By Laura Williams
We all have a longing for the wild but we are trained by our industrial consumer society to consider ourselves separate from Nature. We are taught from the beginning of our lives that we, humans, are both dominant over and in danger from the wild. This makes us afraid of the wild and we suppress and distort our longing. Some of us are very fortunate to be touched so deeply by the wild at some point in our lives that we learn to love Nature passionately and transcend the condition of separateness. As often as we are able, we immerse ourselves fully in its fierceness, beauty and natural perfection. We honour all animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, molds as our kin. We hold them in wonder and protect and love them. We are blessed and we know it. We know that a world where all beings are not held sacred is a world stripped of awe and meaning.
The more time we spend in the wild the more our sense of kinship extends and includes the so-called ‘inanimate’. The rocks, the rivers, the sky, the sun and the stars. The deeper we sink into our kinship with the wild the more obvious it becomes that the inanimate is alive, has consciousness, can communicate and commune. The awe we hold for the manifest Universe increases as we realize we are simply bathed in magic by having the senses to realize our interrelatedness with all things. We recognize that there is one all-pervading consciousness that is animating all we perceive and is the ground from which all arises. If we are fortunate we recognize that that infinite ground is the deepest dimension of our own being.
On this journey into the heart of Nature I have encountered a major blind spot in myself and others. In the industrial world there is one part of creation we regularly omit from this recognition of kinship and unity, even though it is that which closest to our human selves. And that is our very own bodies. In my own experience my body is a place where I have hung on to the lie that I am separate from Nature. I also see this in many others who otherwise embrace all of wild nature as sacred too. I see it in women who have been taught by society to objectify their bodies and to only be concerned with whether they meet beauty standards dictated by their culture. I see it in men who have been taught that their body is an object to produce, provide and prove stronger than others.
I see it in many people who are not taught to hear the needs of their bodies, who work too hard, sleep little, over intoxicate and feed themselves poorly. I did all of those things for many years. Until the body had had enough, burnt out, and I started a long road to recovery and relationship. What I have learnt is that the wild that is closest to us - our bodies, ourselves - can be the most difficult to reconnect to. We are taught by our society to use and objectify our bodies just as we are taught to use and objectify Nature. We are bombarded with ideas about what our bodies should or shouldn’t be by a corporate media invested in creating dissatisfaction within us so that we will spend money to fix what isn’t actually broken. We are given such deep cultural taboos and family shame it takes some effort to embrace our bodies as Nature and completely, beautifully wild.
Happily, there is a deeper truth of pure, wild goodness that we are able to find as we uncover the layers of habit and conditioning. An amazing place to start is to consider the miracle of the human body. Our bodies are composed of a 37.2 trillion cells!! 37.2 trillion of 200 different types all with their own intelligence and purpose carrying out billions of biochemical reactions a second. And all working seamlessly and tirelessly for the good of the whole organism. And we aren't just composed of human cells either. Take the digestive system. We are taught to think of this wonder of Nature as a series of lifeless tubes, peristalting our food from mouth to anus as we chemically break it down and absorb the nutrients. But lifeless? Are you kidding? To start with there are billions of bacteria in there, they form over a kilogram of your bodyweight! There are between 300 - 1000 different species! And that’s not to mention the fungi, viruses, and other micro-organisms that are also hanging around. Some of these are beneficial to us, some not, and many not interested in us at all but simply using us either as transportation to somewhere better or as habitat whilst they prey on the other microorganisms that are interested in us! In fact science doesn’t even really know what most of the fungi and protozoa are doing in there. It is an almost uncharted wilderness! It is WILD in there.
We are wild inside! And with this realization we can heal the rift between ourselves and our bodies, so that we can truly embrace our whole multidimensional selves as wild nature. With this realization of wildness we can become one with our bodies; undivided and fully energized for whatever our blessed assignment on this miraculous planet is. The degree to which we are divided and objectify ourselves is the degree to which we are divided from others and Nature. If we are denying the miracle of our body by ignoring, or worse, despising it, we are not living our true potential as whole natural beings.
There are ways I have acted and thought towards my body that I wouldn’t dream of thinking or acting towards Nature and yet - my body is Nature. There is no difference in awe and beauty between my body and a pristine rainforest. And they both deserve the same love and respect. When I realize that we are one, my body and I, and we are Wild, a natural care arises that I do not have to force.
This journey of reconnection isn't necessarily easy. For some it can be very challenging as we have absorbed deeply the life-negating messages about our bodies from our culture or family. It has been very challenging for me. But realizing that I am Nature, and that that includes my body, is helping me to let go of the false negativity and disgust and embrace the true unfettered beauty. The results are liberating as they bring home the undeniable truth that I am never and can never be separate from Nature. Our body is a sacred doorway into deep communion with Nature and the recognition that we are Nature, we are Wild and we are Free
Laura Williams is co-founder of the Awakened Forest Project in Central Portugal which is dedicated to reforestation of the land and human heart. Laura has been deeply in love with the natural world since she can remember. The deep connection she feels with trees, plants and animals sustained her in childhood and into her adulthood as a direct activist. As she became older she recognised that even with her passionate love of nature she had been trained by society to be cut-off from Nature and for the last 15 years she sought and intuitively developed ways to deepen her connection and reawaken her natural intelligence and unity with all of Life. Using simple but profound techniques she leads other people deeper into their sense of Natural connection and reunites them with the knowing that We Are Nature!