REMEMBERING THE WISDOM OF WILDNESS

Re-connect to the wisdom of wilderness, and perhaps our planet will save US, says Darren Austin HallArtwork: Stéphane Recoupé

“To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” — Terry Tempest Williams

The worst kind of loss is one you’re not even aware of. The loss of the wild and our allied wildness is one such loss, haunting us in a multitude of inner-howlings and muffled cries; deep, psychic pains and distant, all-engulfing yearnings.

We may taste it in the devastating awe of a sublime valley of meandering meadows and lakes surrounded by towering mountains. Or else in the skin-crawling terror that some city slickers can experience in the dark woods. We get little nudges of it, too, when we boldly take risks, calling upon unknown resources. In the ecstatic place when limits are transcended and we witness how much more powerful we are than we believed.

And we also find it in the rebellious streak that smirks at authority figures, sometimes playfully, sometimes out of a sheer desire to transgress any kind of ‘taming’ of our primal being, as if it were a grave betrayal. The story of our wildness—what it is, what happened to it and what to do with it now—is old and complicated, but it’s one worth remembering, for it harkens back to the most ancient wounds that usurp us all.

Our natural world, horrendously abused, is now in a state so perilous our very survival as a species is threatened. This is an example of just how deep the wound of separating from our wildness goes. At the heart of perhaps one of the longest and most insane of wars in our story as a species, it is also one we are largely ignorant of: the war against both nature and the wilds of our own human nature.

I realized this returning to Toronto after a recent vision quest in Manitoba, and realizing what we’ve lost in choosing to pave over Her wild, ragged skin; to relegate Her rawness to sanitized city parks; to drown out the peaceful pulse of Her wilderness with the perpetual motion of the traffic and busyness that charge our cities with a certain kind of restless madness.

Moreover, how we have become cut off from something so vital and necessary; something that keeps us in constant alignment with what is true and good, on a path of virtue, and away from the suffering that modern culture wreaks upon us by way of social conditioning.

But all it takes to remember is to acknowledge the inherent wisdom that awakens within us when we’re in the wild, like a silent soul-switch.

In any moment of heartache, when you’ve felt called to take a walk in park or, better yet, hike in a forest, didn’t you experience an almost immediate peace-of-mind? And perhaps a subsequent yet even more powerful cascade of wise insights, resolve, and answers? In my one-on-one healing practice, I often send people besieged by turmoil to the park to sit beneath a tree, to ground into the earth and simply ask questions. I counsel them to enter a state of meditative receptivity and to wait to see what happens. It never fails.

One incredulous friend later admitted she thought it was some ‘hippy bullshit’—but that within minutes of sitting, she found extraordinary insights. On this note, one ancient name for Goddess Earth is Sophia, meaning ‘wisdom’—also at the root of the word philosophy: philo (love) of sophy (wisdom). Or Sophia, the Earth Goddess, whose quality is wisdom.

I believe that when we encounter any kind of wilderness, even in a city park, an extraordinary resonance takes place between it and the wilderness buried deep in us. Suddenly, stagnant emotions, thoughts and experiences find flow because what is wild is always in flow, cannot be tamed nor contained. To take a hit of this means an immediate sense of liberation.

It’s a feeling we experience as teenagers: as our hormones thrust our bodies into adulthood, and we feel the unhinged energies of our being expanding. In traditional cultures, these were times to take the boys and girls into the wild to teach them how to navigate these new energies, so that their wildness could be channeled, and not devour them in arrogant hubris and inflated egos vulnerable to narcissism.

Nowadays, kids do drugs, and partake in other risky activities to test their mettle against these dynamic evolutions. All too often, it leads to disaster—disasters we often survive (we are sturdy folk). But some are are never able to escape this deep yearning for more aliveness, chasing the sensation for the rest of their lives in whirlwinds of drug and alcohol abuse.

For the great call of the wilderness is forever present.

