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Reclaiming What’s Been Lost – Looking to Ancestral Wisdom
It’s no wonder so many of us feel lost in the modern world – we’ve lost many of the pieces of what it means to be a human being as we’ve modernized. We can look to the ways of the humans who came before us to infuse more meaning in our lives.
If you’re anything like me, the excitement of becoming an adult quickly passed as the possibilities you thought lay ahead slipped away and were replaced with practicalities and responsibilities. Likely, you found yourself curious about this way of life the masses were living, going to their jobs, being carried through their schedule behind the wheel of their car, being carried away by life.
Carried away. Letting the hours and the days pass, a habitual being checking the boxes, swept up in mundane tasks, modern duties devoid of meaning, but you never slow down enough to ask, because the wave of responsibility keeps coming.
Watching as people go about their days, fully immersed in it yourself, you can feel the hope of your dreams slipping away, and yet, you know, this can’t be it. There has to be another way. There has to be more to life.
Dreaming of running away, of escaping to another life, another world, maybe even another era. Such is life for those of us who seek meaning that’s greater than this modern way of living has to offer. We keep dreaming. Dreaming of the great escape.
The great escape. A vision where anything is possible, free from the one who’s responsible, dipping into our central well, letting our creations swell, each step taken with wild intention, moving into a life of our invention.
Certainly, there are great things about living in modernity. We don’t have many of the same fears for our life as before, though we have new ways that our life may be taken. Our freedom isn’t quite as restricted and yet we’ve lost freedoms in new ways. Technology has allowed us to expand the ways in which we work, albeit also gripped by the hands of hustle. It’s allowed us to reach further and connect with others, albeit false or shallow connections at times. We have more variety and consistency of food, and yet that food isn’t the same as the food we provide for ourselves. We have access to a variety of goods, but we go to work for others to produce these goods. We have access to healthcare and modern medicine, and yeah, well, I won’t get into all of that…
As we have gained some benefits through industrialization, modernization, and commercialization, these gains have come with trade-offs. Trade-offs to ourselves, our health, our connection, and to the earth.
We’ve lost the ways of thousands of years of humans who came before us, wisdom and traditions that have been lost in our modern days, wisdom that holds the keys to the connection we’re missing – to it all. Ourselves, others, the earth, and beyond.
The ones who came before. The ones with primal instincts and deep connection. The ways that came before. The ways of living and being that offer deeper meaning.
For thousands of years, humans had a way of life, a way of being, most of which have been replaced by modern ways. Yet this has only occurred in recent years – hundreds, maybe, versus the ways humans have lived for thousands of years before. We’re living in experimental times. Really, is being human not but one big life experiment? Yet the impact our modern ways are having on our well-being is being illuminated.
In losing these traditions and ways of being that humans possessed for thousands of years, we have also lost meaning in our lives – what it means to be a human being. We tried to make meaning and purpose fit into this modern world by seeking it in a job or a career. I think many of us have become disillusioned by this idea and are looking to find meaning in other ways.
A key part of reclaiming meaning in this modern world is by reclaiming the ways of the humans who came before us, the traditions of our ancestors, a way of honoring the land as those who inhabited it before we did.
Before we tried to find meaning in a job, a career, working for others, working for a corporation, we found meaning in creating for ourselves.
Before we were fed by others, by companies and corporations, by chains and fast food restaurants, we hunted and gathered and later raised and grew our own food, foods that came from the earth instead of a box.
Before we had authorities, religions, and governments telling us who to be through definitions of what was good and what was bad, we simply had ourselves, our sovereignty.
Before we found connection through gossip or on a social media app on our phone, we found connection in ritual, storytelling, communal living, living by the seasons, feet rooted on this earth.
Rooted on this earth. Remembering that from the land we came, from the earth we receive nourishment, to the wilds we go to feel sane, for we cannot remain separate from the land of replenishment.
We don’t just lose these ways of being human because we live in a modern, civilized society. These are foundational to what it means to be human. We have spent far more years living this way than without. And in these times, we’ve lost them. No wonder we feel lost ourselves. We have literal human needs that are unfulfilled. Needs that run deep in our bones. A knowing of what came before.
We’ve lost it. The connection to ourselves, to our bodies, to our sovereignty. To the ways of being a human. To pure, primal, animal embodiment.
No wonder we feel lost ourselves. To detach from the sovereignty of our bodies is to detach from ourselves.
This knowing we carry within is why humans have a natural connection to tradition, to history, to vintage and antique items. The stories they carry spark a remembrance in our bodies, and it calls us back home.
Our bodies remember. If we move too fast, we’ll miss it. If we can slow down the wave of responsibility, we can let the inner light be lit. Pulling up the inner stories within, we can remember what has been, so our human nature can be enlivened.
In order to find the meaning we’ve been seeking, we must reconnect to who we are beneath civilized expectations, express ourselves and our voice, reconnect with making and creativity for our own pure pleasure, become more self-sufficient, and invite in more ancestral traditions and primal ways of living. We can look to the old ways to infuse more meaning in our lives.
By remembering the ways of human beings who came before us, we can come back into our animal bodies, to deepen our connection to ourselves, to nature, to the ways of being a human. In a world that looks to modern ways of healing, there’s a great deal of healing to be found in the ways humans have practiced for far longer.
Far longer. Far longer have humans roamed the earth by foot than by car. Far longer have humans worked with their hands than behind a screen. Far longer have we relied on ourselves, on our bodies than on modern-day conveniences.
Our animal body. From that, we’ve become detached. Seeking out healing in our mind, while our primal nature we continue to bind. Unshackle your inner wild one, and let your uncivilized ancestral ways lead you to healing and meaning.
There are things about modernity that are beautiful and beneficial. Still, we don’t need to sacrifice all of the old ways of living and being as human beings in order to have modern-day convenience. We can look to the ways of the humans who came before in order to find the meaning that’s lacking in our modern world and find which ones feel healing for us. Putting back together the pieces within ourselves that have been lost to modernity.
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