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About change WILD!

‘Future belongs to the nature smart.’ – Richard Louv

People are created for living closely connected to nature. change WILD! supports you in consciously establishing a connection with the natural sources of life. Because connection with nature allows your vitality, skills and creativity to grow, and to fully unfold your personality. And it enables you to meet the challenges of an increasingly unpredictable world in an actually nature smart way.

The human species has emerged from the web of life on planet Earth. It is therefore in our very nature to be closely connected to the living world. But obviously this lifeline has been drastically disrupted in today’s world. We often fail to feel our own selves, we feel alienated from people who are actually close to us, we hardly feel part of society, and other life forms hardly matter in our lives. All this has become so normal that we no longer notice the lack of touch with life. Nor do we realise the destructive power of this alienation: for us personally, in our circle of family and friends, at work and in our civic institutions, as well as for the biosphere of planet Earth. Our alienated lifestyles have led us and the world into an existential crisis. The good news is:

We can change …

… and overcome the crises we have caused. The means are there.


What change WILD! stands for

change WILD! aims to facilitate such transformational processes – both large and small. It is about helping us to leave behind the outdated structures, attitudes and behaviours that are ingrained in us. Instead, change WILD! is here to unleash all our creativity, adaptability and leadership skills we need to change. It’s about rediscovering our wild strength and realising our full potential as human beings. So that we can face the challenges ahead with confidence, responsibility and a free mind. We owe this to ourselves, as well as to the world we come from and live in.

Revitalising the bond between people and the living world plays a key role in this. For change WILD!, this is both an overall societal goal and the lever of choice for facilitating personal transformation.


How change WILD! works

To be touched by the living world and, in turn, to reach out to the world is not only the goal. It is also a way to reach the goal.

A genuine encounter with the world’s various dimensions is at the heart of the work of all my teachers. They all invite us to:

  • connect with nature, self and community (Young),
  • find one’s true nature by exploring outer and inner nature (Milton),
  • encounter Soul and fill one’s ecological niche (Plotkin),
  • connect with the deepest source (Scharmer),
  • get in resonance with the world (Rosa),
  • appreciate the intrinsic value of nature and people (Fårlund).

All of these key statements highlight the profound effect that vibrant relationships with our environment have on us. This is exactly what the change WILD! method is based on.

To develop these “natural connections“, we need three things in particular:

  • diverse experiences of nature,
  • attentive mentors and
  • a motivating community.

change WILD! combines these three factors to provide you with the ideal conditions for revitalising your natural relationships.

Whether you come to change WILD! for personal development or a vision quest, for a nature retreat or a group outdoor experience in the Norwegian wilderness: All our offers have these three things in common:

  • All courses and tours take place in selected wilderness areas. We leave behind the daily grind and immerse into free nature all day and night. There is no better way to experience the living world up close.
  • As a course leader and mentor I guide and facilitate groups attentively and with a humanistic attitude. We provide a safe space where all group members are welcome to take part. Cultural routines and targeted interventions on my part help to stimulate and support development processes both in the group as a whole and in individual members.
  • You can be fully yourself in the group community and with me. You decide to which extent you want to contribute yourself and your issues or respond to others. Either way, you will be listened to and inspired by the reflections and contributions of your peers.

In this ideal setting, you can awaken the skills that lie dormant within you. You can try them out in this safe environment, be it in the group or on your own. You can build trust and connection to nature, to the community and to yourself. As if you were pulling threads out from yourself into the world around you, weaving them into strings, cords and finally strong ropes. A strong network that supports you and to which you actively contribute.


The ‘songline’ of change WILD!

In over twenty years of leading and facilitating groups outdoors, I have gradually tested, distilled and interwoven the methods used in the work of change WILD!

These methods are highly inspired and infused by selected sources. Together they form the background of my work and the ‘songline’ of change WILD!

  • Jon Young, ecologist and cultural anthropologist, is my longest-standing mentor. He was the first to show me the importance of connecting with nature and how to pass it on to others. His multi-layered model of natural cycles is an important tool for me to understand and shape development processes. As the first student of Tom Brown Jr, he follows in the tradition of the Lipan-Apache Stalking Wolf, who since the late 19th century has been integrating practices and teachings from multiple indigenous cultures in North and South America. Jon continues this kind of work on a global scale. The Akamba by way of Ingwe, Jake Swamp from the Mohawk, Gilbert Walking Bull from the Lakota, Xamana from the San nation and many more are among the sources of primal indigenous wisdom that he has collected and woven together in his decades of work focusing on what he calls nature connection. More info:
  • John P. Milton, ecologist, pioneering conservationist and high-ranking political advisor in his younger years. At an early age he was introduced to the power of Vision Quest, originally an indigenous rite of passage to find one’s purpose. Over the course of his long life, he brought it to the Western world through his organisation, ‘Way of Nature’. He is also trained in the spiritual practices of Eastern traditions. For me, he is a bridge between the ancient cultures of the East and the West and the modern age. He showed me the ways and means of finding one’s true self through a profound search of both the outer nature and one’s inner life. More info:
  • Bill Plotkin, psychologist and wilderness guide. He has gone the other way: Using modern approaches, he has developed an independent model of developmental psychology that comes surprisingly close to indigenous views. His ‘map of the inner wilderness’, which shows the way through the canyon of Soul, is an important guideline for me to facilitate people in their quest for purpose. He focuses on finding our purpose in life (our soul or individual eco niche), which leads us out of self-centredness and into relating to the world. Recognising the connection between microscopic and macroscopic transformation has been the determining factor in redirecting the focus of my work today. More info:
  • Joanna Macy has been a leading figure in the environmental and civil rights movements since they began. She recognised early on that the crises of modernity would not be resolved on the level of facts alone, but that their resolution depended on our active relationship with the world. ‘The Work that Reconnects’ is therefore about overcoming our paralysis in the face of the countless catastrophes, and drawing new strength for action from the grief of loss. By bridging the gap between felt powerlessness and potential (self-)efficacy, this work is key to the success of transformation processes. Hus, it has become an integral part of my repertoire. More info:
  • Hartmut Rosa, sociologist in the tradition of the Frankfurt School, who developed its ‘Critical Theory’ to a new stage. He bases his critique of modernity on the concept of resonance as a measure of our relationship to the world, which he contrasts with alienation. Rosa’s sober and dialectically trained view is an important corrective for me and a safeguard against any kind of idealisation. In his thinking it becomes clear how important rejection and contradiction are for our development, so that we can overcome them and continue our journey. More info:
  • Otto Scharmer, economist and founder of ‘Theory U’. Following Einstein’s statement that ‘we cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that caused it’, his model is about moderating transformation processes. Scharmer has given me a new understanding of the time flow, and that we can flip around our perspective on it: Filling the void of the present from the future, rather than from the past, has become an effective way for me to lead transformation processes to success. More info:
  • Nils Fårlund, professor of friluftsliv, founder of the Norwegian High Mountain School and mountaineering partner of the Norwegian philosopher and co-founder of deep ecology, Arne Næss. Nils has taught me many things: how to live in the Nordic nature, how to discuss philosophy over a camp fire and, last but not least, how to integrate our mindsets into our daily lives. More info:

I am grateful to these people, their forerunners and pioneers, for preserving, increasing and passing on their knowledge. I am deeply grateful to have received this knowledge and wisdom so that I can use it and pass it on myself through change WILD! and my work.

Thoralf Rumswinkel

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Thoralf Rumswinkel


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