“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Wildness is freedom. There’s no better definition. When you’re in touch with your wildness, you are in touch with the freest aspect of yourself. It tends to be counter-culture.

It tends to be nonconformist and rebellious. And rightly so. For wildness must defend itself against being controlled, domesticated, and tamed. It must defend its own freedom, or all is lost.

Luckily, as a human being, you have the option of being both wild and tame, both crazy and sensible, both fierce and gentle. You contain multitudes. And the wild within you only seeks to keep these multitudes as optional.

Problems arise from excess. Excessive culture. Excessive domestication. Excessive control. Excessive tidiness. Excessive pacification. When anything becomes excessive it smothers wildness. It smothers freedom.

Self-rewilding is a defense against excess. It’s a deep eco-centric breath. It inhales healthy, natural order, and exhales unhealthy, unnatural disorder. It purges the beast of superfluousness.

And, have no doubt, beneath all our fancy clothes and titillating technologies, we are all beasts. Deep down, we are pissing, shitting, f*cking, hungry, naked-apes, spiritually floundering through the Greatest Mystery our souls can’t fathom.

Self-rewilding just puts the Great Mystery into a healthy perspective. It grounds us, even as our imaginations are free to fly. It leverages the health of universal law against the ill-health of anything vainly seeking to trump it through hyper-real, cultural excess. It gives our souls license (as if it needed it) to be free.

Ultimately, self-rewilding is a return to living a courage-based lifestyle in accordance with nature, as opposed to a fear-based lifestyle at odds with it. In conservation biology the term “rewilding” is the rehabilitation process of captive animals. In the case of self-rewilding, the captive animal being rehabilitated just so happens to be human ––you.

Rewild your mind

“I was barely able to contain the feeling that life cheats us of essential freedom, and for a few days I had broken out.” ~ Hayden Shaughnessy

Get away from the zoo-mentality, the menagerie of madness. Let your mind out of its steel cage. Decide not to suffer unnecessarily.

Self-rewilding begins with the mind. You must decide to rewild yourself. You must decide to get off your overly-domesticated ass and get out there into the deep, beautiful, dangerous, wild places of the world.

It’s a courage-based mindset, a freedom-based disposition, a health-based approach. It’s a spark in the open and free imagination that ignites the fire in the belly. Your courage is the spark.

You decide to be courageous. You resolve to take a leap of courage into the unknown. You elect to adopt freedom as your failsafe. You determine through healthy reasoning the massive benefit of stretching your easy, domesticated comfort zone into a challenging, wild adventure. You make your mind up to be a force of nature first, a person second.

Rewild your body:

“For thousands hacking at the branches there is one striking the root.” ~Henry David Thoreau

You are a multifaceted animal. All humans are. You contain millions of years of evolution inside you. Other animals can only instinctually feel this. You, on the other hand, can embody it.

As a symbolic creature, you can subsume other animals through archetypes. Through existential animism. You can dare to don wolf-masks, whale-masks, crow-masks.

Of course, there are human limitations, but so what? Such masks invigorate the mind, body, and soul. You don’t even need a mask, really. You need only imagine your wolf-form, your shark-form, your eagle-form.

You embody it and then enact it in a wild setting. You are free to be whatever you want to be in a rewilded state. Be unconventional. Be eccentric. Be as crazy-beautiful-bizarre as your delicious imagination can dream up, and then dance into it without shame.

But wolf-like, graceful movement is only one aspect of rewilding the body. There are deep physical activities to be relished: jumping, climbing, dancing, martial arts, making love. There are streams and rocks to jump over. There are cliff faces to climb. There is soul-smashing music to dance to. There are other humans to make heart-shattering love with.

Rewilding the body is more than just exercise. It’s a physical tour-de-force in the deep wild. It’s a physical challenge against the elements. It’s getting the body into peak physical condition au naturel, despite civilization, and in spite of the song and dance of the killjoy gymnasium.

Rewild your soul

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” ~ Maya Mendoza

Crucify that routine that has killed your dreams. Nail it to a cross and fill your wine cup with its blood. Play more. Dare more. Trust more. Love more.

Rewilding your soul is reanimating meaning and purpose into your life. It’s sacrificing comfort and security for challenging adventure.

It’s sharpening the soul like a sword that shaves away pettiness and triviality and pierces the heart. It wakes up the sleeping spirit. It jostles the lazy life-force. It animates the ant-like attitude. It tempts the temper into tempestuousness and vigor.

…Surrounded by the clanking steel juggernaut of the city, with its ear-piercing ambulances and shrieking car alarms, with its overreaching hyper-violent police and soul-sucking order, with its oil-drenched gutters and offal-putrescence decaying in overflowing dumpsters; the human animal feels like it has no recourse. So, it escapes to the “safety” of its too-comfortable, excessively clean, overly-tidy, severely domesticated household.

It curls into a ball on its bed and sleeps against the madness that surrounds it. Hungry for more of “it knows not what.” Just hungry for something other than the all-consuming, smothering, suffocating, polluting, Goliath that is The City.

Well f*ck all that! Burn that mattress. Defenestrate your La-Z-Boy chair, along with your 666-channel television set. Get out of town! Get away from the things of excess culture and hyper-real society.

There’s nothing stopping you, but you. There’s an entire world out there to explore. There are wild places calling out to your heart. It’s a call to adventure. It’s a hero’s journey. If you only had the ears to hear it. If you only had the heart to encourage it. If you only had the soul to feel it.

Life is too short not to taste the delicious nectar of the wild, not to feel your deepest darkest wildness howling inside you. I implore you: discover the ears, the heart, and the soul to overcome yourself. Do it through the art of self-rewilding.

Image source:

Agresja by Magdalena Russocka
Free human (Native American)
Mothmeister photography

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