Discover more from Sharon Shares
The Call of the Wild
Or, Wonderful Syncs in the Month of August
There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story."
~ Linda Hogan
My friend & the valley
In the second week of August I had an interesting and inspiring conversation with a friend of mine who lives on another continent. Of all the human beings I have crossed paths with in this lifetime, this man is the one most connected to nature. He “breathes” nature, lives nature, is nature in many regards. Over the years I have learned a lot from him, about nature, organic blueprints, the macrocosm and the organic human microcosm, as well as what first and foremost being of nature implies. Our friendship is the kind of friendship that “transcends time and space” and has, over the years, proven to be genuinely unconditional. It has its own rhythms, doesn’t follow rules or conventions and is characterized by spontaneity and natural flow. Sometimes we go without talking to each other for months, other times we speak to each other multiple times a week. Usually, the prompt for a new episode of intense contact is either a new discovery or an interesting real life experience one of us has had, something that somehow ties into the fields of information we are both studying and exploring. More often than not, it turns out we have in some way been “riding a similar wave” shortly before reconnecting. Syncronicities and synergy abound in our friendship and we both learn a lot from our interactions.
This time, I was the one reaching out because I had come across some interesting information on Pictish artefacts I knew my friend would be interested in. And sure enough, that information tied into something he had recently been looking into and our conversation led to new insights for both of us. Soon, we were talking about our favorite topic, nature, and about the importance—for the human microcosm—of living in a natural environment. My friend told me he is now living in a raw and wild mountain valley where he is able to get the vast majority of his greens, flowers, shoots, roots and fruit from his immediate environment. I knew he had been working towards the goal of being able to survive in his natural environment. I also knew he had been dedicating a lot of his time and energy to learning more about foraging and I am familiar with the depth of his connection with plant Beings and their properties. What I didn’t know was that he had been tending to that particular valley—and the valley to him—for over 21 years. Twenty-one years…. That’s a loooooong time! I thought to myself: Now that’s some serious relationship building…
It left me in awe. I have always respected this man a lot, for many reasons and multiple aspects of his (way of) being. I know how dedicated he is to the things that matter most to him. I know what he is trying to accomplish in this lifetime. I know how intelligent he is, how much knowledge he holds and how strongly his heart beats for all things human, natural and organic. But I didn’t know he had been actively tending to this particular valley for 21 years, to arrive where he is at right now. It surely is a beautiful example of dedication, perseverance and staying true to one’s vision.
My friend told me how very grounding, empowering in regards to self-sufficiency and straight up enjoyable his current experience was, and how foraging practices assisted him greatly in connecting to his immediate natural environment and therefore the Earth in general. He also told me he had been receiving a lot of high altitude sunshine and was drinking water straight out of an alpine freestone river, and I could tell by the timbre of his voice that I was listening to A Very Happy Man, firmly grounded in his natural habitat.
I felt so happy for him I couldn’t stop smiling after that conversation. To know that he was in an environment he has a heartfelt connection with and was succeeding at what he had intended to do, was the best new I’d heard in a long time. It warmed my heart and made my soul dance. I found myself celebrating what I had heard by doing a happy dance in my living room. To say that it inspired me and made me happy is an understatement.
Reflections on purpose and meaning
A couple of days later I found myself contemplating purpose and meaning. I kept thinking about the life my friend on the other continent was living. His actions are driven by unambiguous intentions, his choices made with a specific purpose in mind and it is clear to see that his purposeful way of living creates what to him is a meaningful life, in alignment with his core values and nature.
I reflected on the amount of purpose and meaningfulness currently present in my own life. Meaningfulness is easily spotted when looking at what I do professionally. My work is meaningful to many. But how does that tie into purpose, for me, personally?
There was a time when I believed—and, as a consequence, really felt— “helping others” was my purpose in life. But that was only until I discovered (thank you, in-depth shadow work!) what was at the root of my desire—or even need I might say, in hindsight—to help others. Long story short: in wanting to help others, I had been trying to compensate for, and cope with, the pain related to situations where I had not been able to “help others” in my personal life—situations in which people fell away, situations where people simply couldn’t be helped and situations where people refused to be helped. When I uncovered this coping mechanism, this unconscious shadow mechanism, my way of looking at my work changed. What had until then been a strong desire to “help others” to the very best of my abilities—which oftentimes led to giving myself away in the process—started to change as well. This, in turn, changed my ways of working with people. I quit massively overdelivering, always being available and taking on responsibilities that had never been mine to begin with. I became a person with clear boundaries I hadn’t had before, interpersonal dynamics got healthier and I became a better professional, delivering better results and witnessing more true empowerment in my clients.
