In the fall of 2017, I began contemplating what it really means to be wild. Like many, I had this idea that it meant unpredictable, uncontrollable and feral. The word evokes visions of women, more than men, and animals that are not yet domesticated. I started to question this whole idea.
What if being wild meant more than being outside the bounds of society?
The word has always held a deep resonance, which has been conflicting. How do I fit into society when so much of who I feel I am is outside of it? It seemed like a polarity I was just going to have to live with. But there was a consequence to this, there always is when we see the world and ourselves as black and white, here and there, in or out. It shows up differently in different people, for me it was and has always been feeling separate and weird.
For almost 4 years I’ve been blessed to work with a woman who has revealed herself to be a wise woman guide into the depths of soul and mystery. I’m so grateful for her presence, it’s been life transforming. She asked the question “what else could wild be if not the things mentioned above?” There were no words. The thoughts and beliefs around what it meant to be wild were so locked down, it was closing off perspective to the complexity of what it actually means.
The etymological definition for wild as an adjective is “in the natural state, uncultivated, untamed, undomesticated, uncontrolled.”
In the natural state.
The natural state of most people changes from day to day, hour to hour and even minute to minute, it reflects the environment. One minute it’s raining, the next it’s not. One second a cool breeze touches your cheek, the next it’s gone. We wouldn’t define the environment as being just windy, or just rainy, so why was I defining this part of myself so rigidly?
If being wild means being in a natural state, this means that even when I’m sleeping, I’m being wild. Reading a book and sitting in meditation is no different from dancing with every part of my body or experiencing the ecstasy of a moment, as long as each is what deep essence is calling for at the moment. As long as life is being lived, in flow.
That feels much more spacious than slivering wild to one way of showing up in the world.
If you read my original post – Wild By Nature you’ll know that a huge piece in this contemplation had to do with my relationship with alcohol. This exploration has been welcome. I’ve always enjoyed having fun and partying socially. There has been this inkling, though, the past few years that alcohol was covering up and numbing something.
It was helping me cope with social anxiety and a tremendous fear of being seen.
Alcohol gave me access to the status quo. To feeling like I fit into a society, that I don’t really fit into. I am part of, we all are. But that piece of status quo, the living a life in the middle never really questioning and never really looking deeper than what is on the surface of our perception and reality, has never been my place to roam. I prefer the deep dark night of the soul. I trust the unseen as much as the seen and I no longer question that the unseen aspects of soul and psyche catalyze our lived experience.
Driven by alcohol meant I was fun party Paula who people loved having around. Quiet, contemplative and curious Paula didn’t fit into the expectations of what I thought others wanted. Not sure if it’s because asking questions puts us in a position where we actually have to look at ourselves deeply which threatens our view of ourselves? But, I have a feeling that’s why it’s not typically classified as fun. Most people don’t actually want to look at the insanity of their own mind. Being curious gets collapsed into analyzing and being too in our heads, but the two could not be more distinct.
Dissolving aspects within this relationship to alcohol has brought up so many facets of self I was hiding from. That I do things often out of desperation instead of inspiration. That sometimes I feel like running and hiding in social situations because I think everyone is looking and judging. That too often, I choose to fit in over being in and with essence. Not to mention the grief that comes along with the dissolution of parts of self and relationships with others that keep these dynamics in play.
Saying yes isn’t easy but it has become the only way I know how to live.
To the never-ending tending of our souls.
Be wild. Be free.