The Re-Wilding Part II: Restoring Right Relationship
"Rewilding" is an earth sciences term used to describe the restoration of tracts of land and ecosystems to their pre-cultivated, pre-domesticated state. Wikipedia describes 'rewilding' as "large-scale conservation aimed at restoring and protecting core wilderness areas, providing connectivity between such areas, and protecting or reintroducing apex predators and keystone species. Rewilding projects may require ecological restoration, particularly to restore connectivity between fragmented protected areas, and reintroduction of predators where extirpated." The work of re-wilding the human body and soul also focuses on restoring the (human) landscape to its pre-cultivated state. In fact, the earth sciences definition of re-wilding works gracefully here, especially the importance of restoring connectivity. The wild depends upon connectivity and, when left to its own devices, engages in a dance of wordless reciprocity, where each life form's unique identity is offered and received without judgment or questioning. Yet we are a species that has slipped into a terminal disconnection; disconnection with ourselves, with each other and with the larger world. If we think of each of us as a unique ecosystem (whose survival depends upon our interdependence with other human, and more-than-human, ecosystems), the work of the re-wilding is about reconnecting the distinct elements within our internal landscape so there is vibrant communication with, respect for and interdependence among all parts; heart with mind, mind with body, body with soul and so forth. I sit with individual after individual and witness what has, by now, surely become a collective human longing within this culture; to revitalize and reconnect with the internal landscape that exists within each of us so we are able to authentically and meaningfully connect with each other and the larger world. I like to add the phrase, "as if our lives depended upon it" after statements like that, because our lives do depend upon our remembering of these relationships.
Fundamental to the process of re-wilding is the reintroduction of predators who restore the balance of life and death. Large charismatic carnivores play a vital role in the full vitality and sustainability of a region. Re-wilding requires that we leave behind this culture's learned belief that death, darkness and the unknowns of the wild are categorically 'bad' and that life, light and the uniform predictability of domestication are essentially good and inherently desirable. In fact, uniform predictability and the neutrality of domestication are enemies of wild intimate partnership, of wild lovership with the larger world and of our ability to offer our unique gifts to the world. In the landscape of the human soul the re-introduction of predators might look something like listening to the deep longing within you that asks questions that start with the words "what if...?" The re-introduction of charismatic balance-restoring predators could also look like finding the courage to offer, from your heart, a piece of your truth to a colleague, a friend or a lover. In a wild human ecosystem we operate on the belief that our truth is of utmost important to the overall balance and health of the larger system. We do not take things personally. The wild ones in us know that we are part of something so much larger than ourselves, something that is breathtaking in its balance and intelligence, and it becomes our prime directive to serve it...which requires that we serve ourselves fully, becoming exactly who we were built and born to be, alongside others who are busily honoring life through the cultivation of their own wholeness.