Wild Wellbeing is a collection of short essays (300 to 1000 words) I occasionally publish to this special email list.
Each essay explores how nature can heal your life, as it did mine.
‘Hey, Robin, what authority do you have to write and teach this subject? Last I checked, you were teaching foraging. What gives?’
It’s a perfectly legit question and one that I have struggled with for a couple of years. Am I really qualified? The self doubt would set in.
After all, talking about my journey into the addicts’ underworld, and back out again, isn’t something that comes with a certificate of approval from an esteemed mental health institution.
So I spent time with ecotherapists. I talked through this culture’s obsession with ‘paper authorities’.
It’s why I love the Recovery Rooms.
Those places broken humans meet to help each other. No experts. Just full-throttle life experience. No paperwork is required.
For over twenty years, I was a drug and alcohol addict. Excelling at addiction, I went the usual route and lost everything.
My wife divorced me. My daughter refused to see me.
Finally, close friends gave up and asked me not to visit them.
Eventually, I lost my house, my business and all my money.
I was homeless, broken and broke.
So I did what I had done as a child when I was hurting. I sought sanctuary in wild places.
The more-than-human world I could trust. Humans were a very different kettle of fish.
Alone, isolated and lost — by some strange turn of events I found myself in a Buddhist recovery community in Thailand.
Decades earlier, at the age of 26, I had trained to be a priest in the liberal Catholic Church. My Bishop was a profound mystic, and we studied the old medieval contemplatives like Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and other Rhineland mystics.
I never completed my priestly training. As much as I loved my Bishop and Church friends, I found the institution stifling and woke up one day to find I had lost my faith. So I left the Church and never returned.
I had become a heathen.
Wild Wellbeing (as I teach it) incorporates many of the nature connection, body-focused sensory practices I have used for over thirty years—both in and out of addiction to keep me steady.
Even when I was high as a kite, these practices helped me through some of my darkest times.
I use them daily as part of my self-care routine.
For me, self-care practices need to be easy to do.
They can’t take very long, and more importantly, they need to be gentle and effective.
Finally, they need to support me in being kind to myself.
So that’s what I will be sharing with you. I hope you find them helpful.