Francis Weller, an admired author, psychotherapist, and soul activist introduces what he calls, The Five Gates of Grief in The Wild Edge of Sorrow, a personal favorite of mine and a literary masterpiece that beautifully summarizes the inner terrain of grief we experience living in this unique moment in time in our culture.
Weller channels thousands of years of ancestral wisdom filtered through an exquisite gift of language to explain one of the major inlets of grief we feel is the loss of an intimate connection to the natural world and bearing witness to its destruction, permeating our consciousness like white noise, every single day.
Essentially, Weller proposes, if it feels like something is missing in our lives, it is because there is . . .
Excerpts from The Wild Edge of Sorrow:
“Our inheritance includes an intimate and permeable exchange with the wild world. It is what our minds and bodies expect.”
“We were meant to have a life-long engagement with a beautiful and strange otherness. It was meant to be an ongoing presence, not an exception or something that we capture on our cameras while on vacation in Yellowstone or by watching it on the Nature Channel.”
"We no longer live with a sensuous intimacy with the wind, rivers, rainfall, and birdsong."
“Now, in the shortest wisp of a moment, the perennial conversation has been silenced for the vast majority of us. There are no daily encounters with woods or prairies, with herds of elk or bison, no ongoing connection with manzanita or scrub jay. The myths and stories about the exploits of raven, the courage of mouse, the cleverness of fox have fallen cold. The others have retreated and have essentially vanished from our attention, our minds and our imaginations. What happens to our soul life in the absence of the others? [Paul] Shepard says that what emerges is a grief-laden emptiness.”
“What if it is a hollowness that comes from a prolonged absence of birdsong, the scent of sweetgrass, the taste of wild huckleberries, the cry of the red-tailed hawk or the melancholy call of the loon? What if this emptiness is the great echo in our soul of what it is we expected and did not receive?”
"What it is we expected and did not receive" is haunting.
The depth of the fracture in our relationship to the wild world deserves to be held with this honest awareness. It's important to name it, hold it up to the light, acknowledge it, contemplate it, own our part in it, grieve it...and then answer the call to heal it to the best of our ability under the very challenging circumstances of the machine of our culture.
Awareness is a powerful vehicle for change.
This is your invitation.
Begin to heal your relationship with nature by choosing simple acts of love and wonder every day for the wild world for the benefit of us all, great and small. Collective change happens one person, one moment at a time.
The Wild at Heart Method is uniquely designed to help you transition into a lifestyle that awakens your inner wild and supports your wellbeing.
Subscribe for reWilding inspiration and download the reWilding Retreat Guide: a nature-infused, self-guided retreat to explore on your own or with family and friends designed to help you de-stress, disconnect from technology, soulfully connect with loved ones & nature, nourish your mind.body with healthy whole food, and provide the mental space for mindfulness.
See you in the wild,
Angela Juhl, MS, CHWC, CYT
Master of Science in Human Nutrition & Functional Medicine
Wellcoaches™ Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Wild Woman Project Circle Leader
Certified Yoga Teacher
Wild at Heart was founded on the mission: to take a stand against unsustainable cultural norms by empowering YOU to realign your lifestyle & mindset with the wisdom of nature for mind.body.heart & soul healing and rekindling a soulful relationship to the natural world...for yourself, your loved ones, our communities, and our beautiful planet.
I also highly recommend Weller’s audio-video online course, Living a Soulful Life available for purchase here. Required listening for anyone on a soul journey!