It is my belief that we as a species are facing a crossroad. One that could have detrimental effects on humanity as a whole.
Stick with me.
This isn't some conspiracy rant about the end of the world or an environmentalist's rant about the collapse of our ecosystem.
This is about us reestablishing the connection with nature that allows us to thrive. The connection that has been lost inside all of these concrete jungles we call cities. Inside the corporate office buildings that we work.
This connection is much more important than most realize. So much so that numerous health, wellness and fitness resources recommend getting out in to nature to relieve stress, strengthen your immune system and a whole lot of other things.
But rewilding doesn't just mean getting out in to nature. It means getting back to our roots. I think Daniel Vitalis said it best in an interview with the Huffington Post when he said,
ReWilding is — in its essence — a celebration of our natural selves. It is about living a life aligned with our biology and experiencing the sheer pleasure of fulfilling our biological drives."
To take this one step further, I'd say that rewilding is the act of living in accordance with our ancestors and in the way that allowed them to thrive in their environments.
This could mean different things to different people, but what stays the same across all cultures is eating food and drinking water in its purest form, absorbing the healing and energizing rays of the sun, hunting, gathering, moving the way we are supposed to move and having the skills to survive and even THRIVE in any situation that we find ourselves in not matter what it is.
I also like the definition from rewild.com.
According to rewild.com
Rewilding means restoring ancestral ways of living that create greater health and well-being for humans and the ecosystems that we belong to.
- to reverse the process of domestication.
- to return to a more wild or self-willed state.
Let's face it. Most people today spend the majority of their time indoors sitting in front of a computer screen. Then if they go to the gym and work out under horrible processed and artificial lighting and doing exercises that may make them leaner and stronger, ultimately lead to injuries and more chronic problems down the road. After that they usually grab some food from a fast food place or go home to cook something that has either been processed until it is actually harmful or something that has been shipped halfway across the world and sat on store shelves for days.
Not even to mention the communal aspect that we are missing which can have many negative consequences on our mental and emotional health. We can isolate ourselves so much yet still think we are connected to others via social media. But those are not the same as in person connections.
I came across a comment on Facebook recently that does a good job of speaking to the other aspects that I feel are important to rewilding.
It is about relearning what is truly sustainable and living that way. We need to learn that if mankind was removed from the Earth, the Earth would do just fine without us. The Earth has always been self-sustainable and rewilding is about relearning how to join the Earth in that sustainability and stop trying to change the Earth to live with us. Part of this is relearning that we are communal and forming healthy communities (tribes) that become a part of the already thriving community of plants and animals.
Here are some of the related aspects of rewilding that I will be touching on in this series. If there are any other areas that you would like me to write about, please leave me a comment below. Also, if you have experience with any of these and would like to help out with the content or add your own twist to it, please email me.
Eating & Drinking
Simply put, the goal in rewilding is to eat and drink from the most natural and clean sources as possible.
For food this includes locally farmed grass fed meat and organic produce, wild caught fish and anything that you can grow or forage yourself. Of course for many people, this will not be possible all the time. Just be very conscious about what you choose to put in to your body.
As for water, normal tap water should be avoided if at all possible.
The best solution is to get your water from a natural spring. To find one in your area check out findaspring.com
For many people, myself included, this is not possible all the time. If you are going to buy bottled water, try to get spring water that comes in glass bottles. For my family, we either use reverse osmosis filtration or a charcoal gravity filter like the Big Berkey. I also added the fluoride filters to the system to make sure I am removing as many chemicals as possible.
Having clean sources of drinking water isn't enough though. Another source of possible exposure to harmful chemicals in water is in your shower. Having a shower filter that filters fluoride and chlorine is very important to anyone on city water.
I'll go in to much more detail about all of these things in future articles.
Humans are made to move. We're NOT made for this sedentary lifestyle that many of us find ourselves in.
Have you ever just sat and watched children playing on a playground? Ever wonder where that energy and ability to move more like monkeys went? It disappeared, in part, because once we became young adults, we stopped playing and moving in those ways.
I'll write more on this later, but to start moving these ways right now, try just playing like you did when you were a kid.
- Just have fun
Just head to your nearest park or playground and have fun. Relearn all those ways your body used to move.
Move in ways that will benefit you in life and help you to overcome any and all obstacles.
A great example of this would be to practice martial arts.
Martial arts have some many benefits. One of these is of course the fitness aspect.