If we choose, we can learn to ride the stallion of our desires using the tools of our spiritual practice, while fostering a quiet reverence for the wild, knowing that there will always be a part of us that lies beyond our control. For if we don’t figure out how to live in harmony with our wildness, we’re doomed. Something we’re reckoning with as a species right now.

And so I invite you to rediscover the wild in you and to find ways to connect more deeply and even sacredly to the wilds of the world.

  • Perhaps this means a month-long discipline of mini-vision questing a la urban shamanism, going to the nearby park every morning to sit in gratitude and receptivity for potential flumes of wisdom.
  • Perhaps this means shaking for twenty minutes a day and letting the voice vent into roars, yells and spontaneous songs.
  • Perhaps it means following our instincts more, our gut-truths, and heart-wombing wisdom; giving head to our heart.

Whatever your way of connecting to the wisdom of wildness, know that you are healing the great wound between ourselves and the Earth, a wound that has pushed us to the harrowing brink. Know that these small acts are in service of a greater movement that is sweeping through our species as we begin to remember a deeply eternal love for Earth, and for the wild.

In which we might just find the way to live one of the most splendorous truths imaginable; we might find the way to let the world save us.

Discover more about Darren Austin Hall and his work at Darrenaustinhall.com

THE MAGIC INGREDIENT: 10 HIGH VIBE PANTRY UPGRADEs

Up the ante of your high vibe pantry and feel the magic in every bite, says Raquel GriffinPortrait: Margarita Corporan

From nutrient dense sweeteners great for raw foodies to high-energy crystal charged water – it’s all about the magical, the medicinal AND the delicious here. So read on for a shopping list of the foods you need right now to create your very own high vibe pantry hit list.

1. High-vibe: Natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, stevia
Way higher-vibe: Organic un-sulphured Black Strap Molasses

Black strap molasses is a double duty sweetening super food that approaches coconut oil territory when it comes to nutrition and sheer versatility. You can bake with it, use it for greater regularity, and to stimulate hair growth and banish grays – it can even double as a hair de-frizzer when mixed with warm water and applied as a mask. It’s low-glycemic, high in calcium and iron, and it’s great for vegans! Five tablespoons of blackstrap molasses contains 50 percent of the recommended daily allowance of calcium, 95 percent of iron, and 38 percent of magnesium.

Yes, it has a strong flavor so it can’t totally replace all other sweeteners, BUT its high vibe qualities definitely merit adding it into heavy rotation. Ease into using BSM by adding 1-2 tablespoons to your morning Chai and top it off with a splash of almond milk. This old school come new school super food can be found almost any local supermarket.

2. High-vibe: Kale
Way higher-vibe: Purslane

Although nothing can technically replace kale (Goddess forbid) this juicy, slightly lemony edible weed gains super star status in your kitchen due to its incredible nutritive and medicinal properties. For example, it’s the richest known plant source for Omega-3 fatty acids (usually found in fish oils). A one cup serving gives you all the Vitamin E you need in a day, and it’s also one of the best sources of magnesium as well as being high in calcium, potassium and vitamin C.

Used externally, it has similar properties to aloe and calendula in that its sticky broken leaves can soothe burns, stings and swellings while the juice can be used to treat ulcers, wounds, sores and gastrointestinal problems. And last but certainly not least, it’s also one of the five herbs richest in anti-depressant substances. Purslane is usually available in the summer and fall but you can always order Purslane online. Eat this green in salads, soups and smoothies, or fried in oil with chopped onion as a side dish. (And FYI – Purslane can get slimy so make sure to add it at the last minute to your recipes!)

3. High-vibe: Standard water filter
Way higher-vibe: Alkaline Water filter

Berkey, a Zen Filter or a Zero water carafe – if you can’t harvest actual fresh spring water it’s all about these gravity filters. So what’s all the hoopla with the alkaline water you say? The Alkalinity is referring to the pH level of the water, and the higher the pH, the more water helps hydrate the body on a cellular level. Water in its most natural state — untouched by pollution — is water that is highly alkaline (a high pH-balance between 9-11). However, most of the water we drink today (i.e. tap or bottled) is anything but, with most clocking a pH of somewhere between 4-8.

And when our bodies get out of balance (i.e. too acidic), we can experience low energy, fatigue, excess weight, poor digestion, aches and pains, and all sorts more serious disorders. Not to mention that high acidity in the body is one of the major factors effecting overall cell aging. So long story short, we want to get more alkaline any way we can – and these filters are a great way to do it. Now there are some Rolls Royce’s out there like Kangen Water Filters but if you’re not looking to shell out upwards of $5K the above mentioned filters are a super option.

4. High-vibe: Water with lemon
Way higher-vibe: Laminar Crystal Charged Water

Part Muscovite Mica, part food-safe clay, Laminar Crystals have the capacity to not only make water more physically absorbable by the body (which equals far superior hydration) but they are also able to pick up and transmit many life-supporting cosmic frequencies, including those that support energetic balance and continually cleanse the surrounding environment. Cool additional factoid: Laminar crystals were used in the capstone of the Great Pyramid in Egypt! So you can only imagine what happens when you add these babies to your water! Users, including myself, have been known to experience less pain, better moods, clearer thinking, better toxin elimination, gorgeous skin and unbelievably increased energy levels…my assistants have affectionately dubbed it “crazy crack water.”

So what’s the skinny? When laminar crystals are added to water they energetically lower the surface tension of water – making it more easily absorbable and more “life giving” for the body. Most of us drink some form of tap or bottled water, which has considerably higher surface tension and is therefore much harder to absorb. And water that’s not absorbable is no bueño – kind of like trying to eat food without a fork. So where to get your hands on these little pearls of goodness? Numerous places on the Internet offer various Laminar crystal products but I highly recommend the Precious Prills brand available through Life Enthusiast.

5. High-vibe. Organic grass-fed milk / butter
Way higher-vibe: RAW organic grass-fed milk / butter

On the rare (or maybe not) occasion that you consume dairy, upgrade by going RAW. Why? Because while all grass-fed dairy (vs grain-fed dairy) contains a little known vitamin called K2, an essential component in building healthy teeth, bones and the magic ingredient in healing cavities naturally, it’s in its most potent energetic state when “live” (ie. non-pasteurized). Though still technically “illegal” in many U.S. states, for hotly contested reasons which you can learn more about here – raw grass-fed dairy can still be had through many raw dairy farmer affiliated food buying co-ops. Or, if you’re lucky enough to live in a pro-raw milk state like California, right off your supermarket shelf. And for all the Vegans, never fear – Natto is here! A popular Japanese fermented soy bean product, Natto is the highest source of plant based K2 currently available.

6. High vibe: Any Random Green Superfood powder
Way Higher Vibe: Dried Moringa Leaf Powder

Moringa leaf is pretty much the cat’s meow when it comes to all around nutrition. Native to Asia and Africa moringa has been used there for centuries but is just now making its way to our shores. Available for consumption as both a tea and a powder, dried Moringa leaf has the following staggering stats…1 gram of Moringa leaf powder = 7x the vitamin C in oranges, 4x the calcium in milk, 2x the protein in milk, 4x the vitamin A in carrots, 3x times the iron in spinach and 3x times the potassium in bananas.

So to call this baby a super food is an understatement — think of it as the holy grail of plant based nutrition. That’s right vegans, raw foodies, and vegetarians…Morninga is about to be your J-A-M. Sprinkle the powder in your tomato sauce, add it to your smoothies or drink it as a tea…Whatever way you get it, it’s all good. Moringa seed oil has also been shown to regenerate skin cells – I’ve actually used it on my scalp to increase hair growth, and it can also be used for inflammation, psoriasis, eczema and shingles. Holy grail indeed.

7. High Vibe: St. John’s Wort
Way Higher Vibe: Ormus gold

Discovered by farmer turned researcher, David Hudson in the mid 1970’s while mining for gold on his farm in Arizona, a substance dubbed ORMUS was found to contain mineral elements (such as gold, palladium, iridium etc.) that were able to exist in a special energetic state described as “reserved for things like the ‘dark matter’ that astronomers look for in space, the Earth’s magnetic field, healthy soil, weather phenomena like lightning…even consciousness itself”.  WOAH.

There’s still much that is unknown about the full capabilities of ORMUS, but simply put ORMUS is considered to be “life force energy” in material form. Pretty radical, huh? ORMUS has been known to increase feelings of awareness, connectedness, psychic phenomenon, dream lucidity, anti-aging, increased metabolism, miraculous healing and when added to water makes it more easily absorbable by the body. Most commonly available for consumption in tincture form ORMUS goes way beyond the classification of mere “supplement” – and could even be considered the ultimate magic ingredient.

8. High Vibe: Mugwort tea
Way Higher Vibe: Wild Asparagus root tea

For those looking for something that goes a step beyond mugwort, make Wild Asparagus root tea, aka the other “dream time tea” your go-to. Similar to mugwort, Wild Asparagus (or Tian Men Dong as it’s known in China) is great for lucid dreaming and was known by monks there as the “flying herb” due to the “flying dreams” it stimulates. However, what really sets Wild Asparagus root apart are it’s heart opening effects and ability to help you move into alignment with spirit. Also used widely in Ayurvedic preparations as a women’s health tonic it can also be found under the name “Shatavari.” So before you go cozy up under the covers with some regular ol’ tea, if you’re up for a heart opening dreamtime adventure consider making a “trip” of it.

9. High Vibe: Chlorella
Way Higher Vibe: Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash and is taste and odorless. Largely produced out of Fort Benton, Wyoming, Bentonite Clay is unique in its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. SCIENCE STUFF COMIG UP. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. As Bulk Herb Store explains: “think of the Montmorillonite (aka Bentonite) crystal flake resembling two pieces of bread, with a strong vacuum pulling the filling in between them. Whatever lands there (Sodium or Calcium) determines what kind of sandwich it will be. Now when you activate this clay sandwich, it will magnetically grab the junk in your body (heavy metals, toxins, acid, etc.) and trade it for the “filling”, taking the toxins out in your waste.”  Got it?

This amazing “dirt” also has an alkalizing effect on the body and can help balance gut bacteria, along with quelling nausea, vomiting & diarrhea. P.S. For most internal uses (oral & intestinal) a little goes a long way (ie. a 1/2t in a 1/4-1c of water) so make sure not to overdo it, and be sure to avoid storing or mixing in metal containers since metal reduces it’s efficacy.

10. High Vibe: Green Tea
Way Higher Vibe: Chaga & Reishi Mushroom Tea

Looking to crack open your pineal gland in between visits with the Grandmother? If Chaga & Reishi are not already in heavy rotation in your regimen – they should be. Both Chaga and Reishi mushrooms are grown in the northern hemisphere, and once foraged and consumed (as a water-soluble tea or alcohol soaked tincture), they both actively work to decalcify and activate the pineal gland (your third eye) in addition to helping you relax, handle stress and sleep better.

They’re also digestive aids, immune boosters and contain some of the highest antioxidant effects on the planet. And when adding these magic mushrooms to your regular routine don’t be surprised if you find yourself more easily moving into “flow” states or rising to howl at the moon.

JAMIE GRABER: NOURISHED BY MIRACLES

Working with metaphysical text A Course In Miracles has helped Gingersnaps Organic founder Jamie Graber enjoy every step of her journey – anxieties and all. She shares how…Images: John von Pamer

It can sometimes feel like all roads to spiritual awakening lead back to A Course in Miracles – a channelled, self-study workbook perhaps made most famous by the likes of Marianne Williamson and Gabriel Bernstein, who both reference the teachings of ACIM heavily in their own work.