This was all good, of course; excellent! At the same time, it was also the beginning of many sessions of pondering my purpose. Realizing that “helping others” was no longer what I felt was my purpose in life raised the question: What is my purpose in life? Don’t get me wrong, I still love and am very dedicated to the work I do, and seeing how people benefit from their sessions makes me genuinely happy—for them. I celebrate their wins because I wish them all the best, from the bottom of my heart, and to witness people’s growth is a beautiful thing. But I no longer believe that helping others is what my purpose in life is. What I do profesionally does help my clients. But my drive, my motivation, is no longer rooted in a desire of wanting to help. I now do what I do because I love sharing my knowledge, I love creating formats and things that people can benefit from, I really like working with my professional skillsets, I like teaching, solving complex puzzles and bringing clarity to situations, I love translating complex dynamics into concepts that can be worked with and into language that allows people to gain clarity and expand their vision. And if that is helpful to people, that’s great. But strictly speaking that doesn’t necessarily tell anything about what I think my purpose in life is.
I know what my friend on the other continent considers to be his purpose in life. He is quite outspoken about it and his sense of purpose fuels his activities, every single day. I admire him for his dedication to what he feels is his purpose, but I don’t feel my purpose is similar to his. I have friends who are parents and say being a good parent is their purpose in life. I can understand that, but I am not a parent and I lead a very different kind of life. I have heard people who are fulltime caretakers of someone close to them say that the caretaking is their purpose in life. I respect that and can understand it, but that is not my situation—nor could it ever be, given my health issues that require me to be my own caretaker. Many many years ago, long before the many so-called truther movements of this day and age became a thing, I wondered if perhaps it was my purpose to “wake people up to the truth” of a number of things I had been experiencing and discovering about this weird realm we live in. I soon found out that couldn’t be the case, for multiple reasons. Firstly, people cannot be “woken up”. Expanding one’s awareness and coming to a different understanding of things is ultimately an inside job, no exceptions. Secondly, from what I’ve come to understand after decades of deep diving into the esoteric, the mystic, the occult, the human psyche, energy work, neurobiology and neuropsychology, quantum phenomena and all sorts of fringe topics, the truth is not even a real thing and anyone claiming to know the truth about anything in this realm is, at best, naive.1 So no, it cannot be my purpose in life to “wake people up”—ain’t no such thing—and my purpose in life cannot be tied to speaking or writing about (some objective, all-encompassing) truth—ain’t no such thing either. What, then, is my purpose in life? That’s a huge question I am currently not able to answer. Because I do not currently have a clear answer to that question.
Is it important to find a clear answer to that question? I think it is, generally speaking. Without a sense of purpose, things can become rather dull and uninteresting. And in absence of a sense of purpose life itself could potentially start feeling meaningless, which is a dangerous track to end up on. I’m nowhere near that track but the conversation with my friend on the other continent surely made me think a lot about purpose, meaning and the notion of having a purpose in life. And I am quite intrigued by the realization that I am currently unable to answer the question What is my purpose in life?
Now, I do not know how many people would be able to give a clear-cut answer to that question. It’s one of those questions that can easily mark the start of a whole series of reflections and examinations and can quite easily lead to new questions and a fair amount of confusion, when you really think about it.
Personally, I seem to be unable to give a clear answer to the question What is my purpose in life? because I am currently still missing some puzzle pieces. This much has become clear to me. And I have a gut feeling those puzzle pieces are related to aspects of myself that are somehow in need of liberation—aspects that have been dormant, as if in hibernation, waiting for me to remember that they, too, are part of who and how I am.
