When I tell people I want to lead a wild life, to find the wild woman within, some women instinctively understand what I mean, while other folks just give me a blank stare. During my school days, the wild kids were those who smoked and drank, played loud music, partied, gave little consideration to rules or consequences. As young adults, the wild ones were … well, they were pretty much like the wild kids. Smoking and drinking, playing loud music, partying, giving little consideration to rules or consequences, sometimes riding motorcycles, hanging around bars, picking up mates for a night.
I have a hunch that when I tell the blank-stared folks of my desire for wildness, such images come to their minds, but the truth is, I have no interest in that particular kind of tameness. I call it tameness because although it seemed wild to us at the time, the activities were all part of the rebelliousness of youth, a reaction to the strictures of our lives, and, while not perfectly acceptable, perhaps, they were an adjunct to the urbanization and corporatizing of our tame world.
To tell the truth, I’m not exactly sure what I mean by “wild woman.” I tried to do a bit of research into the mythology of wild women and kept bumping into the book Women Who Run With Wolves. My first reaction, of course, was to get the book, but then I changed my mind. I don’t want to know what other people mean by wildness. I want to find out what I mean. I do know that being a wild woman isn’t about getting into trouble or dangerous situations, it’s about embracing my connection to life, being the person I was meant to be without the structure of societal conventions or the bonds of other people’s expectations. It’s about finding the things that call to me from the soul rather than what beckons me from without. It’s about extending my reach, to want what up to now has escaped me. It’s about finding what feeds the hungry beast inside me. It’s about striking out on my own, trusting my instincts yet relying on experience. It’s about the having the courage and boldness to go where I must. It’s about living a natural life, following my own rhythms, being true to myself.
I’ve always been fascinated by the wild places of the world. The places deep within the Amazon that have never been touched by the modern world. The depths of the oceans that lie beyond our instruments. Deep caverns that have never been explored. I don’t suppose there are any of those places left except in my imagination, but still, I am caught by the lure of what might lie beyond our modern society and culture, what might exist beyond man-made (and woman-made) laws and conventions. Of course, any such cultures would have their own conventions that bind their members, so perhaps even the figments of my imaginings are tame in their own way.
And yet, and yet . . .
I wonder what wild places lie in my heart, my mind, my soul. What passions might I feel that I have not yet discovered? What ideas could I have that would spring forth as if from the earth itself? What unheard songs does the universe sing to me?
That is where I will find my wildness, not in bars, in a bottle, or dangling from a bungee cord.
Blessings from John O’Donohue:
“May the angel of wildness disturb the places where your life is domesticated and safe, take you to the territories of true otherness where all that is awkward in you can fall into its own rhythm.”
“May the beauty of your life become more visible to you, that you may glimpse your wild divinity.”
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.