Most recently, the classic text popped up on our radar thanks to a weekly study group that meets at chic West Village juice bar Gingersnaps Organic. Inspired by founder Jamie Graber’s own journey with the teachings of ACIM, here she shares how the Course has helped her re-imagine her relationship with food and step fully into her life purpose…

The Numinous: When did you discover A Course In Miracles?
Jamie Graber: I discovered ACIM three years ago through Gabby Bernstein, who I met when she used to come and get juice when Gingersnaps was in the East Village, near her apartment. I was questioning a lot of stuff in my life at the time, and the Course helped me realize I could see things a different way. In turn, this helped me see that I had power over any situation.

TN: What inspired the ACIM study group at Gingersnaps?
JG: Because it was always my vision to have my restaurant be a place of community. I also noticed that the more I talked about ACIM, the better I felt, so I thought having the weekly meetings would be a beautiful way to start giving back. An amazing woman name Anne Marie Imperiale leads the class, an incredible coach who uses the Course in her work. We meet every Monday from 8-9pm, the class is free, and people come early to gather and connect. I love it.

TN: Why do you think the teachings of the Course resonate with so many people?
JG: Because because they give YOU the power. It’s not about idolizing or following rules, it’s about remembering that ultimately we hold all the power over how we see things. If we accept this and choose to really live in it, we begin to see that we have the answer for everything within us. The Course really teaches how to live in love and not fear, and who doesn’t want that!

TN: Can you give an example of this from your own life?
JG: My journey with Gingersnaps Organic actually began with a massive fear around food. I was extremely uncomfortable with my body, unable to embrace or love it, to the point I would actually say I say I hated my body. But out of that, I found raw food and plant based living, which in turn led me to discover my passion in life and to really be able to experience joy around food. I even married a meat-eating chef, and my favorite thing these days is to travel the world eating amazing food with him!

TN: So how has the Course helped you heal your relationship with food specifically?
JG: The lessons helped me realize my illusions about food were just that: illusions. For example, the idea that eating food would automatically make me fat and grotesque to everyone around me. At the time, I was 5 7″ and 85lbs, but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat. In hindsight, I can see this was insane – but at the time, the the illusion felt very real to me.

TN: What’s been your key take-away from the teachings?
JG: That when I’m uncomfortable or going through something tough, I know it’s because I’m in a place of transition and that I have to make a change – and there’s an incredible sense of ease that comes along with that. Also that while often healing hurts, and feels uncomfortable at first, the more you’re willing to push through discomfort, the faster you will come out the other side to a place of joy and freedom that you didn’t even know existed.

TN: And what’s your very favorite lesson from ACIM?
JG: There’s one I love so much I actually set it as a reminder on my phone every night:

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety”

We often think we know what’s best for us, and have an idea of exactly what that should look like. We give a lot of power to this vision, and when things don’t go exactly as we “wanted,” we can lose faith and become anxious that we’re never going to get what we want. True faith believes that we are taken care of. We have to understand that we can’t always see the path ahead – but that if we have faith that everything we encounter is actually a gift, then we can enjoy every step of the journey.

Reaching the “destination” isn’t worth it for me any more if the journey is filled with anxiety and fear, so when I’m stressing about something, I will often read this lesson and mediate on it, remembering I am protected, and that everything is for my best interest. When I first opened the space in the East Village, I was a ball of fear and anxiety, so every day there was torture. I had no faith, and only frustration that things didn’t look like I thought they would.

Having Gabby and The Course in my life really took me back to my childhood, when I believed and trusted. I was the little girl waking up early before school to clear my crystals and talk to Spirit, and when I first opened up Gingersnap’s Organic, I had forgotten that. Opening up in the West Village has been completely different. I’ve done it with ease and trust, and chosen to just let things play out. Even when anxiety sets in, using my tools from ACIM, I am able to release it and actually enjoy waiting for how I want things to be.

Juice It, Blend It, Live It: Over 50 Easy Recipes to Energize, Detox, and Nourish Your Mind and Body by Jamie Graber is out now.