How to go about finding those aspects? I thought about the interconnectedness of purpose and meaningfulness. In my mind’s eye I saw an image of tangled yarn. It was time to untangle things and I decided re-reading Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning including his writings on logotherapy would be a good way to start the process of untangling. According to Frankl, a Viennese professor of neurology and psychiatry, it is of utmost importance to be able to find meaning in one’s own existence. In Frankl’s opinion a failure to find meaning (and a sense of responsibility) in existence is what oftentimes is at the root of (existential) suffering, frustration, anxiety and a specific type of neurosis. Where the other Viennese schools of psychotherapy focussed on the power principle or “will to power” (Alfred Adler) resp. the pleasure principle or “will to pleasure” (Sigmund Freud), Frankl’s logotherapy stresses the “will to meaning”. Since I was contemplating purpose and meaning, as well as trying to gain more clarity on how purpose and meaning are connected to each other, a refresher of what Frankl had written seemed like a good idea. So I took Frankl’s book and went outside.
Into the Wild
Sitting in the sun, reading Viktor Frankl’s book, all of a sudden the Into The Wild Festival came to mind. I’ve never been to that festival but when I first heard about it, about 6 years ago if I am not mistaken, it really grabbed my attention and I thought: It would be nice if I could go to that festival, some day. Now, me having that thought tells you there has to be something “special” about this festival because I am not someone who goes to festivals. Crowds and lots of stimuli all at once can be very overwhelming to me so a festival ground is not my favorite kind of place. Having said that, for this specific festival I would be willing to make an exception.
Into The Wild is, as it says on their website, “A festival of Family, Connection & Nature”. It is held on a Sussex estate surrounded by meadows and forests and offers a lot of things that are music to my ears and sunshine to my soul. Think: world music, poetry, storytellers, wild craft workshops, stargazing, dance, inspirational talks, archery, world cuisine, yoga, bushcrafts, hot tubs, fire making, stone and wood carving, martial arts, den building and a lot more. The profits go towards nature recovery, helping wildlife and biodiversity, and the aim of the organization is “to support a deeper connection to the natural world and foster a greater awareness of our place on the planet”. And the event is alcohol and drug free. Now that’s the kind of festival I can see myself going to, someday.
Curious to find out when exactly the festival would be this year, I opened my laptop and searched for its website. This year’s festival would be held in the last weekend of August. I smiled. I wasn’t going to be there this year and it wasn’t clear to me why I had found myself thinking of this festival while I was reading Man’s Search for Meaning but I surely found meaningfulness in reading the festival programme. I felt enthusiasm, joy, a longing to, one day, be there and nurture myself with the different types of soulfood the festival provides. Nature, poetry, stories, arts, music, crafts… those kind of activities have a core of meaningfulness that speaks to my heart. Psychology and philosophy speak to my mind and its longing to devour new information and solve complex puzzels. But these other things, they speak to something much more profound, more essential, more real in a way… And although psychology and philosophy will most probably always be special interests of mine that still the hunger of my mind, nature, words, arts, sounds and crafts are in alignment with what I feel and what I feel to be my “essence” in some way.
It started to make more and more sense to me why I had slowly but surely been feeling drawn to dedicate more of my time and energy to writing, storytelling, painting and nature. “Less mind, more essence” came to mind. Less rules, more freedom. Less structure, more wild(er)ness. Less forced movement, more organic flow. Less thinking, more being.
I closed the website and decided to go do the dishes. When I need to chew on things, process thoughts, insights and feelings, I often go do something that involves water—water the plants, take a shower or do the dishes. I opened Spotify, selected my playlist Shuffle for a Sync (containing over 2200 songs I like, for various reasons; it’s quite the ecclectic list ;-) ), pressed shuffle and started doing the dishes.
A song & a surprise
As I was looking out of the kitchen window while doing the dishes, immersed in my own thoughts, I became aware of hearing a beautiful voice singing a series of sentences that were perfectly aligned with the thoughts I was having in that very moment. I couldn’t remember having heard that voice before but I must have liked the voice and the lyrics before or else that song wouldn’t have made it to my playlist.
Mesmerized by the lyrics, I stood in the kitchen with my hands in the water. I wasn’t doing the dishes anymore. I was listening. And touched.