Another huge benefit is the ability to defend yourself and those around you. While I try to avoid violence, there may come a time that you have to defend yourself and those around you.
Martial arts also teach us to be very aware of our surroundings to help to avoid any confrontations before they happen, and then to act if removal from the situation is not possible. This awareness can help you in day to day life as well. It can help you to develop you intuition or your "gut feeling."
It also builds confidence. This is something that many people lack today. Confidence in their ability to keep those they love safe. There is something very reassuring about KNOWING that you can handle any situation that may arise.
These days it seems like so many people want to demonize what I call warrior culture. From an early age we are taught to "let others handle it" or go tell someone in a position of authority. This may work in some instances but many times that just isn't possible and it is my opinion that all it does is breeds a society of victims.
DON'T BE A VICTIM!
Build up your health, fitness and skills so that you can overcome any obstacle and deal with threats you may face.
While most martial arts can teach you valuable lessons and skills, many of them take years to get to the point where you can truly defend yourself in most situations. In my next article I'll talk about what I feel are the best martial arts for someone that wants to learn effective tactics quickly.
Sun & Nature Exposure
One of the most important parts of rewilding is getting outside MORE.
A LOT MORE!
As we spend more and more of our time indoors we cut ourselves off from the life giving force of the sun, nature and the grounding effect of the earth. This is causing major damage to not only our health but also to the health of our descendants for generations to come.
Besides the movement skills and skills to defend yourself, you need to learn other skills as well.
These skills can fit in to a few different categories, even though some of them will overlap.
This will probably consist of many more posts than the rest of these topics. That is because there is so much that I feel is important to learn to be truly independent of this domestication that we call life.
Yes, that right, I said DOMESTICATION. Think about it.
Humans HAVE been domesticated.
Most of us no longer possess the skills required to survive without the modern luxuries offered by society. We do not know how to forage in the wild for food, build a fire without matches or lighters. We can't build our own shelter or create our own tools or weapons. We have lost much of the knowledge of our ancestors that enabled then to thrive in whatever environment they were in.
Hopefully we will never need to rely on these skills in a situation where our life depends on it, but knowing that we can can give us an overwhelming sense of confidence in our own abilities. Practicing these skills is also quite a bit of fun and the preservation of this type of knowledge is our duty to our children and grandchildren just in case they face a disaster in which these skills could be the difference between life and death.
Here are some skills that someone interested in rewilding may be interested in learning
- Herbal Medicine Making
- Primitive Wilderness Survival
- Tool Making
- Leather Crafting
- Wood Working
- Hunting & Fishing
- Indoor Air Quality
Up until the last few hundred years humans have predominately tribal oriented. We crave the interactions and the closeness.
We've all probably heard "find your tribe" or "it takes a tribe." But what does that mean?
Don't worry, it doesn't mean you have to dress up and paint yourself like Native Americans or other indigenous tribes. But you can if you want and I may even join you.
My definition of tribe is a group of people connected either by kinship or common interest or culture. It could also be a combination of those things. Also known as clans, gangs, kindreds or various other names, tribes can be found since the beginning of history.
This is a group of people where you can really be yourself because they get you. People that would have your back no matter what (and vice versa). The people in your tribe are not only people that you can count on to help you out in times of need though. They are people who you feel connected to and who make your life better just by being a part of it.
There is so much research out there that speaks to the HUGE positive impact that quality relationships have on our mental, emotional and even physical health. If you don't believe it, just go have a quality conversation and share a hug with a loved one.
You feel better don't you?
There is tons more to say about being part of a tribe, but I'll save that for another post. Until then, here are a few places you might consider looking for your own tribe. If you can't find a ready made tribe, start one! Other people are looking for the exact same thing as you.
- Conferences or events about things that you love and are highly interested in
- Religious and spiritual events
- Your gym, yoga studio or any other athletic group
- Volunteer organizations that you are passionate about
- Interest related classes and events
There is much more to rewilding than what is in this post. I will try to touch on more of it in upcoming articles. Here are just a few more of the principles that we will be touching on in subsequent articles.
- Barefoot shoes and walking
- Foraging & Hunting
- Self Defense
- Ancestral principles
- Dangers of artificial light
- Cold Thermogenesis
- Warrior Culture
- Much More!
Please let me know what aspects of rewilding are important to you and what steps you are taking this year to live a more natural lifestyle in the comments below.