Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Wild Within: My Theme for 2015


Until a couple of days ago, I wasn't going to choose a word for 2015. I'd given it some thought, and had come up with a few contenders, but none evoked a "yes" from deep in my soul.

But a couple of days ago, I was reading through some journal entries from this past fall, and came across my answers to some exercises from The Desire Map. In trying to identify one of my core desired feelings, I had described an image I had in my mind of a woman who was wild and free: a woman fiercely attuned to her own primal instincts and needs, aware of her own strength, and deeply and inextricably in relationship with the life-giving properties of her environment, tribe, and community.

If you've read Women Who Run With The Wolves, you might recognize this archetype. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes:
"Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species."
As you might have guessed already from the title of this blog, I have previously identified a connection with the concept of "wild." The Necessary Wild refers to quotes by both John Muir and Edward Abbey, both of whom wrote about wilderness as a necessity of the human spirit. Until recently, though, I thought of wilderness as being "out there," a force to engage with as often as possible--yet still somehow distinct from my own being.

In 2015, I want to honor the wild within: the natural, instinctive, intuitive, primordial, untamed pieces of myself that render us humans part of the natural world, not separate from it.

I'm still brainstorming ways this might manifest, but so far have identified some actions both simple and complex. 

Things like going barefoot when possible (a great way to reawaken lost neural pathways!). Ditching "exercise" for the inherent joys of functional movement (think: hiking, climbing, and scrambling up steep boulders versus treadmill-ing or elliptical-ing). Spending as much time outdoors as possible. An unreasonable amount even. And using travel opportunities to explore the local natural environment. Paying closer attention to my environment. Taking my earbuds out while trail running. Enjoying the whispers of the wind, the birdsong, and the gurgles of a creek for a change. Aligning my activities with the seasonal patterns of the earth (for example, circadian rhythms). Exploring and adding rituals to my everyday life. Allowing my intuition to guide my choices--without apology or explanation. Exploring and playing with the concepts of power and strength: where are they present in my life and where could they be present? Exploring and playing with concepts of tribe and community. And, at the same time, being fiercely selective about with whom and how I spend my time. Noticing when I tamp down, repress, silence, or otherwise tame any part of myself for others, and shifting. Creating space for others to do the same. Writing about my experiences as a way to document the journey.

Estes writes:
"Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down."
Here's to a wild 2015.