When the song finished I had to know who that artist was. I walked over to the laptop on my desk and saw that the song was titled To Leave Something Behind. The artist’s name, Sean Rowe, didn’t sound familiar to me. But the song, the lyrics, the guitar play and the voice had moved me deeply. So I opened my browser to find out more about this artist. I found his YouTube channel and discovered that this man is not only an amazing musician and singer-songwriter but a forager as well. In fact, he has two YouTube channels: one dedicated to his music, the other to foraging. I smiled. What are the odds of discovering a musician who is also a forager within a week from having that conversation where my friend told me about living off the land in his mountain valley? It sure is funny how things play out in this realm and I very much appreciate synchronicities that make me smile.
After listening to more of Sean Rowe’s songs I decided to watch one of his videos on foraging. I love it when people are multitalented and don’t limit themselves to doing only one thing. Multi-creativity is a language I speak fluently and I have a soft spot for other multi-passionate creatives—not in the last place because seeing their multi-creativity in action always rekindles my own creativity and inspiration. As I was watching the foraging video an old project idea resurfaced. I had been planning to create a series of botanical paintings, more than once, but never actually got to execute that plan. I should really do that, one of these weeks, I thought. I have been wanting to do that for so long, and I always feel happy when I’m painting, especially when I am painting elements of nature…
And then… the penny dropped.
My friend and his valley experiences, the Into the Wild festival, the musician who is also a forager, the rekindling of my botanical paintings project… It felt as if the Wild was trying to get my attention, inviting me to connect with nature, both outside and within, on yet another, deeper level.
The Wild was calling me.
And I realized: the Wild had been calling and inviting me for years… and I had even been answering her call, without really being aware of it…
Stages of an organic unfoldment
All of a sudden I could see clearly how the Wild had been pulling me closer and closer over the past 9 years. Every major decision I made in the past 9 years had led to me coming into closer contact with nature and her wildness, even though my decisions were never prompted by a desire to move towards nature. Finding myself in closer proximity to nature had always been a consequence of decisions I made when opportunities that I had not even super actively been looking for somehow just “showed up” in my life. My reasons for moving to new places to live had, in the past 9 years, never been connected to an active desire to live more in tune with nature. They were always rooted in something else, in other motives. Still, every single one of them had brought me closer to nature and her wildness and had led to a deepening of my bond with nature…
Nature to the rescue
As I wrote in this post, in the fall of 2021 I was given the opportunity to move into the “cabin in the woods” I currently call home. Since then, I live amidst nature and am surrounded by trees, shrubs, herbs and the many creatures living in these woods. There are agricultural fields and moorlands within walking distance and on the small patch of land that I call my garden, dandelions, nettle, blackberries, lavender, rosemary, Himalayan balsam and vines all grow abundantly. Nature thrives, here. But I didn’t when I arrived…
When I arrived here I was in need of a lot of healing and detox—from the life I had left behind. I needed to rest, recuperate and refind myself after a series of difficult years involving an unhealthy relationship that took a heavy toll on my health and wellbeing. In the aftermath of that relationship I was very much in need of healing, and just when I thought I could not possibly take it any longer to continue living in the place I was living in at the time, the opportunity to move into my tiny house in the woods opened up. I had been wanting to move to these grounds since I first came here, back in 2017, but the right opportunity never presented itself—until the day I literally needed it more than ever before. When I needed it most, a new door was opened. A door that was literally located in “the Wild”.
And that wasn’t the first time nature came to the rescue with perfect timing...
The guardian dog & the birches
9 years ago I had a pretty scary experience when my heart started doing crazy things. One day, I was on my way to the woodlands for a run. I had been feeling tense, agitated and anxious for days in a row and although I also felt very tired, I figured a run in the woods would do me well. As I was quietly walking, on my way to the woods, I noticed my heart was beating very fast and with a really strong pulse. I looked on my sport watch and the number I saw made me think my watch was in need of a battery replacement. Those numbers couldn’t be correct, no way… I tried to run for a bit, and that’s when I saw the numbers go really crazy. Later that day, at the GP’s, I learned what the words tachycardia, arrhythmia and extrasystole meant and was immediately prescribed beta blockers to lower my heart rate. My heart was “out of control”—which, in hindsight, mirrored how I was feeling on the inside, emotionally, but had been conditioned to repress. Fact is: this episode occurred when I was living in an environment that is extremely stressful to me, loaded with elements that can easily trigger severe past trauma. I was having ptsd reactions to being in that place. My mind has always been strong enough to deal with the psycho-emotional side of things that have happened in the past but my nervous system and cardiovascular system could no longer be overruled by the mind… My body, my guardian dog that always has my best interest in mind, cannot be fooled and will do whatever it can to alert and protect me, was barking, and it was barking really loud…
When I told a dear friend of mine what was happening she invited me to come over to her place for a couple of days, to get away from the trigger filled environment I was in and get some much needed rest. Once at her place, she spontaneously offered me to stay and come live at her place, so that I could be in an environment where I’d feel safe enough to work through the c-ptsd related issues that had come to the surface. I accepted her offer and decided to stay—which was one of the best decisions I ever made.
