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Is It Time For A Wilderness Experience?


The opposite of wilderness is what?

(Note your body's reactions to these words.)

Man-made? Routine? Safe? Familiar? Predictable? Unnatural? Inaction? Action?


The opposite of experience is what?

(Note your body's reactions to these words.) Death? Ignorance? Numbness? Illusion?


Whatever your definition, if you suffer from feeling stuck in the familiar, numb from routine, or burdened by artificial products and society’s rules, then a wilderness experience may be just the remedy for you.


If you are hungry, eat. If you are thirsty, drink. If you are tired, sleep. Your body has a way of telling you what your imbalance is and how to rebalance it.


Some of us are ably-bodied, financially secure, and geographically gifted enough to be able to immerse ourselves deeply into the womb of wilderness in just a day’s short drive. There we can camp, hike, sit, fish, and hunt all day without seeing another soul or manmade structure, knowing in our living cells that perhaps not far off lurks a mountain lion, bear, large snake, crocodile, or big, hairy spider. We can return to the senses and absorb the vitality cycling through the ecosystem thriving outside the constructs of concrete, steel, and plastic. 24 hours of solitude on a deep jungle or mountain river returns me to a solidity of self and sense of connection to all things, which is indescribably rewarding.


But, not everyone is so lucky. So how can THEY experience the Wild?


Personally, I use the term “wilderness experience” broadly. For me, ecstatic dance returns me to my raw, animal self for whom there are no rules, where I’m face to face with the danger of being seen and experiencing my deep emotions, and I have no idea what is going to happen next. In the confines of the city, dance feeds my need to be wild, feel wild, and be with the wild.

The guiding light here is not whether or not you can access uninterrupted expanses of raw nature. It is what can return you to your wild, true self, the human animal you are before you get lost in thoughts of how to be, what to do next, right and wrong, etc. What gets you out of your head, into your body, and gives you an immediate, felt sense of “this is right, this is me”? The wilderness experience has no element of loneliness in it. In fact, there is a wonderful feeling of presence.


Here are some examples for you to try if you don’t have access to living wilderness places:


1. Bicycling and motorcycling

My imagination as I ride.

2. Dancing and singing with amazing music

3. Gardening

4. Building

5. Martial arts

6. Painting, sculpting

7. Sitting with a stream, tree, flower

8. Eating with a loved one

9. Playing in a sandbox

10. Playing with a child or pet

This list is by no means the end, of course.


If you are feeling bored or irritable, numb or depressed, it may be time for a wilderness experience. Get outside, get into your body, lose yourself to your passions, and savor the free gifts of life.


As always, if you are considering receiving support in regaining your sense of wildness, connection, and life enjoyment, feel free to reach out to me. I offer a free 30 minute initial consult to see how I might aid you on your journey. For me, counseling itself is a trail in the wilderness experience.


Find other useful tips to rewild yourself here.

Gary Howard, MA, LPC
260-445-8249
contact@wildwaysintegration.com
1650 38th St.
Suite 100E
Boulder, CO 80301

© 2020 Wild Ways Integration, LLC