“Every footprint on damp soil walked me in toward my own pulsing heart.”
“Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild”-W.B. Yeats
“She is wild”, in our modern dialect, has come to mean a behavior of unhinged excess. It calls to mind a woman recklessly unsatiated by her intoxicants and social outings, who is, therefore, causing harm to herself and others. But, there is a reclamation of the word “wild” and, alongside that, the restoration of a truly wild woman.
The word rewild has been buzzing like a spring bee pollinating the blossoming minds of those who are also unsatiated. But, this time, the discontent is caused by the confines of the strictly cultivated mundane world. Like dandelions in societies cement sidewalks, these rewilders are popping up in more places than once imaginable. Ferocious and delicate; bright, plucky, and tenacious are we who crack through the surface of the commonly accepted, to ask “what of my wild nature?”.
Yes, I will identify as one of these creatures. However, it begs to ask the question what it means to rewild and better yet to be wild. At this time, you can undomesticate anything from your shoes to your toothpaste. The food we put in our mouth, and our voices we sing with can all be set free. And while I found many of these things deeply nourishing and supportive of a meaningful life, they are merely the physical structure in which to hold the wild soul. Like the sacred chalice giving form to the spirit. For me, it is not enough just to let my red cabbage ferment with wild bacteria. I desire for my soul to steep in its own creative wilderness. I often begin with the practical steps to releasing my conditioned ways; touching my feet to the earth for approximately 30 minutes, consuming bone broth in more ways than previously thought possible and squatting while doing a whole host of activities, come to mind. Now, however, I feel a shift. It is not discipline that releases the untamed spirit. It is my deep nature breaking the surface of my everyday life and shattering the beliefs that limit me. Perhaps, it is the space and spirit that define the chalice and not the other way around. This feral self beckons me to follow the unadulterated passions of my heart. It leads to streams and forests. It asks that mountains be climbed, and emerald fields be laid upon. All the practices and methods were, in fact, grounded steps back to the mysterious place within. Every footprint on damp soil walked me in toward my own pulsing heart. Every sip of foraged herb and flower tea carried me on a current to a creative well that sat still until my awareness returned. I feel a forest growing where there was once a cultivated lot. Full moon hearted and wolf instinct focused, I can now navigate and daresay create my life in an entirely unrestricted way.
Within the word “rewild” is the prefix “re” which points me to believe that this is somewhere humanity has been before. Some would say this “before”, is early childhood. While I believe in the freedom of the child heart and I, myself experienced many encounters with nature in my youth, I by no means was a wild and nature focused child. I grew up in a city and behind school walls with clean floors. The boxes of rooms, T.V. and cereal shaped much of childhood. And believe me, I don’t intend to belittle or express much grief for my safe and content upbringing, but I ask where was this wild once held? This new sense of joyous expression feels larger than one I can recall when I was a young girl. So, I must look past that, to the lives that came before. The ancestors who once gathered food in the woods, bathed in streams, and breathed air cleaner than currently imaginable. With this, they also labored to ensure nourishment and safety. What I most want to call to mind however, is the WILD ancestral woman with her free spirit and strong body dancing rhythmically under the moon. Can I get to know her once again? Can we as conscious beings get to know her once again? Can we cross the barriers of time to interact with this archetypal female and ask her “what is my journey of spiraling inward to the wilderness of my heart?”; and “what is my journey outward to the expressions and creations of that same heart?”.
Can we now joyfully practice rewilding, knowing that it accompanies us to a place where we can BE WILD …where SHE IS WIlD? This place where choices are aligned with the untamed heart and what sings to it. A place where it matters less whether you are wearing the right shoes or eating the right food and more whether your choices truly support and nourish who you really are. And many of those aligned acts may match your nature-based grandmother from long ago but that is not the qualifying factor. As I open to this expansive space, I feel more equipped for the world with my tangled hair, mischievous grin and a flower dress, than a business suit. Blackberry stained fingers and dirty footprints feel as sacred of adornment as any jewelry. Songs can be whispered like the wind or howled to the moon and dances are unlearned and unrehearsed. Transactional words morph in to poetry as time begins to be defined by the sun and the moon. Rose petals tucked in to big pockets become sought after perfume and the cheek glow from vigorous walks is the most glamourous of rouge. The twinkling eyes of the free spirited dreamer become beacons to those who long to remember, to recall, to reclaim… and to rewild. Let the appetite for beauty roar but instead of reckless abandon and excess let it be defined by intentional surrender and abundant sufficiency (abundant sufficiency – when we feel that who we are and what we have is enough and that the possibilities for expansive joy are infinite). So, take a deep, wild breath with me and release the rigid structure in the body. Step in to a space of curiosity and fluidity. Let down your hair, remove your shoes, call in the wild and hear it answer from a well spring deep within.
Here is a mantra, incantation or spell (if you will) to call to your hearts wilderness and the wild ancestors
Wilderness heart, awaken in me
Forest of soul, be set free
Long ago sister of the wild,
And creative abundant child
Guide me to the place
where freedom is in nature’s grace