An Adult, Kind Witches Approach to Embracing Her Inner Wild in a Modern, Actually Doable Way
We are creatures of earth and salt. Water and sand. We are of the forest and the desert and the ocean. We are part of nature. Sometimes we forget that. We now live our lives indoors and at desks, completely disconnected from the outside world around us. When it’s hot we turn on the air conditioning. When it’s cold we turn on the heater. When its raining we stay inside because for some reason we think that we can’t get wet.
Hold up. When did we as humans start thinking that we can’t get wet in the rain or that being out in the cold is going to kill us? Didn’t we take a shower this morning?
Our connection with nature as humans has been broken…and honestly it hasn’t been all that long in the grand scheme of things since we moved inside. Most of the world hasn’t moved indoors and those that have, have only done it for the past century.
Connecting with your wild side is something that nourishes, that helps your mind, your body and your soul in ways that you probably didn’t even know that you needed. It is a long journey back but it starts with one step, one movement and habit that reminds you that as people, we are part of nature and nature is part of us. Even if you don’t think that you are outdoorsy, you are. Deep down in your gut you want to get wet, you want to play in the rain, you want to feel the sun on your skin and mud in between your toes. Nature wants you to remember too. It wants to remind you that we are all one. That what we do as humans has a profound impact on our environment.
We all have a big, angry collective scar on us from abandoning a very fundamental part of ourselves. We cannot continue to separate from it and pretend that we don’t see it and I truly believe that a lot of our problems as people could be solved if we just reconnected with what is around us and remembered just how intertwined everything and everyone is. Maybe you can feel it like I can when I am cooped up in an office and just want to get outside. Maybe you understand the deeper meaning of “I just need to get some air”. Or maybe you haven’t felt this at all because you have never had the joy of being naked (Mentally or physically) in the open air. But you will. You need to to really understand a part of you that is locked away.
So get ready to reconnect with your wild! It’s goddess time!
This is actually going to be one of the hardest ones. Have you ever left your phone at home? Have you run back from whatever you were doing because you feel exposed without it? Well you are going to intentionally today. Even if it’s just for a little while.
Put your phone away. It should not be touching your body in any way. Leave it. Go out without it. For a moment you might feel a sense of dread deep inside of you, like something is going to happen. I promise it’s not. If you are worried about your kids, take them with you wherever you are going and really connect with them on a level you probably didn’t even know that you were missing. Spend some time without your phone and you are suddenly going to realize just how many times a day you instinctively check or touch it.
It’s going to be weird. It might even be uncomfortable. Feel that sense of dread for a moment before letting it go and realizing that it is highly unlikely that something is going to be happening during the hour that you are out. That anxiety you feel is something that we didn’t deal with 20 years ago so it should not be something that teethes you now. For some of you this is going to be the hardest task in this post.
Once you settle into that feeling and let it slip away, take that energy and use it to really take in what’s around you. Appreciate the world without taking pictures or thinking about angles. This time away isn’t something that you need to brag about on social media because it’s time for you to be connected to the world around you.
Connecting with our bodies is harder than it should be. We have been told about the mind body gap most of our lives. To live in the physical body is deemed crude and even savage and has been since we settled into the puritanical and intellectual structure that dictates modern society. It is something that comes from this deep rooted judo-Christian belief that our physical beings are sinful; that our bodies are a source of shame.
They are not.
Our bodies and minds are far more intertwined then we think that they are and we are starting to realize that as more health and even mental health problems are linked with the neglect of our bodies. Connect with your physical body as much as you connect with your mind. If you are are at home or in a private place, try to take your clothing off and really appreciate your body. Don’t be afraid of your skin, your dimples, your stretch marks. These are all a part of your wild being and deserve as much attention as you have given yourself with self help books and diet fades. This is a fundamental part of you that is no different than your mind. Its strong, it carries you, it pleasures you. It’s sexy.
Do you feel dirty? Most likely, most of us are. We think of our bodies in a way that is so sad for them. They are an afterthought that we always put on the back burner…or we push to be something else. You don’t need to do either of those things. Remember that you are part of nature just as much as anything that you see in the outside world. That body is a flower, a stone, a waterfall. It’s going to return to the ground someday but today it is yours and it is wild!
Are you afraid of the Dark?
We have always searched for safety as humans. We have gone into caves, then built tents, then huts, then castles and now suburban sprawls. This is the human condition to build bigger and insulate ourselves in so that we are safe, warm and protected. But there is always a point of too much with anything good. Don’t be afraid to be out at night. Go into your back yard, or even better, go camping and just be outside at night. Find beauty in the darkness instead of fear. Take in the stars, the smell, the sound because I assure you, night has all of these things.
Being out in the night is part of finding that inner strength. There is something fascinating about it and forbidden; as forbidden as that wild part of yourself you have been trying to hide your whole life and now want to embrace. Anything is possible in the dark and this can be where some of our most primal tendencies feel comfortable coming out.
If you need to light a light, make sure it is low so that your eyes are actually adjusting to the night. Make sure you are in a safe place but feel fear and even encouraged to walk around, to explore, to touch and to taste. This is a place for you to explore and connect with a world when it is most still but half of it is more alive than ever.
