Wildness: Occurring, growing, or living in a natural state; not domesticated, cultivated, or tamed.
Wildness, we all have it within us. It may be buried deep beneath years of neglect, abuse, or pain. Expectations and cultural constraints may have attempted to tame it or beaten it out of us. But it is always there. It is that part that is raw and uninhibited, unpolished and unabashedly authentic. When we awaken it, we become fully absorbed in the present, we radiate energy and aliveness, we feel playful, ecstatic even. When awakened, we experience freedom and timelessness.
It is important to know what it is that makes you feel alive, what it is that makes you fully engage in life. It is different for everyone and it is limitless. For me, it’s being among nature - breathing in the scent of the forest and trees after the rain, meditating on wild roses, and sitting under a blanket of stars in the middle of the mountains; it’s new experiences, it’s writing, its dancing, and it’s connecting with people.
The wonderful thing is, it is always with us, whether or not we feel inspired or connected. Sometimes, however, it may need a little coaxing. Last week, after being cooped in my office working on a certification project, I did not feel overly ecstatic. So I threw on my trail shoes and left my house to run in the forest along the creek. It only took a few moments of breathing in the fresh scent of trees and the decision to explore a part of the trail I had not explored in over a decade, for that feeling to come out of its dormant state and begin to flood my body.
With endorphins flowing, feeling a serotonin boost as sunlight hit my eyes, and inhaling phytoncides emitting from the trees, I definitely felt elation. On my return, I decided to stop and soak it up. Perched on a rock, surrounded by stunning blush coloured fireweed, standing proud on the creek’s bank, I opened up my notes to write.
Just as I began reflecting on how amazing this moment was, I heard giddy laughter coming from the other side of the bank. I looked up to see two young girls sliding down the slope and jumping into the creek. I smiled and watched them gleefully splash and play.
“Is it refreshing?” I asked.
“It’s actually not cold at all.” one responded. “You should come in.”
After a brief moment of hesitation-my mind thinking do I really want to jump in the middle of this muddy creek and run all the way home in soaking wet clothing- I slipped off my running shoes, dipped my toes into the water, curled my feet around slippery rocks and precariously made my way to the middle of the creek.
“We’ve been coming here for three years.” one girl happily proclaimed.
“Really, just the two of you?" I asked.
“Another friend used to come with us, but she’s changed. She’s now more a girly girl.” She stated.
“Well it is good that you still come out here. I don’t see many girls your age in the middle of the forest, let alone jumping into a creek. This is refreshing.” I share, happy I made the decision to come in and thinking this was as wet as I planned to get.
Before I could say anything else, one of the girls splashes at me, a perfect stranger. Feeling the cool water run down the front of my body, there was nothing I could do but to laugh out loud. And as I stood in the middle of the creek on this warm summer afternoon, feeling a sense of freedom, I forgot altogether that I would be running home through the forest completely drenched and in dripping wet clothing.
Thank you Jamee and Kristen for inviting me to join you in the creek, for the giddiness and laughter, and for inspiring me. Remember to always alight that spark and not let anyone or anything tame the wildness within you.