Last night I watched the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING film “Call Me By Your Name” and was so moved by its exquisite, nuanced portrayal of the ecstasy and agony of what it is to be human. It touched on themes of love and desire, the awakening of and initiation into sexuality, the wildness of being an inherently erotic creature, the gift of fully feeling our feelings, the importance of connection, community and family. In essence, it was an ode to our human wildness, and that film, along with my ever-deepening communion with the natural world, inspired this blog . . .
When you hear the world “wild” used to describe a person, what does it call to mind? Our cultural conditioning has imprisoned that word to denote something decidedly negative much of the time. So perhaps what arises for you is out of control. Unruly. Disheveled. Inappropriate. Childlike.
Yet wild is what we are. What we ALL are. And all of us remember this in someway, no matter how small and distant that memory may seem, no matter how well it has been exiled to the furthest recesses of our experience. We are wild because we are creatures of the earth, just like every tree, stone, river and deer. We are native to this place just like every mountain, lake, bird and flower. Not only do we belong to the wilds of nature. We ARE the wilds of nature, in body as human.
With this wildness comes both an incredible amount of possibility and responsibility. We are wild ones with the gift of sensation and emotion, and we use those to perceive our inner and outer landscapes, our relationship to our own self and our relationships with all of those around us, human and other-than-human alike. The possibility is boundless! There are infinite ways to relate and relish in the experience of our senses and feelings. And the responsibility is essential. We must cultivate discernment and learn to listen to the guidance of “negative” sensations and emotions just as surely as we must celebrate fully the magic of “positive” ones.
To really embrace our wildness is to live our erotic potential. Eros, at the root of erotic, is a passionate form of love, and that is not the same as romantic love. To live the fullness of our eroticism is to give ourselves fully over to our senses. Wildness is the path of passion, and when you walk in this way, love affairs unfold constantly. They exist not only between us and other humans, but also between each of us and the way the sunlight falls through tree branches. They arise in the way a birdsong stirs our heart awake. They flood us when the scent of a freshly blooming jasmine vine touches our nose, when a perfectly ripe berry explodes on our tongue or the sensitive skin on the inside of our arm brushes the soft fur of a kitten.
When we really allow ourselves the wonder and pleasure of awakening our eroticism across its full spectrum of possibility, when we let our wildness express itself without judgment or restraint, our relationships are enhanced. We move through life with expanded vitality, inhabiting our sensuous nature with more depth of presence than ever before. This makes us more available to and nourished by our connections. It lets us explore edges and perhaps take risks that we wouldn’t dare to navigate otherwise. And it also gives us the ability to feel more fully.
As we feel more fully, there is an invitation to be with a vast range of feelings. Just as a cactus beneath our fingers will provoke a very different response than a rose, certain emotions are designed to provoke a different response in us human creatures. And those responses are pathways to inquiry and enhanced understanding of our human experience and our relationships. Feeling hurt or disappointed can turn us onto where our values and morals lie and how we believe we/others/the earth should be treated. Feeling sadness and grief shows us what we truly love and desire, what we care about and how we can best care for ourselves and our relations in the face of loss or perceived loss. Feeling afraid invites us to assess levels of risk and threat in our lives and to call upon or cultivate skills and support for navigating them.
The one who has integrated their wildness into their embodied experience brings passion and presence to their life and all the connections in it. When it comes to interpersonal relating, our wildness most certainly has its place in creating deeply satisfying intimacy in our lives. Creativity in lovemaking, the playful curiosity that can lead us to discover new places on our body that awaken as erogenous zones stems from our wildness. Emotional intelligence, the capacity to stay present across a broad spectrum of feelings and communicate in meaningful, constructive ways is also a facet of our wildness.
So with that said, I leave you with an inquiry that I hope you will take on in earnestness anytime you have the chance as you walk through both the inner and outer landscapes of your life:
What Would My Wild One Do?