Belonging as a Wild Woman.

I just finished a book called “Belonging” by Toko-pa Turner.

The title of the book spoke to me, as the theme belonging is beautiful, tricky and so universal. As humans, we all want to belong. Belong to a group, culture, a partner, place, a home.

Messy

The title spoke to me, because the past two years I spent in transition time without having a place I could call home. For the first time after two years I feel I have a home again. And apparently this is something very important to me, to have a base, a place where I can be myself and build upon. It’s still messy and a lot of times I’m looking for things I can’t find anymore and don’t know where I put them, but we’re getting there. Moving house means always chaos.

The first thing I noticed when I returned to Mallorca after being with my family in the Netherlands, was how I re-connected with nature. The full moon that seemed huge on the early morning I arrived by ferry; the dark-red earth plowed by the farmers some days before; the stars at night; the bleating of sheep; the fresh air; almond trees that just have started to blossom. They made me feel home. Although my heart ached to leave my family, I knew I was home.

Fit in

Some weeks before I walked through Amsterdam with my sis and niece and it made me realize I never truly abandoned this city. Home just knows several places. After these years living in Spain, I still belong here. Home is a place where we are accepted the way we are, with flaws and all. I was, but of course like so many, I also needed to fit in, job-wise. Trees that grow euros, didn’t exist in our city-garden and never will be. Sometimes I felt a stranger in the work I had to do.

The most valuable “asset” I gained by moving to Ibiza and later to Mallorca, is the connection with the natural world, which I didn’t really see before. I couldn’t see before, because I wasn’t aware of this whole world of miracles around me. And I am a part of it! It was on Ibiza that I finally learned that the phases of the moon correspond to my menstrual cycle. I just never thought of that, and nobody told me that before. Ridiculous, right?! 

Wild Woman

I started to read about the archetype of the wild woman, a book named Women Who Run with the Wolves : Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Jungian analyst, author and poet Clarissa Pinkola Estés. 

A Wild Woman lives authentically, with a sense of creativity in all she does. She has the passion and courage to express her self and her ideas freely, even if it feels vulnerable, because she then lives her truth.

To me a Wild Woman is an intuitive, confident, caring, creative woman who lives in tune with herself and above all with nature, free from societal expectations, fully aware of nature’s power and that power that resides in her. I don’t consider myself a wild woman (yet), but I love the idea of her!

On Ibiza I met a few women who are close to Wild Women, mostly living completely free of what society expects from them, but often, like everything on Ibiza is, it was a lot of show too. Not authentic. I know a Dutch lady though, she is in her sixties, caring, free, and does completely what she desires, loves nature and animals and lives totally off-grid in the hills up north. She is true to herself and to others. To me she is a Wild Woman.

Are you a Wild Woman? To stir up the wild woman within, immerse yourself in these 13 quotes.

A Wild Woman feels, and is connected with, the natural world and the animals around her. She plays with dirt, feeds the plants, dances in the rain, plants trees, eats their fruit and honors her belonging to the earth. She is home. And she knows she’d better take care of it.

The book Belonging by Toko-pa Turner shows that belonging isn’t always a place, but a set of skills that we in modern times have lost or forgotten.

To re-find our ties with nature is a way to find belonging in this world.

Alienated

Toko-pa Turner writes poetry with Belonging. This deep fragment at nearly the end of the book is truly spot on:

“Reflecting on our present-day relationship with nature, you could say that we are collectively and chronically disoriented. I believe a great deal of the lostness we feel as a culture is a result of how alienated from the natural world we’ve become. Not only are we disconnected from nature, but aneasthetized to the enormity of that loss. Many people don’t even realize what is missing because they’ve never known it, but underneath our preoccupations with getting ahead and being accepted, there is a deep well of pain: our unbelonging to the earth herself.

Of course, we can never truly be separated from the natural world because, like every other living being, we are quite literally expressions of the earth. But in the grandness of what we as a species have created and called civilization, we have come to think of ourselves as conquerors of the wild.

Forgetting, in some pandemic amnesia, the true origins that make any of it possible. Our consciousness is so disconnected from the web of life that we have come to think of the earth’s generosities as our own resources to privatize and commodify for profit. We are so enamoured with the construction of our own endless, narrow tunnels of productivity that we have become alienated from the very body that supports and sustains us.” 

Con Amor,

Eva

Photo by Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

6 Ways to Rewild Yourself Now.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Last year when the fight against a pandemic ruled our world – and in most countries across the globe the battle is even more alive now – we could witness unusual images as a result of the global shutdown.