This friend had a huge garden, with fruit trees, vegetable patches, a greenhouse and a woodland section with trees that had been planted by her late husband, a shaman. Many of those trees were birches—one of my favorite trees. And just being there, sitting on the Earth and lying under those trees, was sooooo soothing and turned out to be exactly what I needed. It assisted greatly in calming down my nervous system and helped me a lot with being (and staying) present in my body while I worked through the issues that were in need of healing. Being in that woodland section calmed me, nurtured me, comforted me and grounded me. That year, I experienced what I have since been calling “tree medicine”. Connected with the trees, I was able to work through some of the most painful and difficult experiences of my life. The strength and resilience of the trees helped me feel and claim my own strength and resilience. Their flexibility reminded me of my own flexibility. The way they endured the changing seasons and all kinds of external influences showed me how I, too, could endure whatever came my way. Their ways of being and interacting with all that surrounds them became powerful examples to live by. My bond with trees deepened, a lot. And my heartbeat and nervous system got a lot calmer. Since that year I call trees my friends, refer to the woodlands as my sanctuary and know for a fact that nature truly is a very powerful, multifaceted healer.
When in Rome…
Once the tree medicine had worked its magic, I decided to go and live in Italy for a while. I had fallen in love with Italy in my teens, lived in Sicily for a while when I was 18, had then turned my love for the Italian language and culture into a master’s degree in Italian language, linguistics and literature and a master’s degree in teaching, had become a sworn translator and a language teacher and had held seminars and coaching sessions in Italy in the years 2010 and 2011. I speak Italian fluently, have oftentimes felt quite at home in Italy and over the years several friends and business contacts had been asking me why I didn’t move to Italy. After my tree medicine sessions, moving to Italy, or at least going there for 6 or 12 months, seemed like an excellent idea. I could use some new, positive experiences and as long as there is a stable internet connection I can work from pretty much anywhere. Pondering the idea, I spoke about it with an Italian friend of mine. A couple of days later this friend invited me to come and stay at his place, in the Rome area, for as long as I wanted. I gratefully accepted his invitation, decided I’d call it a “sabbatical” and soon found myself booking a flight, shipping a couple of boxes with clothes and work related materials and off we went, my cat and I, on to new adventures.
I knew this friend was a poet and a highly skilled mason. I had seen photos of his mason work that clearly showed he had the blood of an artist running through his veins. I also knew he was pretty well versed in esoteric topics and occult knowledge. In fact, our shared interest in, and studies of, the esoteric and the occult was the foundation of the friendship we had until then been cultivating online, chatting and videocalling. What I didn’t know before arriving at his place, was that this man lived in a rural area close to the sea and was also a skilled woodworker, a talented jewelry crafter and an excellent painter, had a garden filled with fruit trees, knew a lot about the individual energetic qualities of specific trees/woods and lunar and solar influences on trees and plants and was a master at crafting objects for specific purposes. Without going into details that might some of you raise your eyebrows, let me just say that commissioned wand making is a real thing and a very serious craft. My friend turned out to be quite versed in the alchemical arts and knew a lot about working with nature’s materials and energy.
During my sabbatical in Italy my knowledge of occult and alchemical practices expanded significantly and I learned a lot about the energetic qualities of different trees and their saps, the importance of pruning and cutting branches at specific times during the lunar cycle and how to work with intention during the different stages of the crafting process. Equally as important, I had lots of fun practicing the art of alchemy in less occult ways, doing “normal” things that I had never done before. I really enjoyed turning the limoni di Sorrento from the garden into the best limonata I have ever tasted—plus 4 bottles of home made Limoncello that was pretty tasty as well. I loved going on quests to find beautiful pieces of driftwood we then turned into one of a kind candle holders. I had a lot of fun when we turned an old pile of terracotta (literally: cooked earth) tiles into mosaic fragments we then used to create a new table top for the patio table. And yes, I also learned how to create my very own wand and staff, from branches of the fruit trees in the garden.
