The Zone: Rediscovering Our Natural Self by Rob Wood

In The Zone: Rediscovering Our Natural Self, Rob Wood Wood offers alternatives to a mechanistic way of looking at the world, portraying a “ ‘holistic’ understanding of nature and humans’ part in it.” (p. 2) Though The Zone shares some of the features of a memoir, it’s not a strict chronology. Rather, the book is arranged into thematic chapters dealing with various aspects of being in what Wood refers to as “The Zone,” which he describes as “an elevated physical and emotional state, ” a natural high that “induces a profound sense of freedom, happiness and unity with something much larger than our individual selves.” (p. 3)

Some chapters deal with Rob’s experiences with the Zone through adventures in mountain climbing, ski-mountaineering, and sailing. Other chapters revolve around topics such as Taoism, energy fields, Haida culture, and wave and particle theory. Wood also reflects on how being in The Zone has helped him deal with Parkinson’s Disease, and how an effort to remain in tune with nature has informed his work as an architectural designer.

The Zone isn’t a thick book or a heavy read. However, it is packed with thought-provoking insights.”

The Zone is a timely read. Wood suggests that contemporary society, with its disconnect with nature and its emphasis on materialism, is in more need of the Zone than ever before. But the Zone isn’t just a place we can go to feel good. Being in the Zone can help us perceive “the natural, spontaneous flow of universal intelligence, which can teach us how to live more sustainably and be more alive, conscious and loving.” (p. 74) Wood argues that humanity’s future may depend on our ability to connect with and respect the cycle of life, and our commitment to stewardship of our planet. He quotes a First Nations elder who stated, “If we destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves.” (p. 37)

The Zone is a book that might be of interest to anyone who has struggled with contemporary society’s lack of connection with nature, or who seeks affirmation of the importance of seeking harmony and balance with the natural world. By sharing his own experiences, Wood offers hints about how to seek the Zone for ourselves. He also mentions other books, like The Tao of Physics and The Quantum Self, that offer deeper dives into some of the aspects discussed.

Weighing in at around 100 pages, The Zone isn’t a thick book or a heavy read. However, it is packed with thought-provoking insights. Wood has not shied away from baring his soul. We read not just about triumph, but disaster as well. This honesty gives the book depth and authenticity.

Wood concludes The Zone by noting that the Coronavirus pandemic was a watershed moment that temporarily changed how we do things. As we move back into more “normal” lives, we have a choice about whether to continue with the mechanistic view and return to old patterns, or whether to try to tune in more closely to nature. The future of human society, and our planet, may depend on that choice.

Rob Wood has been a professional architect, pioneering mountaineer, organizer of ocean-to-alpine expeditions, instructor of wilderness self-reliance at Strathcona Park Lodge, and a founding member of the Friends of Strathcona Park, a protest group that helped stop logging and mining in the park. He is also the author of At Home in Nature: A Life of Unknown Mountains and Deep Wilderness. Rob and his wife, Laurie, still live on Maurelle Island, British Columbia.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ RMB | Rocky Mountain Books (March 29 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 112 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1771605251
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1771605250

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Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. Her writing has appeared in New Myths, Star*Line, The Future Fire, Triangulation: Habitats, and other venues. Lisa’s speculative haibun collection, In Days to Come, is available from Hiraeth Publishing. You can find out more about Lisa’s writing at