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The Wilderness Within: Intentions for the New Year

The ritual of reflection on New Year's Eve and intention setting for the new year is one of my most beloved rituals. I have a notebook wrapped in soft-to-the-touch, leaf-press cotton paper that I dedicate for this and now can look back over almost two decades to see the arc of my life and all of the hope for the future scattered across the pages.

With this kind of record keeping, one of the richest surprises has been seeing patterns emerge, tied to the internal and external weather from year to year, the geographic locations I’ve lived, and how I spent my time creatively, professionally, and relationally.

What a wonderful backdrop to set intentions for the new year. . .on the foundation of everything that has come before. I highly recommend!

One of the most pressing contemplations for this year was how to continue to expand my commitment to reWilding when my surrounding environment is decidedly less wild after having moved from the Rocky Mountains back to the cultivated fields of the Midwest where I’m from. Hiking through the evergreen forest, listening to the sound of the wind in the tree tops and stepping on sun beams filtered through tree boughs at sunset had become an essential daily ritual that I no longer have access to out my back door.

As I continue to settle into the new, yet familiar landscape, I have already stumbled across a few hidden gems for wild outdoor retreats, however more importantly, I have been inspired to devote 2021 to the wilderness within, connecting to the wild world internally and consciously this year through observation, intentional study, mindful awareness practices, and writing.

This exquisite piece of nature art titled “Be Wild” by SisterGolden is a perfect portrait of this very thing!

This will likely take many forms as the year evolves, but for now, I’ve begun with these simple intentions and practices that I offer to you. May they be useful in creating your own reWilding manifesto for 2021.

  1. Cultivate heart coherence repeatedly throughout the day (learn more here) to open the channel to self-love, compassion, and intuitive guidance - devoting this year to all that I love. “You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” - Mary Oliver

  2. Creating a nature-infused home office now that working from home is the new normal. Complete with found natural objects & nature totems, nature art, and living flora to stay connected to the energetic qualities of the wild while indoors.

  3. The first three reWilding books I’m reading this year: All We Can Save; Braiding Sweetgrass; Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature

  4. Nature Journaling! What a wonderful way to cultivate nature awareness by capturing it in detail, one sketched leaf and watercolor feather at a time. Here is a link to an online course I purchased to get started brought to you by the mamas over at Wild+Free!

There are literally hundreds of ways to reWild . . . you are welcome to walk with me awhile while you find your own way.

Sarah Blondin, a soul-sister and creator of the podcast Live Awake, is a widely followed meditation teacher on InsightTimer. Her library of guided mediations are a healing balm for anyone who has lost their way and needs a loving and wise voice to lead them back home to themselves and their humanity.

Her work often centers around nature and self-love, but also touches on many of our common challenges: depression, anxiety, anger, grief, dealing with change, loss of personal power, fear, freedom. She is a fellow Scorpio whose acute genius shines when diving deep into the pain of an experience to find the gift and the compassion needed to transform it.

I heart her to the moon and back. Here is one of my favorite passages from her work:

“A major part of the learning is to smile in the storm, in the stretching thin, for eventually, something of great value will be given to our soul. This is the place where depth grows. Where the root is established. Where the tree of your life grows more rings with age and wisdom; where you are challenged to grow through hard weather. Where we either grow into a wise, ancient tree, or stay a seedling.” From ‘When We Must Endure’.

We have all been initiated this past year to grow into wise, ancient trees.

Which leads me to this parting thought…I have typed the words ‘Happy New Year’ a few times this week in emails and text messages, and each time these very ordinary three words, repeated every year for my whole life, cause me to feel a ping of grief mixed with resistance for the first time.

Collectively, we may need a new salutation for this historic beginning that resonates more with the energetic quality of all that is happening, both internally and in the collective, after an end to a historic year.

We have no idea what is coming for us in 2021, but we have all endured enough challenging weather in 2020 to tower over our inner landscape like giant, magnificent Redwoods.

And the secret of the forest?

Trees are not solitary beings as once thought. They live in loving community with one another, they constantly communicate through the air and underground, they shelter each other from inhospitable weather as they grow, they share nutrients through their root systems with those who need it, and they protect each other from danger.

A grove of trees are a resilient, interconnected, web of life designed to serve the greater good.

And so are we.

Have a WILD & RESILIENT New Year Dear Ones! Here’s to 2021.

P.S. I would love to hear how you're reWilding this year! Send me a note. ❤️

See You in the Wild,


Angela Juhl, MS, CHWC, CYT

Master of Science in Human Nutrition & Functional Medicine

Wellcoaches™ Certified Health and Wellness Coach

Wild Woman Project Circle Leader

Certified Yoga Teacher

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