The Wisdom of Wildness: Healing the Trauma of Domestication

The Wisdom of Wildness: Healing the Trauma of Domestication

by Ren Hurst
The Wisdom of Wildness: Healing the Trauma of Domestication

The Wisdom of Wildness: Healing the Trauma of Domestication

by Ren Hurst


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A guide to rewilding your heart, so you can undomesticate your life

• Explores 13 principles of unconditional love for addressing the trauma of domestication, healing relationships, and restoring deep connection to the inner guidance of your wild soul

• Explains the nature of trauma from the perspective of emotional development

• Provides experiential practices for the cultivation of authentic relationships that are free of exploitation and codependency

HOW CAN WE RECLAIM our wild soul and approach life with authenticity and emotional maturity? Looking deeply into the nature of domestication and humanity’s relationship to other animals, Ren Hurst finds our own domestication—and our resultant disconnection from nature—to be the root trauma for much of the human experience, which we seem to perpetuate by domesticating others. Ren offers another path: she reverse-engineered the conditioning process that leads to domestication and discovered a practical road map for deprogramming and undomesticating yourself in order to heal, restore connection, and reclaim the innate wisdom of wildness within.

Sharing enlightening moments from her journey with a half-wild husky, Denali, The Wisdom of Wildness shows how only when emotional awareness and authentic leadership link in with your own wild parts can an authentic relationship between human and animal—or between oneself and another person—be possible.

In her transformative body of work, Sanctuary13, Ren unveils 13 principles of unconditional love for deprogramming yourself, healing the trauma of domestication, and reviving deep connection to inner guidance, your wild soul, and, ultimately, freedom. Experiential practices help you cultivate authentic, undomesticated relationships free of exploitation and codependency, whether with human or animal companions. Instinct, intuition, and inspiration are just waiting to be reclaimed on this paradigm-shifting path toward healing and true soul connection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781644116791
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 01/17/2023
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Ren Hurst is an author, mentor, tracker, and guide helping people address the trauma of domestication. After 20 years of being a professional horsewoman, Ren produced a body of work called Sanctuary13 to help people restore connection to their most authentic, wild human animal nature. Ren lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 10

Rewild Your Heart

The balance maintained by the wild has become critically compromised by humanity’s denial of our interconnected truth. The only force that can restore this balance lives purely only in that which remains wild. A better word for that force is love, but it has absolutely nothing to do with romance or the warm, fuzzy feelings of affection. The truest form of love is interchangeable with words like presence, wild, and even God. Love is a container for expansion that cannot be defined by any lesser part of itself but requires seeing the bigger picture.

The interconnectedness of the wild is ever present in each of us. All that keeps one from accessing it are the various layers of conditioning resulting from our own domestication. No concept in our lives seems to have become more domesticated than love. The love most of us know and crave is easy to package and sell; therefore, it isn’t hard to understand how we have lost sight of love’s true meaning. Heartbreak is one of the most painful experiences most humans will ever face, so selling the idea that it can be cured through the affection and admiration of another is a lucrative endeavor.

What those that would sell us such false ideas didn’t count on, though, was the truth. Wild hearts cannot be broken. When there is nothing to run away from, it’s harder to sell false ideas of well-being, and wild beings are harder to control than those who have been taught to believe they are less than whole.

In this chapter, I’m going to help you begin to rewild your heart by sharing what undomesticated animals have taught me about the true nature of love. If you look up the definition of love in the English dictionary, it’s pretty vague and tends to center around affection, pleasure, and attachment. For the purposes of this work, this book, and what I highly recommend for your life, don’t trust the dictionary to define love for you. There is great suffering to be found on the other side of that version of love, and real love is defined through the experience of it, where all emotion is welcome as subtle, graceful guidance in discernment, once we mature.

While all of the feelings mentioned above can arise from love, they are only tiny parts of a much vaster whole. True, authentic love is not a feeling or an emotion. Love is an interconnected state of being that feelings and emotions, not just the positive ones, move through. It is pure presence—the fully embodied, present awareness that all beings originate from and the thing that connects us all together still. “I love you” translates into “I am present with you.” Love is the one, absolute truth—what remains when all story falls away. True love is always irrevocably wild, and the only thing keeping us from living in it is our trauma. We are naturally present to love, just like wild animals, once trauma is addressed and energy can flow freely again.

