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A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 35: Re-Wilding — Story: Into The Wild!

For Classroom or Home School



Week 35: Spring
Lesson 29: Rewilding

When I go into Nature, I feel connected to Earth and myself.

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

Too many to count. That is how many times a spiritual teacher has received divine intervention, been met with a vision, or experienced some other “breakthrough” moment by venturing into the wilderness.

Moses before the burning bush, Siddhartha Gautama beneath the Bodhi Tree, the Zamzam well quenching Hagar’s thirst in the desert, John the Baptist dunking Jesus in the wild waters, and there are more. The lessons in this year’s curriculum have reminded us of the healing, teaching, and revealing presence of Spirit that waits for us in Nature.

How wild are you? We are mammals. We are more water (and bacteria and microbes) than we are “ourselves.” And in biblical language, we are made of Earth itself. This week’s lesson is about re-wilding ourselves. Civilization and its routines often hinders us from hearing and perceiving the Divine. Returning to the wild helps us remember we are animals, and we belong to a great family of siblings — plants and creatures. Sometimes, “being tame” prevents us from receiving deeper messages about who we are and the gifts we were born to share. So this week, let’s get a little wild!

Teacher Reflection/Activity

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson.

Option One — How wild are you? Our civilized mind has been trained to appreciate rationale and study. So take a few minutes to review the dictionary definitions of “wild.” You may be surprised by the number of ways this word is used in the English language! Then consider your personal relationship to the word “wild.” How does it feel to think about yourself as “wild”? Which definitions of the word would like you to grow into this week and going forward?

Option Two — In what ways do you want to re- wild yourself and/or your life? Experiment and adapt any of these suggestions:

• Disconnect digitally! Re-wilding requires reducing our dependency on the modern world which emphasizes speed and convenience and cultivating our other ways of seeing and knowing (they’re still in there!) through listening and observation. Spend a day of each weekend (or more) unplugging from your devices. Notice how your nervous system feels when you reduce your contact with news, email, media and other forms of connectivity. Uninstall social media apps for a week, a season or more. Notice the wild world within you!

• Inhabit and use your body! Dance, run, breathe, or stretch. Embrace your whole being and use your body in all the ways you are able. Most other animals embrace their bodies and fully inhabit their abilities, no matter their shape or flaws. Re-wilding includes allowing our body to be fully engaged in all the ways it wants to be used and expressed.

• Interact with your local ecosystem. Do you know the names of your more-than- human relatives living nearby? What is their relationship to the ecosystem? What do they give to the system and what do they need to live well? How does your interdependence mirror theirs? Can you give or receive more from the living system pulsing around you? If you haven’t already, perhaps this is the season you will plant a small garden or forage for herbs, berries or edible mushrooms.

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one.). Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

Hebrew Scriptures. Genesis 2:7 (NRSV)
Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

Christian Scriptures. Mark 1:12-13 (NRSV)
And the Spirit immediately drove [Jesus] out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Shinto. Oracle of the Kami of Atsuta
Even in a single leaf of a tree, or a tender blade of grass, the awe-inspiring Deity manifests itself.

Wisdom Quotes

You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you. ― Isadora Duncan

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ― Wendell Berry

You can be very wild and still be very wise. ― Yoko Ono

Practice listening to your intuition, your inner voice; ask questions; be curious; see what you see; hear what you hear; and then act upon what you know to be true. These intuitive powers were given to your soul at birth. ― Clarissa Pinkola Estés

When we are cut off from our natural resources: the things we love, the things that make us feel alive, and the things that nourish us, our growth is stunted as well. …Rewilding is answering the primal call to unapologetically be our true selves. It’s about rekindling our instincts – that inner knowing of who to trust, what is right and wrong, where to go next, when to rest, pause, run, or hold strong. It’s about knowing how to truly feed ourselves – literally and soulfully. It’s a way of connected, authentic living. ― Brianne Dela Cruz, Gather & Grow

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary