Rewilding for Women
For me, connecting with nature has been my way of dealing with life when “life” gets to be too much. There’s no denying how therapeutic it is to escape into nature and find your balance, or as I call it: Rewilding.
There’s nothing like spending time in nature to feed the soul. Whether it’s taking a long wilderness walk, working in a garden, or just sitting quietly outside with the sun on your face. It’s these times when peopIe often feel the most at peace with themselves and the world. The best part is that the feelings of peace and contentment lingers long after you are again removed from nature.
Have you ever felt that there’s more to life, more to you? Like there’s something fundamental that is missing from your life, but you just can’t really put your finger on it? It could very well be that you’re experiencing nature deficit. That’s right, a lack of nature in your life can have very real consequences which can leave you feeling out of balance and discontented. Rewilding for women could be just what you need to restore this balance.
Let’s delve into what rewilding even is and what it means to women in particular.
What is Rewilding?
Rewilding or re-wilding typically refers to conservation efforts aimed at restoring a landscape or environment to its natural state. Rewilding places an emphasis on humans stepping back and leaving an area to nature, as opposed to more active forms of natural resource management. The goal of rewilding efforts in land management is to preserve functional ecosystems and reduce biodiversity loss.
What is Human Rewilding
Much like conservation efforts that are aimed at restoring a landscape to its natural state, human rewilding means to return to a more wild or natural state of being. It’s looking at the conditions under which our ancestors lived and instead of viewing them as antiquated, seeing them as foundational and fundamental to our health and wellbeing, and looking for ways to integrate them back into our modern lives.
How Can Rewilding Benefit Women?
Somewhere along the way, with gains and advances in technologies that promised to make our lives easier, we as women lost something too. We lost the wildness of ourselves, the part that was in sync with nature and Earth’s natural rhythms.
As women, we have a deep physiological and spiritual connection with the Earth and creation. Rewilding for women is a way to nurture and enhance that sacred connection. From the beginning of time our female ancestors lived with the rhythms of Earth’s natural patterns and cycles. This was true no matter where you lived in the world and is a common truth that binds women together. Not only do we have this in common, but we have also shared relationships with plants, animals, and the spiritual world within our human culture since time began.
Rewilding offers an opportunity to revitalize those connections and to reclaim the power and grace of our sacred womanhood.
One of the ways that our female ancestors were connected to Earth’s natural rhythms was through their connection with the moon. Despite being a quarter of Earth’s size, the moon quietly pulls Earth’s strings by controlling the ocean tides, influencing how we track time and affecting our moods and behaviors.
The moon has been gazed upon and revered for centuries by women who recognize it as a mystical force that connects our spiritual feminine selves. For many people Indigenous to North America, the moon represents divine feminine energy and is known as Grandmother moon. The moon cycle—which is roughly the same length of time as a woman’s menstrual cycle—is seen as a sacred gift to women, often referred to as their moontime. It is a time to cleanse herself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The moontime is considered a time of power, second only to the ability of the Great Spirit to give life.
Researchers in a study published January 27 in Science Advances, analyzed long-term data from women and found that for some their periods synced with lunar light and gravity cycles at certain times in their lives. This is rare for women today, but was likely a common occurrence for our ancestors and proves how connected they were to nature.
The question remains…how do we regain our connection to nature and its rhythms? There are some big and small things we can make a conscience effort to do to help us make those connections.
How to Rewild My Life
24 Easy Ways to Begin Rewilding Your Life
Practice grounding – Stand barefoot in natural surroundings; feel how solid the earth feels beneath your feet and focus on your connection to the earth. This therapeutic technique is also called “grounding” or “earthing” that involves doing activities that “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. Evidence suggests that electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on your body.
Go on a picnic – Instead of going to a restaurant, pack a picnic and eat it at a scenic location. Don’t rush. Plan to stay a few hours and take in all the beauty that being in nature provides.
