Spirituality and Rewilding


Feeling domesticated? Schedule in time to shatter your schedule and start rewilding yourself.

I am a completely domesticated animal.

I wake up before dawn most mornings. Wash, meditate, walk my equally domesticated dog for a mile or two, shower, eat breakfast, read the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, check email, settle into a few hours of writing, walk my dog a second time, eat lunch, read for an hour or so, return to my writing, walk my dog for a third time, ride my bicycle for an hour (weather permitting), eat dinner, and, unless I am teaching via Zoom or recording the Spirituality & Health Podcast on Zencaster, I spend the rest of the evening watching television (Damn you, Britbox!) and reading. I go to bed between 9 and 10, though I often fall asleep much earlier.

You don’t get much more domesticated than that. So, as I prepared to interview Vanessa Chakour about her book Awakening Artemis: Deepening Intimacy with the Living Earth and Reclaiming Our Wild Nature, I despaired at finding my wild nature.

That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy being outdoors, or that I don’t prefer walking along Stone’s River to walking around our town square, only that I am quite predictable. No one who knows me would apply the adjective wild to me. I certainly wouldn’t apply it to myself. But if I’m not wild, what am I?

[Read: “Embracing Earth Medicine.”]

You might say I am civilized or cultured, terms with which I have no quarrel. Or you might say I am mild, manageable, or orderly. I am extremely orderly, so no problem there, but being mild and manageable: that sounds a bit too tame. Tame is another antonym for wild, and while I don’t like the term when applied to me, it isn’t as deadly as the first word that comes to mind when I realize I cannot find my wild nature. That word is boring.

Let be clear: I’m never bored. Not only is there always something to do that I find worth doing, I also enjoy doing nothing. But being bored and being boring are two very different things. I’m never bored, but am I boring? I can attest to the former, but only others can speak to the latter.

Am I boring? I could ask people if I bore them, but the only people who would tell me this to my face are people I dislike and whose opinion I would discount completely. Not that I’m not boring, only that I will never know if I’m boring because the people who would tell me the truth are people I would disbelieve and the people I would believe are people who are too kind to tell me the truth.

[Also read: “16 Affirmations for Surrender and Trust.”]

This is madness. I need to be wild. The problem is the only way someone as domesticated as me can become wild is to schedule in wild time which seems antithetical to being wild in the first place. I must shatter my schedule but the only way I can do that is to place schedule shattering into my schedule.

You can see my dilemma. I hope it isn’t yours as well. But if it is, perhaps we can go wild together once we have found time to work it into our schedules.

Listen to Vanessa Chakour on the Spirituality & Health Podcast now.

Keep reading Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s Roadside Musings: “Spirituality and Aliveness.”

Roadside Musings

In Roadside Musings, Rabbi Rami draws from the well of the world's religious and spiritual...
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