We cannot experience wholeness or connection through exploitation. Surface level needs that make us feel whole and connected can certainly get met through the use of others, but those feelings are fleeting and only last as long as we have access to whatever external source they are derived from. In an authentic state of love, we can feel and experience ourselves as the essence that is primary to our individual physical, mental, and emotional lives. Animals that are free of domestication, both nonhuman and otherwise, operate first and foremost from this state and only secondarily as individuals. They relate to one another not first as human, horse, bear, or dog, but as the underlying energy operating those various physical forms. The information that comes through this primary connection is what establishes and maintains harmony and balance among all life on the planet. This is the wisdom of love, and of the wild. This is love.

The first time I experienced true love as a constant was with a horse. It was messy, ugly, and painful. It was also the most intimate experience of my life until that moment, and it changed my course forever. I had been practicing what I thought to be a new relationship-based training method with my stallion Shai—except it wasn’t training and it wasn’t a method. Without knowing it, what I was practicing was unconditional love in action. By removing all ways of controlling who he was or chose to be, I was left in the discomfort of my own vulnerability with no way of hiding my deepest feelings. Left with no other option, I surrendered to what was happening within.

Experiencing those feelings in a totally embodied way, without a story and without projection, brought us together as one. He literally moved in harmony with what I was experiencing inside myself, and because I had not abused my power over him as his guardian or conditioned him to be subordinate to me in any way, there was no doubt about the authenticity of what had taken place. Shai was a horse that would not hesitate to hurt me if I showed up as anything less than love. When I met him in complete presence, it was like having a conversation in a language neither of us needed to learn. My mind could try to make sense of it after, but while it was happening, my mind wasn’t even involved. This was only the beginning of a story shared fully in my first book, Riding on the Power of Others: A Horsewoman’s Path to Unconditional Love.

After Shai helped me find my way back to love, I was very hungry to learn and understand more. I took a serious interest in the state that I very naturally surrendered into when I would spend time with the horses in an unconditional, agenda-less way. I felt completely safe and at ease with the horses, so there was nothing keeping me from feeling whatever came up inside my body. Never had I allowed such raw emotion to move through me, and at that time in my life, I probably felt safer with the horses than I felt with myself or anyone else.

I began to realize just what it was costing animals to live in domesticated states for human use. I realized how domesticated most of us humans had become as well. To experience the fullness of this deeper understanding of love on the other side of the many highs I had previously thought love to be was devastating, to say the least. To this day, I’m not sure there is anything more painful than realizing the love you gave someone you cared for deeply was more about you than them, and even less about love. Real love is unconditional and always present. Real love is never motivated by what you hope to gain through offering it to another.
It took a few more years, but with love’s deeper wisdom guiding me, I finally realized why many adult humans and domesticated animals suffer so greatly from the emotional wounds of childhood or other trauma. The love most of us were raised on is hardly the unconditional, present, interconnected love of the wild.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Sarah Byrden



1 Original Sin

2 The Wisdom of the Wild

3 Goddess of Death

4 The Root of Separation

5 Instinct

6 The Guardian Contract

7 Intuition

8 The Hidden Cost of Domestication


9 Inspiration

10 Rewild Your Heart

11 Initiation

12 Undomesticate Your Life

13 Incubation

14 Sanctuary13
First, Do No Harm
Control Only What Is Yours to Control
Expect Nothing
Love Is Not a Transaction
Speak Only with Reverence
Always Create a Space of Invitation
Honor Every No
Your Boundaries Are Your Responsibility
Everyone Is Always Right
Be Willing to Meet Your Own Needs
Remember to Play
Drop the Story
Feel It All

15 Incursion

16 Restoring the Connection



18 Reclamation

19 Infinite

20 The Wild Unknown

Afterword by Jaye Marolla

About the Author
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