- Take your lunch break outside – Even if it’s not possible to find a green spot to have your lunch, the very act of being outside has its benefits. Think fresh air, a change of scenery, and Vitamin D.
- Take a walk – There’s honestly not much more restorative than a woodland walk. Live in the City? No worries, find a public park or some green space, and enjoy looking at the flowers or trees.
- Grow something – For me, my garden is my therapy in the warmer months. I love the anticipation of watching something grow and materialize as something nourishing for my family. I even find pulling weeds to be a time spent in contemplation. No space for a garden, try windowsill herbs. Nourishing yourself with the food you cultivate is an incredibly empowering process. Not only does it foster a strong understanding of how healthy ecosystems work in nature, but it teaches us how to be better stewards of our land. Gardening to be self-sustaining also helps us become less reliant on unsustainable food systems while also creating abundant personal food security.
- Bring nature indoors – as a nature lover, I have no problem with this, in fact, my family just accepts it when I bring in another nature “specimen”. To put it in perspective, I have a collection of 6 giant hornet nests that were winter collected. Collect little gifts of nature that speak to you while on your nature outings. Perhaps a pretty rock, or some wildflowers for your table. Bringing the outside in is a visual reminder to slow down and enjoy nature.
- Get some houseplants – Aside from improving your home’s air quality, houseplants add a bit of green to your indoor surroundings. Not a plant person? Try one that’s super-low maintenance like a spider plant. There’s also the feeling of accomplishment when you care for something and it grows.
- Adopt a sit-spot routine – You find a favorite spot to sit in nature (should be no further than a 5 minute walk from your home) and visit it several times a week and just observe. Naturalists agree that it’s the best way to really learn about the species around you.
- Watch a sunrise or sunset – There’s something magical about observing the start or end of a day intentionally. I still think of the time I woke up early intentionally to watch the sunrise. There was something very restorative about being intentional and mindful in the moment. It made me realize that I’m only a tiny part of a much bigger whole.
- Open your curtains and blinds or windows (if It’s Warm Enough) – Opening your windows, blinds, curtains, and even doors allow sunlight and natural air to flow through your home, giving it a more relaxing and natural atmosphere.
- Discover your True North – Ask yourself who you are minus the labels that social groups attach to you. This is your inner sense, or your calling, of what you want to accomplish in your life. It’s a combination of your values, your beliefs, and your purpose. It keeps you on a straight track that’s true for you. And it’s different for every single person.
- Stargaze – One of my favorites! It’s incredibly humbling to be reminded that our lives here on Earth are a part of an enormous picture formed by millions of worlds that we can hardly even begin to dream of.
- Visit a farmer’s market – Making a conscious effort to eat well from ingredients you know were freshly grown and locally harvested is a great way to feel a connection with nature. I always feel greater satisfaction with my meal when it’s made from homegrown ingredients. Seasonal eating helps us learn the life cycles of edible plants and gives us an opportunity to revel in the deliciousness of each unique crop. Not only does this offer nourishment, but sourcing our food this way also helps us reduce our carbon footprint because crops don’t have to travel great distances to reach our plates.
- Learn how to build a fire and cook on open flame- Since its discovery, fire has had a primal pull on humans that cannot be denied. Seek out opportunities to sit around and cook over an open fire. Gather with friends and get in touch with your primal, wild selves.
- Disconnect from the digital world and social media. A core concept of rewilding is to eliminate the digital distractions of our modern world. By allowing ourselves to fully disconnect from social medial and other digital distractions, we can help our nervous system relax, and give ourselves the opportunity to be present and to fully enjoy and appreciate the natural world around us. Unplug often and for longer lengths of time and see what a difference it makes!
- Celebrate the Seasons – Celebrate seasonal shifts such as the summer solstice and autumnal equinox the way our ancestors did. They celebrated life together with the rhythms of each season. Many of these celebrations were interwoven and connected to nature and Earth’s natural cycles. Today we celebrate the seasons and our connections to the natural world with intentional and meaningful celebrations that renew our joy in life and bring a deeper meaning to our human existence. Acknowledging these markers throughout the year is an amazing way to live seasonally and be more connected to nature. Gather around a bonfire with friends and family for a seasonal feast and plenty of good stories to share.
