The best books for re-wilding our relationship with life

Who am I?

As both an international somatic educator and conceptual artist, I have explored direct perception through the sensory system for over 45 years. Focusing on human potential and core awareness through the portal of the neuro-core tissue called Psoas, I am the author of The Psoas Book and Core Awareness: Enhancing Yoga, Pilates, Exercise and Dance. I have come to appreciate that fostering personal integrity requires changing our language of the body from an object to a dynamic living process. To restore our core coherency, humans must wake up from our mechanistic separateness to once again be innovative organisms dancing in reciprocity with a living, dynamic Earth.

I wrote...

Stalking Wild Psoas: Embodying Your Core Intelligence

By Liz Koch,

Book cover of Stalking Wild Psoas: Embodying Your Core Intelligence

What is my book about?

Weaving together biology, living systems thinking, stories, and somatic movement, Liz Koch seeks to dissolve the objectification of "body" to reconceptualize human beings as biologically intelligent, self-organizing, and self-healing. She delves into the conceptual framework of the human core to decolonize current mechanistic thinking inviting readers on a journey toward reengaging with life's creative processes. The book illuminates the limitations of the predominant paradigm of body as an object to actively explore the Psoas muscle as a vital, intelligent, soulful messenger informing us of both safety and innovating possibilities. Employing biomorphic and embryonic paradigms, Koch redefines psoas as smart, expressive tissue that is both elemental and universal. Stalking Wild Psoas encourages all readers to nourish their core integrity and flourish as creative and expressive beings.

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The books I picked & why

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Stephen Harrod Buhner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret Teachings of Plants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All ancient and indigenous peoples insisted their knowledge of plant medicines came from the plants themselves and not through trial-and-error experimentation. Less well known is that many Western peoples made this same assertion. There are, in fact, two modes of cognition available to all human beings--the brain-based linear and the heart-based holistic. The heart-centered mode of perception can be exceptionally accurate and detailed in its information gathering capacities if, as indigenous and ancient peoples asserted, the heart's ability as an organ of perception is developed. Author Stephen Harrod Buhner explores this second mode of perception in great detail through the…

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Merlin Sheldrake,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Entangled Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A “brilliant [and] entrancing” (The Guardian) journey into the hidden lives of fungi—the great connectors of the living world—and their astonishing and intimate roles in human life, with the power to heal our bodies, expand our minds, and help us address our most urgent environmental problems.

“Grand and dizzying in how thoroughly it recalibrates our understanding of the natural world.”—Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—Time, BBC Science Focus, The Daily Mail, Geographical, The Times, The Telegraph, New Statesman, London Evening Standard, Science Friday

When we think…

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

Why did I love 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. 

By Bayo Akomolafe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked These Wilds Beyond Our Fences as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tackling some of the world’s most profound questions through the intimate lens of fatherhood, Bayo Akomolafe embarks on a journey of discovery as he maps the contours of the spaces between himself and his three-year-old daughter, Alethea. In a narrative that manages to be both intricate and unguarded, he discovers that something as commonplace as becoming a father is a cosmic event of unprecedented proportions. Using this realization as a touchstone, he is led to consider the strangeness of his own soul, contemplate the myths and rituals of modernity, ask questions about food and justice, ponder what it means to…

Book cover of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Why did I love 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.

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

39 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…

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

Why did I love 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.  

By Sy Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Soul of an Octopus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Sy Montgomery's The Soul of an Octopus does for the creature what Helen Macdonald's H Is for Hawk did for raptors' New Statesman
'Charming and moving...with extraordinary scientific research' Guardian
'An engaging work of natural science... There is clearly something about the octopus's weird beauty that fires the imaginations of explorers, scientists, writers' Daily Mail

In 2011 Sy Montgomery wrote a feature for Orion magazine entitled 'Deep Intellect' about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death. It went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since…

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Interested in indigenous peoples, fungus, and Canada?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about indigenous peoples, fungus, and Canada.

Indigenous Peoples Explore 27 books about indigenous peoples
Fungus Explore 21 books about fungus
Canada Explore 338 books about Canada