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Rewilding & The Science of Letting Go

Rewilding is a term that I’ve been in love with since I first heard about it back in 2018. This simple idea states you can have one keystone event that ultimately leads to an organic process of complete regeneration and structural change for an entire ecosystem.

The classic example for ecology is when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995. That singular action of reintroducing wolves ultimately lead to some remarkable effects. The behavior of the deer and elk changed, which meant that the ecology of the valleys and meadows changed. Because of that more trees grew, which lead to more birds and beavers. The list goes on, but where it gets even more interesting is that ultimately the course of the rivers changed and the very geography of the entire area was transformed, all from that singular action of reintroducing wolves.

Imagine a similar cascade of events happening within your body in the process of restoring optimal health and vitality. How exciting! How simple and elegant in design!

There’s an important point to make here, which is that most of the current health and wellness industry doesn’t exactly operate under this premise. Instead, self-care and health can feel like a very confusing, complicated, and overwhelming laundry list of dos and don’ts that get muddled together and contradicted depending on who you listen to. Exhausting!

Of course, it’s always going to take some work to achieve peak performance and optimal health, and everyone’s needs will vary based on the individual. What I really want to share with you is how liberating it was for me to think about my health and wellness as a process of rewilding.

I grew up in a family with a high risk for breast cancer, with 4 opinionated aunties and an outspoken mother who all liked to share their research and ideas about cancer prevention and health. There was a lot of distrust and fear in many of these conversations, and it left me with a general feeling that you can never do enough, and even if you do everything perfectly then it still might not be enough.

I share this mainly as an example of one of the ways that our best intentions for seeking health and longevity can backfire and result in a lot of unhealthy shame, guilt, and fear around never doing enough.

When I changed my focus and started to view my health from a rewilding perspective some very interesting things started to shift. Instead of an overwhelmed and guilt-laden habit of trying to ‘do all the things’ my energy and focus changed to identifying the core keystone actions that might lead to a natural cascade of benefits and changes.

I released a lot of mental stress around enforcing strict personal habits, like making sure I had 3-5 strenuous workouts every week, and instead started to prioritize things that would directly make my right shoulder pain get better. I loosened up on some of my diet restrictions but put more energy into spending quality time with friends and family because I noticed a greater sense of joy, fulfillment, and wellbeing from doing that.

I hope that you can relate to this idea of rewilding, and I hope that it leads to some more freedom and time in your life. My invitation for you over the next few days or weeks is to ask yourself what that one keystone action might be for you and your life. I can’t wait to hear what you discover!

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