You may remember a fearless version of your once-upon-a-time self who fearlessly pushed boundaries and was powerfully imaginative, magically creative, and shamelessly confident. Over time, you may have lost her. Have you started to sense that it’s time to find her again?
Contrary to what the word “wild” might conjure for you in this context, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD (Women Who Run With the Wolves, Ballantyne, 1992) wrote that women’s “wildish” nature refers to innate integrity and protection of healthy boundaries. That sounds reasonable enough, right?
But the wildish side is trained out of us early. As young girls, we relinquished authority to the school bell that rang permission to play, to eat, and even to relieve ourselves. We learned that being ladylike is a virtue, that nonconformity is frowned upon. We learned that it was honourable to sacrifice our own well-being for others. We buried our creativity under the weight of obligation, and we took on the social shame of having a woman’s body.
Yet, it seems that at some point in every woman’s life, the wildish side awakens, and we are called to go in search of our true nature. Now, more than ever, the world needs women who are willing to stand in their integrity and embrace their well-earned wildish wisdom.
Rewilding yourself doesn’t involve stripping naked, rolling in the mud, and going about the day with dried leaves matted in your unwashed hair—not that there’s anything wrong with that! Rewilding yourself simply involves shedding some of the social expectations that don’t serve your highest good and, instead, following your inner guidance about who you are and how to be.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the easiest way to start the journey away from so-called “civilized” social expectations is to reconnect with Mother Nature. Along with the health benefits of being immersed in greenery, you may also be empowered by feeling the interconnectedness of all things.
Get outside and plant your bare feet in the dirt. Evidence shows that “grounding” can help to stabilize your internal bioelectrical environment and recalibrate your body rhythms, including the sleep-wake cycle and cortisol secretion. When touching the earth is impossible, some traditional healing modalities suggest you may get grounding benefits from wearing black gemstones such as tourmaline, hematite, or obsidian.
Use only clean body care and home care products made with food-grade ingredients rather than synthesized or toxic chemicals. If Mother Nature didn’t make it, chances are pretty good she doesn’t know how to dispose of it. The same holds true with your body.
With electricity allowing us to burn the midnight Netflix, we’ve lost connection with the subtle cues of the sun and moon that are partners in our our biological rhythms, including the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Turn off the lights early and burn a few candles to provide gentle ambient light in your room.
Your intuition is evidence of your wildish side, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wise. In fact, research has shown that the nonconscious information we receive plays a critical role in decision-making.
Whether you think you have it or not, it’s there: you’ve likely had a “gut feeling” or knew something “in your heart.” You listened or you didn’t, and likely have a good story to share. If your intuition has become rusty, your wildish side needs you to polish it off.
Paint. Sing. Draw. Dance. Write. Make. You don’t have to be a master at your craft for it to be worthwhile. The magic is in the experience. Women are powerful creators, and immersion in our creative projects opens a doorway to knowing our potential.
Social expectations may have you striving for things you don’t even want, spending money and resources on things you don’t need, and essentially keeping you distracted so you don’t feel confident to live a life of your own choosing. Before making any decision about your life, your career, your relationship—even your next meal—pause and tune in to your innate knowing. What do you want?
After decades of fitting in to social expectations, it can be challenging to imagine letting them go. Lucky for us, being a wildish woman is a journey, rather than a destination.