As human activity stilled and people were locked down in their homes and an unprecedented silence entered metropolitan cities, wildlife responded. Wild horses appeared in the streets of Sarajevo, jackals in the heart of Tel Aviv, deer were wandering in forests during daylight, female loggerhead turtles could undisturbingly lay her eggs at closed beaches. Smoggy air turned into cleaner skies, polluted rivers turned into clearer waters. All of a sudden silence ruled the chaotic world and natural conservation could exist without human interference.

You may even say the pandemic has been a demonstration that we are not apart, but a part of the natural world. We are a part of a larger complex natural ecosystem. And our human impact is valid.

As David Attenborough said in his latest nature documentary A Life on Our Planet: “WE MUST RE-WILD OUR WORLD”. Watching his witness statement of today’s natural world, Attenborough demonstrates the planet’s wilderness and biodiversity are rapidly declining, and it’s shocking proof.

Material world

Re-wilding the world starts with re-wilding ourselves. We are so accustomed to spending most of our time indoors in air-conditioned and central heated houses and offices. We hardly know how cold or heat feels anymore. In our modern lives we often do sedentary work, we sit in front of computer screens most of the day. We watch our Twitter timeline to see the latest dramatic events in the world. We read our newspapers and magazines on the same computer screens. We let in the noise of the digital world, where conspiracies, fake news and sensational stories spread across the world straight into our living rooms. Stories that don’t seem to unite, but divide the world. Modern and fast lives, in which the connection with the natural world is completely lost. Because we are too busy living these lives. We feel that we are a part of a material world, separated from the natural world.

Bliss

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are small things we can do, on a daily basis, to bring back the connection with nature, re-wilding ourselves, because deep down the connection is there. How do we otherwise explain the joy we feel when we walk in a forest and we see deer grazing? I felt it the other day, the fresh winter air on my cheeks and the scent of dewy leaves, while I walked through the forest and dunes and young deer were running off from the distance. Pure bliss. Peace. These serene moments in the forest make us forget our mundane troubles. 

Here’s what we can do to re-wild ourselves, to end the lost connection with the natural world:

Go outside

Turn off the noise of screens and televisions and walk in the park or in the forest. 

Fill your lungs with the cleanest air. Immerse yourself in nature and watch the birds and look for their names. 

Be powered by ass, not gas

Take your bike for transport and use those strong legs to get you from A to B. Feel the wind in your hair. Breathe in the fresh air.

Get your fuel free of pesticides and plastic

Eat vegetables from a local organic farmer or a local market. Who actually wants eggplants sprayed with pesticides that kill biodiversity and which are wrapped in plastic? The dreadful amount of plastic packaging in supermarkets is hard to watch.

Re-connect with the animal kingdom

“Change our diets into mostly plant-based diets. The planet can’t support billions of meat eaters,” David Attenborough says in A Life on Our Planet and he isn’t the first conservationist and environmentalist who claims this. 

In this way we also help prevent wildlife’s habitat, like the Amazon and Brazil’s Cerrado, from being destroyed and counter deforestation.

We help making an end to factory farms which has normalized animal suffering and the killing of tens of billions of animals, like 50 billion chickens plus tens of billions of fish and shellfish each year.

Our connection to animal lives is completely lost, we consider them as food, as objects, and not as sentient beings. We keep denying their suffering and keep our heads buried in the sand. To reconnect with the animal world and to protect wildlife’s habitat, we have to change our diet and stop the animal holocaust. 

Be the gatekeeper your mind needs

We can be easily bombarded and become overwhelmed by the news each day if we’re not careful. Especially in these pandemic times the stream of negativity that flows into our world is dramatic. Watching the news, it doesn’t bring you anything, but misery. I’d rather read a good book or a well written article about the topics I care.

Really can’t miss the news updates? Allocate a time frame, for example an hour in the afternoon. If you’d rather want to keep your spirits high than low, don’t start the mornings with watching or reading the news. To me, there isn’t a worse way of starting my day.  

Feed your soul, don’t poison it.

Again, in these unusual and depressing times, we need to be extra watchful how we feed our souls. Caring for ourselves and each other is what we have to do now. Let’s surround us with people who want us to grow and who want the best for us, and vice versa. Support each other. Go for walks together. Read books that inspire. Have dreams and goals you’d like to work on. 

Grief need not harden us. It can open us. It can remind us that our highest duty is to maintain a harmonious relationship between people, nature, and spirit. ~ Nadia Owusu 

Con Amor,

Eva

Illustration by Vanessa Rose Graham

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