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When we think of the wild, in our mind’s eye we see something like this:
In a dark jungle, the foliage is choking out the light of the sun. A ferocious beast sneaks its way through the undergrowth. A caucophony of sound bursts out of the bugs and birds hiding in the green.
Or maybe we see something like this: a great grassy expanse, untouched by anything other than the blazing sun and a bright blue sky. Below, a world of snakes, amphibians and insects teeming through the soil.
Rarely do we think of ourselves as being part of the wild.
But we are. And the wild lives in us too.
The wildness that lives within each of us is not separate from the wildness that lives outside us; it is one and the same. As we forsake our own wildness, our environment begins to suffer too. And so now that the arctic is on fire, the oceans are rising, and our “freshwater” is too poisoned even to safely swim in, maybe it’s time we start to repair the bond that has been severed, starting with what’s inside of each of us.
We all thirst for this reconnection with our own wildness. The husband that cheats, the mother that abandons her children, the young ones that recklessly rebel; each is desperately seeking out that sense of wildness. Each grasps furiously into the dark, hoping to find what has been stripped away and buried so long ago. What we have in its place–strip clubs, rock concerts, casinos, amusement parks and arcades–are but a glitzed-up mirage of what we once knew.
So what’s so great about the wild? What does wildness offer us, anyways? Why does it matter?
For one thing, it teaches us sustainability, endurance and nourishment. The wild creates harmony and balance–cycles of exchange–so that in the end, all that is taken is given back through the final dissolution of the body into the earth. Every creature feeds another. We can learn from the wild how to embody these virtues more wholly in our everyday living.
What the wild has that I think we crave most, though, is our sense of belonging. Our place, our unique role in service to the Grand Scheme of Life.
When we push out our own wildness, we exile ourselves from our very souls. It’s high time we return to the Garden of Eden. The doorway lives in the heart. Will you join me and step inside?
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