The best books for re-wilding our relationship with life

The Books I Picked & Why

The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature

By Stephen Harrod Buhner

Book cover of The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature

Why this book?

This book offers a response to a deep longing to be in the world with childlike curiosity. It encourages our direct perception of life through the energetic heart field. Although it is meant as a knowledgeable guide for listening to and communicating with plants, it elicits a poignant call during a time of profound alienation. Encouraging the letting go of top-down linear thinking, Buhner offers a step-by-step somatic path for decolonizing the soul. I discovered by exchanging the word “psoas” for “plant” the book easily becomes a personal guide for increasing our core awareness as it inspires opening the heart by rooting into a reciprocal relationship with the living Earth. To me, re-wilding my relationship with the deepest aspects of self is vitally personal and imperative if all life is to truly flourish. 


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Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

By Merlin Sheldrake

Book cover of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures

Why this book?

I love how this book shakes up my complacency and replaces it with wonder and delight! Sheldrake lures us into the invisible world of fungi where the entire earth is an entangled web – a living matrix of support and possibility. The life-generating mycorrhizal partnerships challenge any notion of being separate and behooves us to rethink what it means to be human. Network-based life forms switch up our brain-centric thinking which claims we humans are the only intelligent beings on Earth and teaches us that cognitive processing, or what we call learning, happens in a multiplicity of ways. What is especially thrilling is the gusto that Sheldrake exudes while educating his readers about the innovative potential emerging from these living relationships. 


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These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity's Search for Home

By Bayo Akomolafe

Book cover of These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity's Search for Home

Why this book?

Bayo Akomolafe, a new thought intellectual wrestling the disparity of colonized modernity by stirring up the very heart of Re-Wilding posites, “we haven’t gotten rid of wild things…they dwell within us.” Opening spaces of power-with, Bayo’s poetic writing feeds my curiosity and ignites my passion. Born in Western Nigeria to Yoruba parents, this western trained psychologist circles back to the wisdom of his indigenous people offering love for their direct knowing as he reminds his reader “wildness, this darkness, is not an other - we are continually sourced, recreated, and reconfigured here.” Rewilding core expression is an innovative, transformative process that we enter through our animal body’s sensory proprioception. Softening the mind’s focus and expanding our awareness of our inner terrain, nourishes seeds of possibilities that are always gestating in the dark. 


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Braiding Sweetgrass

By Robin Wall Kimmerer

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass

Why this book?

Braiding Sweetgrass ignites biological gestures of gratitude that in turn restores elemental balance to my soul. I believe it will be indigenous writers, such as Kimmerer who already know in their bones our place in the kinship of life, who will help us reweave the human species back into reparative wholeness. I love the rhythms evoked by her personal stories, which invite us to slow down in order not to miss the inherent beauty in conversing with our more than human kin. Pausing to listen awakens my senses, deepening my inner knowing. With scientific precision, Kimmerer stands in two worlds as both a botanist and a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation. She reveals how direct perception is not only vital for survival but also for tending the heartfelt spirit of reciprocity in relation with our life-sustaining Mother Earth.


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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness

By Sy Montgomery

Book cover of The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness

Why this book?

This book begs the question: how can human beings think they understand and thus know a living creature who possesses a more sophisticated sensory system and perceptual capacity than humans have themselves? This humancentric arrogance and naïveté become obvious while reading this tale of love and relationship. With a complex and “clever” brain, one would think we would all bow down with deep respect and open ourselves to the unimaginable – what might it be like to think, feel and sense as Octavia the Octopus does?  Perhaps by doing so we gain respect for her soulful life. Naturalist Sy Montgomery does indeed humble herself and therefore engages in a truly spiritual journey of wonder transforming her understanding of what is to be alive. Diving deep into this inner-species love affair changes our perception of who we think we are and exposes the cultural compulsion to manipulate the living world to our benefit without thought or concern that doing so actually affects the lives of all other beings we share this planet with.  


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