Balancing our human needs for domesticity, through certainty, and wildness, through uncertainty is vital. If either dominates too far we can feel trapped or terrified or both!
Do you sometimes have a sense that there is more to life, that there is more adventure to be had, a greater feeling of connection to yourself, to the world and others?
I was hugely inspired by this great blog piece-
Here are some fail safe ways to reconnect to your wild humanity.
Take your foot off the pedal, slow down, open up your senses & breathe deeply,
before life rushes past without you noticing.
Choose to get wet. Do you jump into your car as soon as it starts to spit or put up your umbrella automatically? Next time you do this stop and choose whether you could take the time to get wet today, can you take the time to feel the weather? Savour the sensation on your skin, drink it in. It’s the quickest way to feel nature, wherever you are.
Do you find yourself rushing, hurrying yourself or your colleagues/friends/children/partner, (delete as applicable) to get to places on time? Do you almost unconsciously think, ‘I’ll just do this or that now, so that I’ll have time later on to relax’…do you notice that the time later for you to relax doesn’t arrive? Take inspiration from other wild mammals (wolves and gorillas), play, eat, be busy & then bond and relax with your pack, whoever they are, rather than the insect world (bees and ants), who have a reputation for keeping busy-busy all the time. This is it, your life is happening, right now, enjoy it. All you ever have is now.
In this consumerist culture, in which shopping is seen as a leisure activity, do something truly fulfilling, cultivate instead! Grow things, rather than just consume. The lovely Sarah Kathleen Peck said- ‘The antidote to consumerism, isn’t minimalism, it’s art.’ True, but I believe another antidote is gardening. Feel the soil, sow seeds, tend and nurture the earth, bear witness to the miracle of life in your own backyard, or window ledge. Autumn is a great time to plant bulbs, find your local independent garden centre. My local one is Bud, I love it.
Learning the calls of birds has brought me so much added pleasure when outside, I feel so much more connected to the wild things around me. It is all down to this book- ‘Bird watching with your eyes closed‘ by Simon Barnes. His clear and simple writing has taught me how to identify so many birds, just from hearing their songs. Read a review and hear the podcast of lots of bird songs here. I have been walking in an urban playground, heard a high pitched squeal above me, and looked up to see swifts circling, whirling in the sky. Crossing a golf course by the sea I heard a lark. Sitting in my local green space, five miles from the city centre I heard a nest of sparrowhawks.
Go outside during dark hours, on a clear night, wrap up warm and look at the stars and the moon. Light some candles inside, enjoy the softer light. We spent so much of our evolutionary history with no electric lights. We can go with the rhythm of the seasons a little more and embrace the dark. Also, you can’t see the dust by candlelight!
“We need to reject the cold harsh spotlight of Edisonian rationalism, and embrace the warm, flickering, beautiful, forgiving, irrational light of the candle.” -Tom Hodgkinson
Once you have had a swim outside, be it a lido, a designated swimming lake, the sea or a river, the day becomes a good day. You can slip in gently and jump out again 10 seconds later and it’s still become a fabulous day!!
“Most of us live in a world where more and more places and things are signposted, labelled, and officially ‘interpreted’. There is something about all this that is turning the reality of things into virtual reality. It is the reason why walking, cycling and swimming will always be subversive activities. They allow us to regain a sense of what is old and wild in these islands, by getting off the beaten track and breaking free of the official version of things.”
Waterlog by Roger Deakin
Some of you may have a real fire in your home, I love collecting wood and then warming myself on a cold evening, in front of my wood burning stove. It warms my body, and my heart and soul. A hearth can be the centre of a home, a place where people gather to talk, as a grounding and nurturing alternative to screen time. Alternatively, have a fire outside. Sit, watch it, reflect, feel it, channel your inner cavewoman/man.
Learn about wild food.
When you walk down a suburban street and there are green leaves sprouting, it is possible to identify many many edible plants. When you are sure you have identified each one correctly- let your imagination run wild. Add them to your meals.* Hairy bittercress in your homous sandwiches, wild garlic pesto, pickled dandelion buds (as an alternative to capers), elderflower fritters and sloe gin, to name but a few. How I love wild food. My heart sings with joy in March when the nettles push up and I can make some crazy nettle spaetzle!!
Go on a mushroom foray in autumn with an expert. Get a great accessible book, maybe this one by Alys Fowler.
*Be sure to pick wild food away from any possible contamination, such as pesticides, herbicides or dog wee wee.
Get in touch with your inner rhythm. Martha Beck shared this exercise, which she received from an Apache tracker. I have altered it a little. The purpose of the exercise is to access your inner silence and calm. Rather than a meditation which involves quietening your mind, this is about just listening and being.
- Close your eyes
- Breathe deeply 3 times
- Pause before you exhale the last time
- Listen and feel your pulse
- Find your heart beating in the space between your breaths
- Feel your pulse all throughout your body
- Enjoy the vitality of heart
- Breathe into your heart
I love this exercise, and I use it when I need to be reminded that I am alive
and am just being alive without having to DO anything.
Talk about your loves and your fears, share yourself.
Make time and take time to talk to people about what matters to you. Small talk benefits no-one, ever. Sharing your fears brings you strength, make plans to overcome them or laugh at them with people you care about! Tell people what you love about them. Bring your true self into the open.
Do you want to enjoy the freshest food available? Shorten the time between field and fork. Find your local box scheme or shop that buys from local growers. Enjoy the change in variety as the seasons change. Plums and grapes in spring…huh? They will have travelled across the Equator from the other side of the world, where it is autumn. Feel what is good when. Supply your body with the best organic veg and fruit, and support the very very hard working growers who are passionate about giving you REAL food.
Go deep, find your balance- The Hebden Retreat 2016.