Reigniting Your Wild Heart
When was the last time you did any of the following:
Howl at the moon?
Climb a tree?
Play in the surf?
Move like an animal?
Why shouldn't we take the time to nurture the wild heart that beats within each one of us? Are we not just animals ourselves after all? Correct me if I'm wrong- but there are times you feel lost and out of control. Like the weight of life is becoming too much to handle and the plans you've created are quickly diminishing to make way for "real life issues." It is only when we allow ourselves to reconnect with the primal mystery of nature that we become capable of seeing our issues as trivial hiccups that we have turned into something more. As our society becomes more dependent on digital, closed-off, streamlined living it is that much more imperative for us to reconnect with our wild heart. As Mahatma Ghandi delicately words it: "To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves." There is an undeniable mystery in nature which we will never fully understand. As we spend time pondering the unique shape of a flower or a cloud we allow for nature to cradle us in that great mystery that we were never separated from at all.
In an article I recently wrote titled, Importance of Play, I outline the many health benefits of simple, joyful, Play! Well, now I'm challenging you to play wildly! To reconnect with your most primal animal instincts and with Source, with our Sacred Mother Earth, God-Divine, Great Mystery! This is not a mere challenge of fun and festivity in a means of opening doors for possible danger, after all, you may find that you are not nearly as nimble while climbing a tree as you were when you were a youngster. This challenge is instead a call to the heart. The heart that lives in each of us which has been so abrasively hushed up, misunderstood or just completely ignored. But it is still there, beating, waiting, fading... You are still primal. You are still a fearless animal conquering your threats and paving your way! You are fearless! You are wild! In the following paragraphs I will outline the importance of tapping into your wild heart and enjoying the benefits that await you once you carve time back in to your life to recognize and foster your wild heart.
In a recent adventure I was on while cross country skiing through the southern mountains around Yosemite I was struck with a sudden need to disappear. Even here in the rugged snowy wilderness around Yosemite without another soul to see for hours on end, my Wild Heart was longing for something more.
Notable hikes have trails and names, ski slopes have clearly defined paths that they suggest you remain on… And The Wild Heart has the means and deep-seeded ambition to wander away from the path. Sometimes escaping to the wilderness is still not wild enough for the Wild Heart in us. After a few hours of some solid backcountry skiing I reported to one of the members in my group that I wasn't going to head back along with them in the same direction and that I would see them back at camp. I had another route scouted through the "Ghost Forest" as I had heard it referred to as. Yes, I realize this is the way a fair amount of horror movies begin, leading the main character down an unfamiliar route, alone, to battle the harsh mysteries of Mother Nature. But hey, at least my route had a name- Ghost Forest; sure, sounds safe.
So what is that calling that speaks from deep inside of us that's pushing us to reconnect with our most intimate and primal self? As John Eldridge, author of best-selling Christian book "Wild at Heart" puts it, the wild man is simply living out his masculine persona given to him in the image of God. For God will always "show up" and always "has what it takes." Perhaps that is all the wild heart in us is seeking to accomplish- to know that we have what it takes. Are we battle-tested, tried and true and able to "show up" when our most primal, wild self is needed? I believe this is a valid question considering that here in America we are nearly 300,000 times more likely to die of congestive heart failure as a result of years of over-eating and inactivity than we are of losing a fight with a bear. Do we have what it takes? Can we slay the dragon and save the damsel? Can we rise to the occasion and be the hero? Can we prove that we are more than deskbound robots who live life with only 2 weeks a year to go find out if the wild in us still exists at all?
And ladies, I am not excluding you in any way from all this wild man talk. That primal force that sleeps in you is all too often hushed before its even had its chance to purr. You are just as capable of being too caught up in the rat race of modern living, and in this ever-evolving society, possibly even more so. We need to find new ways to detach from modern living and reconnect with primal self. We need to nurture the wild heart within us still. We need to climb that unmarked mountain, we need to throw our clothes off and swim across that frothing river, we need to run in endless fields from a far off land and bathe deeply in the sunlight. We need to rekindle the relationship with the Wild in Our Heart.
I survived my journey through the Ghost Forest. I did get lost two times, climbed over several fallen trees, battled multiple snow-packed river crossings, fell in once, ran out of drinking water, skied directly over very fresh looking bear skat- and made it out alive to tell the tale. Upon reaching camp that evening I was walking just a bit taller and possessed a certain inner-glow that seemed to massage and relax my tired body from the inside out. This glow was not however, one of machismo arrogance. I was glowing because of the deep, empowering reconnection I had just gone through with my most Wild Heart and with Source. Despite the hiccups mentioned above, I took ample time to stop and listen to the sound of snow-white nothing. To smile bright up in the sun that cast its warming rays onto my flesh. To feel the breeze that swayed me in my down jacket as it did the ancient trees wrapped in their snow flocked pine needles. The Great Mystery of Wild is out there all around us, here was just another brilliant opportunity for me to reconnect.
Fortunately, there are many ways in which to reconnect with our Wild Heart. Ways that don't include wandering off the beaten path into a possibly-dangerous situation. The most basic of these is simply to just go get into nature! Saturate yourself with the mysterious comfort of digging your toes in the sand, crawling around on the grass or exploring an unnamed trail. If you don't have mountains or a lake or ocean nearby then seek out a big park perhaps! Be bold enough to take off your shoes, run like a child or a cheetah or hell, like a human being! Yell and play, let loose! One of my favorite go-to's is to spread out my limbs on the grass or the sand and crawl like an animal, keep my eyes closed to connect with my animal totem! Perhaps you really do have a "spirit animal!"
As we have now shown, there are an infinite number of ways in which we can reignite and reengage that primal urge and invincible strength that lives inside each one of us. However there is but one commonality between them all. This common thread, if followed, will lead you down a path toward whatever type of "odd," "strange" "childish" "WILD" behavior that your unique heart desires. That thread to follow is very simply this:
The only way that we will ever reacquaint with our wild primal self is just to listen. We must hear the urge to disconnect so that we can plug back in to Source, God, Energy, Great Mystery, The Divine! Once we hear the calling it's on us not to hush it. It's on us to make time for it. It's on us to blaze a new path and overcome the fears of discovering something new. It doesn't really matter how you decide to answer the call once you hear it. Simply listen to your wild heart's desires, and for heaven's sake, when you see the full moon Howl!
And of course, stay elevated.
Eldridge, John: Wild at Heart, Pub: 2001