“The self that appeals to me is the self that has not been conditioned solely by culture, whether family, religion, education, or economics, but rather the one found under these systems of domestication –the wild self, the self at once sovereign and entwined with the living world. It is this self that can extend its reach into the surrounding rings of connection–with vacant lots, watersheds, returning salmon, with children and struggling communities–and sense its intimate bond with all of them. This self is co-mingled with all the others that share this shining planet. When we can step into this wider and wilder state of identity, our isolation falls away and we return to a state of participation and belonging.”
– Francis Weller, author of The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals for Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief*
There are so many things in our world today that are sad, disturbing, scary; beautiful, happy, and hopeful. Our challenge is to find our center so we do not lose perspective on what is real. No, I’m not referring to news.
I am referring to what is real within each of us – that only we can know and feel for ourselves.
It is apparent as we look around that many among us rely upon messages from many sources to shape what we believe about ourselves and therefore about others. We have all been affected by the constancy and consistency of these messages over many years. It is up to us, individually, to challenge our assumptions, our beliefs and therefore our words and actions.
If we read closely, slowly, and perhaps more than once, the quote above from Francis Weller, we may feel a little something unfamiliar, or even a bit odd. His words remind us of just how disconnected we are…from the real essence of ourselves – our wild self.
Could it be that questioning and shedding beliefs that we cannot substantiate as real or resonant within as being true for our wild selves, will bring us home to ourselves and to each other?
Is it possible that the simple act of inquiring within can begin to bring us back from the pervasive tribalism to the connection of community that is life-sustaining?
I am also reminded of just how deep our unacknowledged and unhealed grief goes and how it impacts our feelings, thoughts and actions. In a previous post on grief I shared the five gates of grief that Francis Weller explains in-depth in his book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals for Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief.
If we allow ourselves to “go there” into that dark well of sorrow and sadness, much light and freedom await. With freedom and light dawns an acceptance of life with all of its beauty and darkness. With light we see beyond the fear that often causes us to behave in ways that are not honoring of who we really are (our wild self) or those upon whom we project that unacknowledged fear, the resulting anger and the unhealed grief.
Reclaiming ourselves is the work of our lives. Growing in that reclamation process, we make powerful contributions to the collective of humanity, and our individual evolution.
Is it easy to do? No.
Is it easier to keep doing what we are doing and living and believing as we do? Yes.
Is it in our best interest (individually or collectively) to keep doing what we do and expect a different result to somehow occur, show up, or otherwise fix what needs to be fixed? Actually, I think this concept is named insanity and is widely attributed to Albert Einstein.
Will we experience surprises in our lives even if we do nothing? Yes…and the surprises may not be the ones we would prefer if we otherwise step into and take responsibility for the wholeness (holiness) of our lives.
Get to know who is …”under these systems of domestication…”
Be your wild self.
Where there is sorrow, there is holy ground.
* From “The Alchemy of Identity or Who Are We When Everything Falls Away 03/08/13” on the “Writings” page of francisweller.net; retrieved 10/08/18.