Friday, May 8, 2015


Fear of disapproval keeps most of us in line from the time we are small children. We notice what is pleasing to the adults in our lives and learn to pretzel ourselves to comply.  We acquire behaviors that insure our survival. We notice what lessens the chances for pain and do what it takes to conform to that. We learn to equate conformity with love and acceptance. We forget who we really are.
We each have an inner wildness that represents our authentic selves. It's who we are and how we act when we feel safe to be ourselves.
 Many people use drugs and alcohol to let out that inner wildness. They say things like, it helps me be less inhibited, it lets me loosen up, chill out, let go, hang loose, and other more modern terms. Substances give us permission to reclaim our inner wildness. Then we think it is the alcohol or the drugs that creates the inner wildness and we need it to be ourselves and have fun.
What if that inner wildness lives inside of us and is waiting for us to let it out of its cage of being who we think we need to be to get approval? 
For me creativity is a way to express inner wildness. When I let myself paint or draw or write or cook that authentic me can rise to the surface. It is easiest for me to be wild by myself. When I am not worried about what someone else will think of me, I can pay attention to what feels right and true and do it with wild abandon. 
This is one reason to cultivate true deep friendships. The more I experiment with saying and doing things I might fear are unacceptable with another person, the easier it is to feel safer and more comfortable being myself. I often say to myself, "You can't say that or you can't ask for that."
My wildness now encourages me to be curious. " Is it really true that I can't? What is my evidence that this person will judge me and turn away from me in horror?" 
One of the joys of getting older is that I care less what people think of me and I trust that my true friends love me enough to be able to be myself. It is freeing to let my wildness out more. Expressing more of who I really am supports my confidence.
 When I teach yoga I sometimes get very self-conscious that my style of teaching is too weird for most people. I could tell myself a story that asking students to laugh or skip around their  mats will make them wildly uncomfortable and they will go away. Maybe it's OK to trust that the people who are drawn to what I do will come to my classes? Maybe people who want to express their inner wildness are willing to be uncomfortable? Maybe being uncomfortable is a signal we are leaving our comfort zone. Maybe part of my calling is to express my inner wildness and invite others to do the same?
Maybe that's why being in nature is so attractive to me? Nature is expressing her inner wildness. Nature is wildness. Maybe that's part of why I feel so free in nature and crave being outside in the city and love being in the mountains? Being in nature allows me to get more in touch with my natural self. Owning my natural self is owning my wildness.
My little girl inside knows a lot about wildness. Listening to her and letting her be expressed, I sing and dance and skip more. Her playfulness is part of my wildness. My inner little girl is my wildness coach. I want to let her out and play. Maybe she and I can have a play date that she plans? She wants
to go to the mountains and walk along a stream. She wants to draw and not care what the drawing looks like. She wants to go run on the dirt path near my house, she wants to be silly with a friend. She wants to cook weird food no one else will like and eat it in the middle of the night and pee in the woods. I honor her wildness. I want to reclaim my authentic self and open to all that I am. Maybe part of squishing who we are to create who we think we need to be to be loved is to recognize that we did that and experiment with unsquishing ourselves. What if we can support each other in knowing we are lovable for all of who we are? What if we could trust that being ourselves isn't necessarily hurtful to other people and that we could learn to express our wildness with kindness toward ourselves and others? Any ideas? Let the unsquishing begin!