My sabbatical in Italy taught me how to work with nature in ways I hadn’t been familiar with before—hands on ways, very practical ways, literally using my hands in sync with my intuition.
It also taught me to overcome my conditioned (knee-jerk) reactions to nature’s creatures I wasn’t familiar with and/or hadn’t yet been able to see the beauty of. My cat and I learned to share a patio and a garden with a big tortoise that would bite toes or paws when given the chance, and we learned to cohabitate with a potter wasp that had decided to create a nest indoors and was almost continuously flying in with new materials for his building project—a truly fascinating thing to witness. In the garden, impressive toads would show up after heavy rainfall, I saw insects and spiders I had never seen before—and became quite intrigued by them—and I even got to meet the stick insect that, to this day, is one of the most fascinating creatures I have ever laid eyes on in real life (even though it took me a while to realize what I was looking at when what I thought was a little twig started to move and walk…). That year, I started to really look at many of the other species we share this realm with and observe their behavior, instead of shying away. And what I saw was magnificent. It opened my eyes to aspects of nature I had until then been rather blind to and it completely changed my ways of looking at, and interacting with, insects, spiders and other “strange creatures”.
New trees and luscious woodlands
After about 9 months I decided it was time to return to the Netherlands. But I had no idea how to go about finding an affordable place to live, considering the Dutch housing market was already pretty crazy back then. I was welcome to return to the place where I had been living before moving to Italy (my friend’s place, with the tree medicine garden) but I really wanted to have a place of my own. The best thing I could think of was, for starters, telling my Dutch friends I wanted to come back, and doing some intention work along the lines of a practice I had recently been reading about. That practice required me to get really clear about what I wanted and then sort of “super-boost” all my senses while envisioning myself in the desired outcome situation. Not having anything to loose, I decided to truly go for what I really wanted at the time, house wise, even though I didn’t think it would be possible to find a place that would have all the elements I longed for.
I wanted my next house to have a lot of space, a big living room with lots of daylight coming in through the windows, two bedrooms (so that I could turn one of them into a studio), a bath tub and an outdoor area where no one would be able to see or bother me, preferably a roof terrace where my sun loving cat and myself could enjoy the sun. I also wanted it to be a place where I’d feel safe, which at the time meant that I didn’t want it to be a street level appartment. But I did want to see trees when looking out of the living room windows so there had to be trees in front of the house. Also, I wanted it to not be expensive, the place had to be indoor-cat-friendly and the person or corporation I was going to rent it from would have to be okay with the fact that I couldn’t show proof of a fixed amount of income every month. Where exactly this place would be didn’t matter to me; as long as it had the elements mentioned I was fine with it. I envisioned all the things mentioned to the best of my abilities and did my best to make the experience as sensory and emotion-packed as possible.
Within a week one of my friends in the Netherlands sent me an email telling me that she had, by word of mouth, found a place that I could rent if I wanted to, in a small village in the southern part of the Netherlands that I had never heard of. The place had all the elements I had been “dreaming into being”. The day I arrived, the square in front of my new place was a huge mess. The old pavements had been removed because they were changing the layout of the square and adding in trees. When the reconstruction works finished there were many more trees than there had been before, a couple of them planted right in front of my living room windows. :-)
This small village that I would be living in for six years turned out to be located very close to a beautiful woodland area. It took me only a 7 minutes walk to enter the most luscious woodlands I had ever been in and in the years I lived in that area I have spent LOTS of hours roaming those woodlands, in solitude. They became my therapist, my medicine, my meditation space, my training grounds, my playground, my relaxation rooms, my gas station, my real life walkthrough documentaries environment, my muse, my post office, my reality checker, my safe place, my sanctuary. They became really important to me and intensely fuelled my felt sense of being one with nature, being part of nature.