- Forage and wildcraft with plants – Learn to identify and use the edible and medicinal plants that grow wild where you live. Learning about and using these plants gives a sense of self-reliance that can hardly be matched. Knowing to nourish ourselves by learning the ancient practice of foraging places you directly in the role of being an active participant of your local ecosystem.
- Go into the wild – The more time we spend in nature the more we’ll connect with our authentic selves and forget about the pressures of modern society. Studies have shown that time in nature — as long as you feel safe — is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. Make a committment to spend more time outdoors; Sleep under the stars, swimiin rivers and lakes, get dirt on your hands. Leave modern conveniences behind. Get to know the moods and changes of nature’s seasons that can only be witnessed away from the developed world. Maybe you’ll even find joy in your own company!
- Spend extended time in nature – Spending time in nature is a wonderful thing, and spending extended time in nature is even better. Submerging ourselves deeply into nature has the potential to change us at our core. Extended rewilding gives us the opportunity view nature and our place in it in a whole new way. Without the noise and distractions from our modern worlds, we begin to notice things we never noticed before like birdsong in the early morning, or how the dew clings to a blade of grass. It’s truly a beautiful thing.
- Make a list – When making the decision to rewild yourself, it’s helpful to make a list of what makes you feel the most like your authentic self and what makes you fee grounded, free, at peace, and in balance. What situations or places make you feel this way? Writing down these feelings can often bring greater clarity to your rewilding journey…something I’ve been working on for a decade. As we change and evolve, checking in on these feelings helps us keep our wild selves within reach.
- Care for your body – Your body has its own wisdom, and as we learn to listen to our body, we can discover new ways to nurture our bodies and get in shape. Move your body more – run, dance, stretch, breathe deeply and embrace your physical strength. Adopt a physical self-love routine that is free of your culture’s judgments on bodies and beauty. Learn to nourish your body from the inside out by learning what is good for you to eat. This can lead to a profound shift in attitude and can bring a new way of living in vibrant health.
- Learn about local plants and wildlife – Learning how to identify the wildlife and plant life in your surroundings is a rewarding journey that helps us feel more connected to our local ecosystems. Learning about them gives a sense of connectedness regarding our place in nature. This observation gives us an opportunity to see our commonalities and better understand how closely connected and interdependent we are with each other. Pick up a few fieldguides for your region and before long, you’ll know all about the flora and fauna that you coexist with.
- Create a nature journal – Each time you go into nature take notes of what you notice. This practice can help to calm the mind and allow you to live in the moment where all the senses are engaged and focused on observing the world around you. A nature journal can consist of many things, such as sketches and drawings both from memory and direct observation, musings and reflections, and collected items and specimens. Nature journaling has been found to improve our mental clarity, boost confidence and emotional intelligence, self-discipline, more creativity, and increased problem-solving skills. This ritual is a wonderful way to connect to each season in nature, while helping to increase our awareness of nature’s pattern, signs, and cycles year after year.
- Surround yourself with natural materials – Most natural fibers and the fabrics derived from them are hypoallergenic, mold-inhibiting, moisture-wicking, and breathable. This is amazing for anyone that struggles with sensitive skin or anyone who lives in hot or humid climates. Much like bringing nature inside, adorning yourself with natural fibers is a great way to stay connected to nature. Take it a step further by decorating your home with natural materials like wood, earthen clay, stone, or other natural materials.
Those of us that spend time outdoors are happier, healthier, more attentive, and immeasurably richer for that time spent , especially so when given the opportunity to be a participant rather than a mere spectator.
Wild places have the amazing ability to humbled us in the face of thier splendor and natural beauty. Our problems and selfish concerns shrink to a manageable size in the face of this grandeur. How boring, uninspiring, and lackluster life would be without these places and creatures!
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