Relearning to Recognize Life, Vitality, and Wholeness

I leave it to you to recognize this within yourself, but for many of us, we have lost the reliable ability to see Life.

In discourse concerning the recent victims of civilization’s march, such as First Nations and Native north Americans, you’ll hear a phrase that describes a particular state-of-being that really embodies what it means to live and work in modern civilization.

Internal Colonization.

For those who can look at the ruins of their indigenous culture, at photos of magnificent grandparents and great grandparents, or if fortunate enough they see their culture still struggling to renew itself even today – for these people they surely must feel this “internal colonization” keenly.

For others, like myself, much of our rewilding journey runs through the territory of the sleeping grief-giant of our own stolen, hidden indigineity. How do you miss something that you never knew you had? When spiritual enslavement, when colonization, both external towards one’s “enemies”, and internal towards oneself, has continued through so many countless generation of ancestry, that even as you squint and peer back, you can summon no more than a vague and unpleasant sense of animal skin clothing, knapped stone tools, huddling around campfires. Each one of these a “thing”, an artifact viewed through prejudice, not a people, not the dreams they dreamt, the stories they told, or their fierce, shining, diverse beauty.

For those of us with no clear trail back to ancestral memory, we too must make the difficult journey of the “internally colonized” towards “decolonization”. But for us, we go blindfolded, groping in the dark.

On top of that, we bear the suffocating burden of a legion of clutching, rapacious, ancestral ghosts, like spectral monkeys on our back, the tsars, caesars, kaisers, and kings, the pharaohs and emperors, the slave masters and salesmen of empire and civilization.

With these slathering imperial ghost-voices echoing in our ears, as we grasp after indigenous art and people, for the sake of reconnecting to our own indigeneity, and our own rewilding, we destroy what we seek to love; we appropriate what we seek to celebrate; we condemn that which we seek to honor.

We attempt to destroy the emperor in ourselves and others, by imperial decree. We judge the judge, and execute the executioner. Through this hapless trap, this catch-22, we further buttress our own sociopathic urge towards destruction of all wildness.

We must admit to this fundamental problem before we can move forward. We must admit defeat. We must surrender our crown, scepter, and orb.

To learn once again, as our rewilding ancestors knew well, how to recognize Life.

Written by Willem