Roaming those woodlands and communing with nature, I finally found a sense of belonging, for the very first time in my life. A sense of belonging that had nothing to do with places or people. The more I connected with those woodlands and all forms of life present therein, the more I was able to feel that I belong, to this moment in time and this realm we are in. Regardless of all the craziness of this day and age in this realm, regardless of what has transpired in my personal life, regardless of oftentimes feeling like an alien in this world, when I align myself with nature I feel that I am part of what is natural in this realm and that I do belong here.
Finding that sense of belonging was The Great Gift living in the small village close to the woodlands has given me. When I first entered the village, I thought I needed the house with all the elements I previously mentioned. When I left the village, I knew that what I had really been in need of was what I had found in its backyard: a profound sense of belonging that is connected to nature, and all things nature, my own nature included. Having found that, I was ready to move on to the next stage of my journey, the one I am currently in, in my tiny house amidst nature.
I see, now. And I hear, now…
Looking back on all these stages of my journey through the lens I received when the penny dropped, in August, it is now quite easy for me to see the thread that connects the seemingly separate stages. Even though I experienced every stage as being separate from the previous stage, there has always been a green-brown thread connecting all the stages, weaving a meaningful tapestry of experiences and connecting me more with nature and her wildness—as well as with my own nature and aspects of my own wildness—with every step along the way. It has been an organic process, woven into existence by splendid synchronicities, wonderful serendipities and the help of loving friends who were able to perceive and act upon subtle cues when I was unable to do so myself.
The Wild has been calling me very often in the last 9 years—incessantly, really. And even when I was unaware of her calling things played out in a way that made sure I did end up where I was being called to.
Now that I am writing these sentences, a memory of a holiday in Italy at the end of 2013 comes to mind. During that year’s holiday season I went to Piemonte with an Italian friend of mine and got to meet his friends and family. Among the many people I met in those weeks was a little girl (his brother’s daughter) who immediately stole my heart. Her blonde curly hair and certain aspects of her personality reminded me of the little girl I once was, and she had the most amazing name I had ever heard. Her name was Selvaggia, literally meaning: “the wild one”. I remember thinking that if ever I’d give birth to a daughter, I’d give her that name. I met Selvaggia the year before my journey towards the wild started. Surely feels like an awesome cosmic wink, now. ;-)
Chances are the Wild has been been calling me many times in recent months, prior to the events of the month of August. But the thing is: the Wild tends to call us in many subtle ways. And if we aren’t still enough or don’t pay enough attention, her subtle calls and cues can easily go unnoticed. I am pretty sure I must’ve missed some of her calls. But now… I hear the call. I hear it loud and clear.
Nature is calling me. The Wild is calling me, again, inviting me to connect with her in new ways, reaching even deeper levels of connection and relationship.
And not just with her… with my own wildness as well….
In these first days of September, as we are heading towards the equinox, I am becoming aware that there are parts of myself that long to run free, roam, dance in ways my adult self has never allowed them to. There is a wildness in me that has been tamed when I was very young and that longs to come out now. It wants to be untamed, unleashed. It longs to be free—free to just be, and dance to the beat of her own drum.
Remember I wrote about aspects of myself that are in need of some kind of liberation, and that I suspect setting those parts free is related to my quest for purpose?
On my quest for purpose I started rereading Frankl’s book on meaning, but the synchronicities of the month of August all pointed to the Wild. Today, I can see why. What I am looking for will not be found in a book. It will be found in the Wild.
The time has come for me to rewild myself.
What that will look like, I do not know.
But I’m sure I will be doing exactly what is right for me, as long as I keep listening.
There is a purpose to the call of the Wild.
All I need to do is heed the call…
"To be wild is not to be crazy or psychotic.
True wildness is a love of nature, a delight in silence, a voice free to say spontaneous things, and an exuberant curiosity in the face of the unknown."
~ Robert Bly
The song that mesmerized me as I was doing the dishes. I highly recommend his work, both his original songs and his amazing cover songs. Be warned, though: clicking on this link can lead to binge-listening ;-)
There are, to the best of my current knowledge, many different levels of experience and awareness, each with their own “shadows on the wall” (cfr. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave). Anyone claiming to know the truth and wanting to wake people up to what is perceived, by the “truther”, as the ultimate, one and only, absolute truth, is still stuck in the house of mirrors—in another room than the one they have left behind, mistaking the new room for the absolute truth, mistaking a new map for the terrain.
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