“Without wildness we have no creativity. No species does.” Matthew Fox
Is your wildness alive in you? How does it express itself? Is it part of your creativity?
Recently, when I watched the film Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames, I was moved by her comments about integrating her perfectionist and wild aspects. I definitely related to her comments and challenges because, as I explained in last week’s blog Awakening to Release Our Perfectionism, these aspects are parts of my personality.
We Can Express Our Wildness Through Creativity
I remember only too well playing in the mud, climbing trees and hiking in the forest where I had so much freedom, but like Marion, on Sunday I had to dress up in a dress and patent-leather shoes and move in a very lady-like fashion. It didn’t help that I was often ill as a child and confined to my bed.
Instead of experiencing my wildness by running around the yard, I spent many hours in bed designing paper doll clothes, reading, or sewing. It was then that my mind learned to run wild even when my body couldn’t. There was no teacher there to critique my artistic work and my mother never criticized it. In fact, she always encouraged my creative expression.
Perhaps I didn’t need to run wild so much because we lived close to nature with chickens and rabbits in the back yard pen and a garden that produced corn, potatoes, green beans, and lettuce. The chinaberry tree in the back yard produced leaves, flowers, and berries that we used to spice up our mud pies. When the family did something together it was usually outdoors in a park or by a stream where my brother and I swam and our parents fished for bass or catfish.
Wildness Is A Natural Aspect Of Nature
Living so close to nature, its cycles seemed natural just as it seemed natural, although not pleasant, that during tornado season when the sirens sang, we hid in the safest part of the house. We knew the chaos of nature as well as its serenity. We accepted it as part of life.
When we create a work of art or any creative thing, it appears first within us. It may be only a glimmer of an idea, swimming around in our mental fog, and we may not be quite clear what it wants to be: a project, a poem, a song, or a new way to cook chicken.
Creativity Comes From Chaos
Matthew Fox says, “Creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and, indeed, to dance with it as we listen to it and attempt some ordering.” This learning to create order from chaos may well be one of the most useful aspects of being creative, regardless of what activity we embrace.
We Discover Who We Are Through Creativity
It is in these creative moments, trying to create form from chaos, that we use our minds in ways that benefit us mentally and emotionally. Through this process we also express who we are, allowing our wildness to take us into unknown territory and express and create in the way that only we can. What we create may surprise us as well as those around us.
In the ninth grade, I drew a charcoal picture one day in art class that totally mystified my teacher. “Different,” she said to my parents who visited the class on parents’ night. In the foreground was a phoenix and in the background were dark clouds and fallen Greek columns from the front of what was probably a Greek temple.
Neither the teacher, nor I, nor my parents had any idea of the symbolism contained in the picture. It was only years later when I studied mythology and symbolism that I understood. In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a bird that dies and is reborn, a symbol of immortality. I don’t know what the storm was in my life at the time, but clearly, I survived it for, in some sense, I was the phoenix. There was life in the midst of destruction.
Nature Teaches Us About Natural Wildness
Because my life has been so enriched by my closeness to nature and the seasons and I see the cycles as opportunities to explore various aspects of myself, I have found peace with my wildness. I understand that the best way to tame it is through loving it and expressing it through creative activity, just as the earth cycles through its version of death and rebirth.
On her website, Jennifer Currie interprets the meaning of the Tarot cards and she speaks about wildness as it is expressed by the Strength card where a woman usually embraces a lion. “You don’t tame the beast by beating it down—you tame it through love and acceptance.” And I would add—by using it to create.
Being Close To Nature Reduces Stress and Violence
Too often when we are children, our wildness is squelched without a creative alternative being offered that allows us to tame our own wildness with love. Perhaps one of the reasons inner city youth become violent is that they do not have a place where they can “run wild” without causing harm or being harmed. Instead of encouraging them to express that wildness creatively, the environment models being “lawless.”
I am thankful that there are now many programs that take youth out into the wilderness and introduce them to authentic wildness. Scientific studies are beginning to show that the time we spend in the forest or on the mountain have a calming effect on the brain and help to release stress. Therefore, it is very beneficial for adults and children to find time when we can just be with the natural world.
Creativity Connects Us With All That Is
While we need to be able to live with the wildness that comes as a normal part of life, we also need to learn how to find peace with it and allow it to feed our creativity in ways that will bring new awareness and expression into our lives. It is in our creative moments that we often connect with Spirit and become One with all that is.
Are you in touch with your wildness? How do you express it in your life? Please share and comment.
© 2015 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
Related Articles: Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet by Matthew Fox(video), Creativity in the Wild: Improving Creative Reasoning Through Emersion in Natural Settings, Does Nature Make Us Happy?
I sometimes, maybe even usually, have to coax myself into expressing my wildness. I agree that closeness to nature helps nurture that quality. It seems like my introverted nature and challenge in the area of self-confidence sometime hold me back, however. Pushing myself just a bit at a time in creative expression seems to help me progress, though — keeping it safe for myself, I suppose. I go ahead and try something while painting in art class without asking the teacher’s advice first, or audition for a role that’s a bit more of stretch for me than usual or at a theatre that seems slightly out of my reach. These little steps seem to come from the wildness I let through.
Your comment is very thoughtful. Thank you for sharing it.
Thanks for sharing this, Georganne.
Wonderful. Your posts are always food for thought.
I can relate to that it is important to be in nature. I experience that as very nourishing, too.
About wildness, I’d express it as follows:
When I am connected to the place of inner peace, then I am connected to Source and this is the place from where an impulse to do something may arise.
Sometimes that which arises is contrary to what people around me want me to do. And then there is a conflict between what I want to do and what society expects.Then, it requires some courage to do what I want to do.
This is when I’d say that things feel wild.
For example, the sudden urge to sing out loud in the large staircase of our company. This sounds like singing in the shower. But since a lot of people would find this weird, it would be a ‘wild’ thing to do.
If there are no conflicts between this inner urge and outer expectations, then there is no wildness in my experience. Things are just coming up and – without judgment – everything just is. Innocent.