What is Renaturalizing?

In my peer group, we speak often of the principle of rewilding. We define this term in this way: becoming more intrinsically motivated and Self-regulated, rather than extrinsically motivated and regulated by incentive and punishment structures of the dominant society. My friends and I aspire to have our lives be more fully guided by our inner knowing, sense of purpose, and our self-generating intelligence.

In this lucid talk, renowned naturalist author, meditator and Beat poet Gary Snyder speaks profoundly of the idea that a wild animal is a highly self-regulated organism—very elegant and sophisticated in its being, very “fit” amongst the opportunities and constraints within its interdependent systems. This comes in stark contrast to the clunky civilization which requires copious amounts of ongoing energy inputs to be able to sustain its “order”—and yet labels itself as order, and the “wilds” as “dangerous” “frightening” and “dark.”

“To be wild is to live within a process.” – Gary Snyder 

I am not rewilding in the green/black anarchism sense of attempting to return to a hunter-gatherer primal order. I do not live removed from civilization—rather, I have chosen to live and organize subversively within it. And for years now I have been actively engaged in an inner method of spiritual rigor: letting my emotions and experiences reorganize my mental model of the world, aka my worldview or cognitive structure, and as a result, my behavior. Anarchists would recognize this as “getting freer” or “self liberation.”

I am letting the wisdom of natural systems reorganize my mind and my body. I am becoming more natural. I am living from the present moment more often. I am speaking, and acting on, my truth more often. I am interrogating my truth perpetually. I am asking about your truth; I am trying to organize us by our truths.  

Because when we embody in this manner, we are inviting interaction—and even co-organization—with the dynamic, interconnected intelligence of all living systems in this very moment. We re-cognize ourselves as contiguous with all living systems, and make ourselves available to both producing and harvesting learnings. Communion and connection with nature is essential to becoming a whole human being. But even beyond communion is a realm of communication, collaborative meaning-making…. even world-making. When we attune and engage ourselves in this way, we generate holistic thriving and healing—which is, after all, the project of life at any scale.

This is my definition of “renaturalizing.” And I advocate for all humankind to engage in this practice, for the benefit and liberation of all beings