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Reclaiming the Wild Soul – Mary Reynolds Thompson

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Reclaiming the Wild Soul - Mary Reynolds Thompson

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“Who would you be if you were free?”

This is one of the questions Mary Reynolds Thompson asks in her book. And it stuck with me. Actually, a lot in her book stuck with me, which is why my copy looks the way it does: filled with page markers and sticky notes.

I was introduced to Reclaiming the Wild Soul by one of my fellow Shinrin-Yoku walkers, Carole Peccorini (you can read her soulful blog here), in occasion of our first forest bathing experience last February. I am really grateful to Carole for mentioning this book. Not only is it beautifully written, but it resonates with me in a profound way.

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Reclaiming-the-Wild-Soul

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Laced with captivating personal stories, the book leads us on a journey through Earth’s five great landscapes as metaphor for aspects of our inner soulscapes, the wild part that we are yearning to recapture, even when we don’t know we are. It invites us to “awaken to the ancient Earth-consciousness that resides within you – within us all – that you can access at any time, in any place, even in the midst of the busiest city.”

The journey begins in the silence of the Desert, which, with her zen-like emptiness and apparent lack of life, strips us bare of all non essentials, forcing us to look at who we truly are at our core, and begin again from there.

“In the desert we see that a dream can lead to truth, while a supposed truth, once uncovered, may turn to dust.”

We then enter the mysterious Forest, who gifts us with both challenges and wisdom, helping us face our shadows and find our roots.

“In the forest… with the future and past hidden from sight, we stand in a present moment pulsating with possibilities. We learn to live the questions rather than rush the answers…. We are less certain. But we are more alive. We awaken to something deeper.” 

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My-copy-of-Reclaiming-the-Wild-Soul

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The flow of the Ocean and the Rivers follows, and it helps us accept our natural rhythms, the ebbing and flowing of our lives. The waters encourage us to explore our depths, and stimulate our creative self expression and the acknowledgment of our desires.

“We experience this souls cape as being in love – with life, work, spirit, another person. We are in the creative flow, full of juice and joy.” 

The solid majesty of the Mountains test our edges and our strength, gifting us with a balance of humility and power, as well as expanded vision.

“Busyness has become one of the commandments of modernity. Being constantly productive earns us the world’s appreciation, even if our lives feel as if they are tumbling downslope.” 

Then we enter the Grasslands, where we integrate the knowledge and experience gained through our adventures and explorations, sharing them with our tribe.

“The grasslands challenge us to find balance between living as authentic, unique beings and as part of a community…… We may idolize the rugged loner, particularly in American culture, but our souls crave connection.”

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Reclaiming-the-Wild-Soul

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The book is divided into five parts for the five landscapes, and each part is divided into six or seven short chapters. At the end of each chapter the author offers a related Exploration that invites the reader to journey further.

I savored the book slowly, and it was the perfect companion to my recent Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing) experiences. As you can see from all the sticky notes, I found a lot of inspiration. I know I will be re-reading this book a few more times, going through the suggested explorations again and again, as each time new insights transpire, another layer is relinquished, and another level of freedom is achieved.

Nature is longing to heal us, if only we open up and let her.

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Tyler and the book Reclaiming the Wild Soul

Tyler, one of my two little wild beasts, with my copy of the book.

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Mary Reynolds Thompson has explored the wild extensively and been on many adventures. She lives here in Marin County and, besides being a talented writer and published author, is also “a facilitator of poetry and journal therapy and life coach dedicated to bringing forth the Wild Soul Story.”

You can find out more about her and upcoming events she is participating in through her website at www.MaryReynoldsThompson.com.

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