts of wildness that I committed in my life, there are four that I keep coming back to.
1. Taking a dog for a walk. If you do not have a dog, get one. Dogs have to be walked at least twice a day. It means you will get out and breathe fresh air twice a day, rain or shine, cold or hot. You will see the stars shining and the phases of the moon. You will know when the first spring flowers pop out from the snow and when the leaves start turning crimson and falling off trees. Your dog will make you exercise, like it or not.
2. Spending a weekend in the forest. It is Friday! I can put my hiking boots on and hit the trail in the forest. Walking through a park is fine, but you need more than that. You need time to truly feel the nature around you. You need time to be quiet and just listen, to notice the changes, to smell the plants and animals living around you. You need to spend the night under the stars and watch the constellations and make a wish when you see the falling star. You also need to ‘see’ the forest in the dark, when you are using your other senses besides the eyes.
3. Taking care of the garden. You live in the city or perhaps a caravan like I do? Not an excuse for not having a garden. Humans need to get dirty and put their hands in the soil. Even that fine lady who does her manicure once a week needs it. Fully aware of it, many cities are organizing community gardens for those who live in apartment buildings. A couple of pots on the window sill make a garden you can love and care for.
Prior to moving into our caravan full time, I loved my garden. I loved to check each plant every day when watering them, and I loved to talk about them to the friends visiting. I loved the hard labour of working the soil, mixing the smelly fertilizer, and back-breaking weed-picking. But most of all I loved just sitting on the bench and watching all that nature around me thriving. There is no such satisfaction as eating the strawberry you planted and cared for yourself.
4. Visiting farmers’ market. Farmers’ market is not only the place to get the real, pure food, grown nearby by the hard labour of your neighbours. It is also the place where you get to meet those farmers, learn about their lives and let your kids learn how hard it is to get the food they have on their table every day.
The wildness is deep within, and can be more than just a dream. By incorporating more and more random acts of wildness into our life it can become a way of life. It can become life. All we need to do is wake up and make it happen.
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