From the Ground to Your Gut
This should be a surprise to anyone I’m going to talk about food, cooking and farmers markets. And before you sign off because you think this is going to be another farm to table conversation let me remind you that this isn’t just about produce. Remind yourself of how we as humans subsisted for so many hundreds of years. People don’t even want to think about food anymore. They say they don’t have time but let me ask you, as living, breathing, metabolizing creatures, what is more important, what should we be thinking more about then food. We are of this earth. Food is too. Finding and preparing it is just as basic as finding shelter is.
When we disconnect from our food, we disconnect from our bodies and from the natural world around us. Animals become brutalized in slaughter houses and the soil gets its nutrients sapped from it. All in the name of connivance. That is the point. All of the things I am asking from you might be a little uncomfortable and a little inconvenient. You might have to actually spend time on them…just like with your cooking.
When we do eat local food and prepare it ourselves we are engaging in something that is so fundamentally man, I don’t even have to do research on it to tell you about it. Man-make-fire. Man-cook-with-fire. Period. Connecting with our wild side on this is tapping into something that made us first hunt and gather, something that is a part of ourselves no matter where in the world we are.
Eating food local to you or made in your area is another way to connect with the most important parts of nature. It is how we lived for so long and really how our bodies were made to function. It smells better, it tastes better, often the company is better. Find out what is in your area and go to a farmers market once a week to learn about and talk to the people that have their fingers in the soil. If you can garden, do it. You might be horrible at it to start with but even in your greatest state of ignorance of the process you bring yourself closer than you ever were to the natural world and your wild side before.
Appreciating silence is lovely. I love lack of noise. I love running with no music or podcasts on. I love taking long walks in the woods or through the park and listening to the rustle of the world around me…but I also love to scream. Screaming is unlady like. It’s too expressive and gives away too much about ourselves. We hold it in which, granted is sometimes the best thing that we can do. We can’t lose our minds in front of our boss no matter how much we want to. But in doing so, we have also taught ourselves, consciously or subconsciously, to suppress all emotions. Any show of anger, or passion, of joy, or pain, is s weakness that we have been taught not to let leave our lips.
I’m telling you to stop that. Just for a bit. I’m telling you to scream. Really scream. Now don’t do this on the subway or in your office. Find a place where you aren’t going to scare your boyfriend/girlfriend. But I really want you to try to let one go. It will feel silly and you might not be able to do it at first but really let go of that tight cord wrapped inside of you. Scream. Make it hurt. Don’t hold back. Don’t try and keep it under a noise level.
This is you releasing all of those things that you wanted to scream at from deep in the bottom of your lungs. Don’t be a prude about it. Don’t silence yourself any more than you already do in this world.
I do this when I am pushing through a really hard part of a work out. When I feel like I can’t go any faster or push myself any farther. I scream and find that just in releasing that pent up sound, that pent up energy, I can push a little harder. It’s because I’m no longer trying to hold anything back and embracing my true emotion, physical or mental pain and anything else that is trapped in the recesses of my body. I am wild like an animal. I’m allowed to make sounds like one too.
Go Somewhere Totally New
In spite of the way so many of use view the world, it is actually full of natural wonders and beauty. It can be all too easy to focus on how we are destroying the world and we should be paying attention. But its hard to really be passionate about a world that you don’t know.
We need to immerse ourselves in the beauty that is still left in the world, into the natural areas, the beach, the ocean, the forest, our countries National Parks. There are plenty to get into. Check out natural areas around you. Really be out in it too. Don’t just sit in your car. Get out and feel the essence of where you are. You can taste it in the air, feel it on your skin. Nature has its own feeling, its own touch no matter where you go. We have to learn to tune in to it to really start to appreciate it but once we let go of our fear, of our uncertainty, we find that it has a very profound and deep embrace.
Sometimes taking a trip might not be in the cards but there are frequently parks or day trips that can be taken to a new place around you. It’s amazing how little we know about the area we spend most of our time in. This is a great one for kids too. I wish that I had learned to embrace more wild in myself when I was young and more in tune with my urges and natural tendencies. No doubt your kids will appreciate it and learning. Hiking, camping, jogging, even just laying in the sun are all great things to do out in the world around us.
If you haven’t noticed, I am very type A. I like my planner and to know what I am doing and have to do, what everyone around me is doing and keeping track of what gets done and what doesn’t. I have been taught that this living in my head gives me a leg up by experiences. But I have also felt the jolt of anxiety that moves through me when something unexpected happens.
Life will happen. Part of being wild is knowing how to flow with it. Adjusting our sails is hard but it is something that we are going to have to do no matter how hard we plan and how much we have things in the bag. No Matter how many years we watch the sky, no matter how many satellites are in space, we still are pretty shitty at predicting when it will rain aren’t we?
Part of being wild is understand wild. Why we fear it is because we can’t predict it. We cant control it. This is why we sought to domesticate ourselves, why we moved into cities away from the rest of the animals, why we have to have a science to explain everything (Or religion). But we are just as unpredictable as nature because….once again, we are part of nature. We must learn to embrace uncertainty and how to deal with it to deal with the ups and downs of life, to temper the anxiety that is eating a generation alive and scaring us into solitude.
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