On October the 4th, we held our first one-day workshop in Belgium entitled Rewilding Day, helping a group of people of different walks of life, to start their rewilding process by telling about our own experiences and rewilding lifestyle.
After an intense day of sharing experiences and learning one from another, we were tired but satisfied. The attendants went home inspired and ready to give this healthy and happy lifestyle a serious go.
If you were thinking of joining one of our next Rewilding Days but you are not sure about what to expect, the following is a testimonial from one of the participants of that group, Life coach Marian Claes.
Marian: We must do everything we can to make things better for future generations. I truly believe we can make that change if we become re-enchanted (again) with nature and fundamentally shift our consciousness.
We are at a cross-road for life on earth. If we just look at what’s happening around us, it’s pretty clear that something is wrong. We have a lot of work to do if we want to reverse the destructive trends for which we humans are responsible. We urgently need to reconnect to nature, to ourselves, to others in order to be able to live a balanced, healthy and peaceful life. “Personal rewilding” can play a major role in this shift.
For these reasons, I attended a ‘Rewilding Day’ with Kiki and Bert, two experienced Rewilding coaches in Belgium on the 4th of October.
The following are but a few of the many rewilding teachings I took back home after spending a full day with them and with all the attendants, every single one special because his or her own specific walk of life.
1. Rewilding does not mean we all have to try to go back to living as hunter-gatherers.
Bert and Kiki introduced themselves and talked about their expeditions and explorations. Their goals are to learn skills from and gain better knowledge of people still living close to nature. But immediately let us know that you don’t have to live in the woods or with native people in order to return to a more natural state – wild, healthy, strong, and free. They taught us several ways to reconnect with less frustration, as our eager-to-rewild is met with the reality and the technology of our busy life.
2. Go barefoot and feel the earth.
As soon as we entered Kiki and Bert’s colorful house, they invited us to put away mobile phones and watches, have a seat on the floor, and take our shoes off to spend the rest of the day barefoot. The heat of the stove in the morning and the warming Indian summer sun at noon allowed us feel comfortable.
We talked about grounding ourselves by spending time with our bare feet in direct contact with the earth. Grounding is a healthful practice that should be done daily. It can help us fight inflammation, low energy and even disease. We spend too much time wearing thick rubber soled shoes that insulate us from the earth, causing all sorts of health problems.
3. Spend some time each day outside in a natural place to reconnect.
The fact that the Belgian/Spanish couple organized the rewilding day in their house was a strong message in itself. Although they assured us that in the future they want to organize similar workshops in all different kind of places, they wanted to prove to us that you can start rewilding literally in your own backyard.
The benefits of spending more time out doors are endless. No matter how busy you are or how bad you are feeling, being outside will make you feel better after as little as 30 minutes. We need nature in our lives, because we ARE nature. There even are a lot of scientific studies showing that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health. Being outside promotes positive emotions and a heightened physical and mental energy.
4. Rewild your taste buds, eat real food, and learn to listen to your body.
Being a life coach myself, with a special interest in healthy foods, this was an important topic of the rewilding day to me. We talked about different ‘diets’ and pro’s and con’s without condemning personal choices or making it a black and white discussion. Eating a healthy, natural diet will help to deepen your connection with the natural world.
Kiki (she is a certified herbalist) informed us about the nutritious value of wild foods and served us a delicious wild foraged plants at noon. Of course, if you want to forage wild foods on your nature walks, a little bit of education is important here! You want to make sure you can identify what you have found as safe (non-toxic) and edible before you consider eating it.
When enrolling for the workshop we were invited to take part in the potluck during the noon break. All the attendants had done a special effort in showing and having to taste every one different kinds of healthy and fresh foods.
5. Get off your butt and move that wild body of yours!
We all know that exercise is important, but you don’t have to train for a marathon to be healthy. Bert introduced us to all kinds of natural movements, a way of getting into rocking fit shape just by a form of play.
Doing thing like the “crab” and the “bear crawl” were fun. You’ll never look at working out in the same way again! It’s fun, and it helps you to tap into your wild self, building body awareness, confidence, and, when done outside, a deeper connection to nature. The fun thing is that you can do this together with your kids, which we did.
6. Learn bushcraft and wilderness living skills.
We also had the chance of being introduced to some bushcraft and survival skills, for example, making a fast shelter, purifying water, making a fire, and working with a knife and axe in a safe way. It was really fun to learn and use some handy survival skills from Bert, who adds some great real-life storytelling to the theory. The wilderness should always be respected, but it doesn’t need to be feared. Learning to live comfortably in the wilds (even if only for a short period) makes you feel more confident and less dependent upon society. Bert also stressed on the fact that bushcraft is a great way to start appreciating the simple things: shelter, food, and friendship.
7. Do-it-yourself wild beauty products.
We’re all told that personal care products will help us stay fresh and clean, but Kiki explained that in fact most of them are a minefield of unsuspected toxins. There are more than 80,000 chemicals currently in use in personal care products that have never been adequately tested. She made us realize that it’s easy to make your own beauty products. Nature provide us with everything we need. The beauty of making DIY-products is found in the simplicity of the ingredients: herbs, water, essential oils or fruits. The simplest food ingredients usually create the most delicious meals. The same concept proves true when it comes to making homemade beauty products. It’s easy, fun, and so much better for your health and your wallet.
The attendants went home with a new belief: In each of us is a wild woman, a wild man, or a wild child. That inner wild nature of curiosity, awareness and passion is our natural birthright, often unlearned through social conditioning. Rewilding helps you to reconnect to your real self. I heartily recommend rewilding drum’s Rewilding Day and rewilding personal coaching!
Thank you Kiki and Bert fort this warm and inspiring Rewilding Day. I hope there is much more to come very soon.
Do you have a link to some of the studies?
“There even are a lot of scientific studies showing that natural environments can have remarkable benefits for human health. Being outside promotes positive emotions and a heightened physical and mental energy.”
I would like to read further about that.
Regards from Denmark.
sorry for our late reply!
There are many studies showing the relationship between natural environements and health benefits, as this one from the Utrecht University, in the Nederlands: http://nvl002.nivel.nl/postprint/pppp1696.pdf
At the end of this article from Minnessota University you will also find plenty of references on this issue.
Thansk a lot for comment!