A healthy woman is much like a wolf, strong life force, life-giving, territorily aware, intuitive and loyal. Yet separation from her wildish nature causes a woman to become meager, anxious, and fearful. The wild nature carries the medicine for all things • Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women who run with wolves
We are all wild. Deep in our psyche, embedded in our genetic makeup, swirling with abandon in our souls, the wildness is there in all of us. We were born to be carefree, vigorous, thriving and strong people, fertile with creativity, physicality, sexuality . Our natural urges and desires to rest, work, mate, play and eat and create, were born expect to be met, and to find satisfaction. We were born to be in connection, to nature, to each other, to ourselves.
Wild: free, unfettered, feral, ‘uncivilised’ distracted, crazy, undomestictaed, ‘of unrestrained violence’ . Some of these are my definitions, some are from the dictionary, my favourite, ‘living in a state of nature’
See, these words have developed connotations. Depending on your social circle, describing someone as wild is not necessarily complimentary. Out of control, following her instincts, unrestrained by society’s conventions and boundaries, unsafe, fear inducing the wild eye in the night, the crazy women might come and eat you, the wild unknown figure ravening tooth and claw, insatiable appetite all consuming force of nature , a law unto himself…OUT OF CONTROL.
Hands up who likes to be in control? Hands up who likes to be controlled? Who feels out of control..is that ‘good’ or ‘bad?
And out of whose control…ours or other people’s/society’s rules and expectations?
But I’m not talking about charging through red traffic lights and causing accidents, or throwing crockery around when we get mad at the kids …..or standing in the middle of the grocery shop and screaming…although I’ve often felt like it and really it would be good to express emotions where and whenever they come up. What would happen if I did..would I be led out by security and sedated, or would someone give me a hug and a cup of tea? Or would I be ignored? the silent English tacit understanding that we don’t do that and feel really quite uncomfortable if anyone else does.I wish I had the courage to try it.
What would it be like to scream when I need to, to hug cry laugh dance sing shout run and jump WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT? I’m probably a very repressed Anglo Saxon, but I know how hard I would find it to just follow any spontaneous inclination that came to me. But I do know how my body feels when I repress an emotion or desire, the strangled swelling of my throat when I swallow unbidden tears in ‘innappropriate’ places, the constriction in my gut when I don’t say what I feel, the ache in my hips and lower back when I am uncomfortable in a situation and don’t let myself move my body and let the tension out.
If it feels bad, its not right. Its not natural to repress feelings, needs and desires. I do feel under pressure to do so, and I guess its a journey to tread ever closer to an equilibrium which feels comfortable.
I started this post intending to talk about my longing to be close to the land, but I got side tracked! But actually its not a distraction at all. Getting close to nature, living in it, dropping to my knees in the damp undergrowth, inhaling the aliveness, mossy mystery and fragrant earthy fertility of the land, that’s wildness. Its a pathway to wildness. Its a way I can feel more alive, more in tune with myself, a calling back to my true deep wild self, hidden under all those layers of expectation, convention, compromises, all that domesticity. I’ve been thoroughly domesticated , removed from the forest floor and put in a house and told to flush the toilet and shave my armpits and don’t trust anyone else, and above all WORRY ABOUT WHAT THE NEIGHBOURS THINK.
A fox doesn’t check its watch to see if its dinnertime when it catches the scent of a toothsome vole; a night jar doesn’t fret about disturbing the neighbours when it fills the dusk with its sweetness, a primrose doesn’t hold back for March the 12th when it’s ready to bloom, and a rabbit doesn’t wait until the kids are in bed and not watching. Well, it doesn’t.
“The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estés,
I can feel that door is ajar and a wild warm figure is beckoning me. Losing my daughter Lily prised through the rusted door, corroded and swelled shut, papered over with a confusion of ivy. But the wiry tendrils hang loosely now, over the door, a veil which admits the sparkling promise of a true deep life. The scar is deep and it is a door.
The longing to be free and unrestrained, with my feet in the silver waters of a great lake, my face turned to the flight of the eagle and my body cooled by the autumn winds of change. The longing for the darkness and solitude of the trees and the wild woods. Let’s dive deep into the forest dear friend…..deeper into the wildness of ourselves. What will we find??