Tag Archives: Wildness


“Without wildness we have no creativity. No species does.” Matthew Fox

Denver 008

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.

2013 005

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.

2014 012On 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.

2013 009 (2)

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?


“To be aware of one’s own feelings, needs, and values and to have the courage to act on them is the essence of conscious femininity.” Marion Woodman


Europa being carried off by Jupiter as a while bull.

Does the feminine side of your nature allow you to act on your feelings? Do you ever feel that being in the moment is more important than doing? How do you balance being and doing?

This week I saw an amazing film, Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames, about the famous Jungian analyst, and it reminded me how important valuing each moment is. The film delved into her interior life journey, her struggles and insights, and I felt deeply connected to many of her experiences.

dancing flames Marion woodman 1

Understanding Femininity Can Expand Our Awareness

The appearance of this movie at this time was very synchronistic because I have recently been drawn to Carl Jung’s theories and to mythology, particularly the stories of ancient femininity. These are all areas which were previously a large part of my life.

I lived in New Orleans for 12 years and taught a high school English class that included almost an entire semester of Greek mythology. At the same time, I was a member of the Jung Society where I attended lectures, workshops, and a Centerpoint class. Mythology was alive in New Orleans with streets named after the Greek Muses and krewes that created the Mardi Gras events named after gods and goddesses. At The same time, it was a place where people lived very much in the moment.


What Does It Mean When We Become Depressed

But that was during the late 80s and the 90s that I lived there, and while these influences have stayed with me, I have not been actively working with them. Then, in the last month or so, I have felt a strong desire to reread the many books I still have on the subject. Why am I feeling this? Do I want to write a novel placed in an ancient time? Do I want to write about mythology or Jungian psychology? I don’t know.

A great deal of depression about my life and my writing has accompanied this desire. Where am I going with all this? Is it worth it? Like many writers, I feel a conflict between spending time writing and marketing. In the midst of my tears, one day, I admitted, “I’m tired of trying to succeed!”

Nature Puts Us In Touch With Wildness

But hearing about Marion Woodman’s journey shifted something within me. As a child she spent time in the woods “running wild” and that developed her inner wildness; however, she was the daughter of a minister, so she also became a perfectionist in some ways, and this dichotomy was a challenge to integrate. Growing up close to nature in a family that had high expectations for me created a challenge in my life too.

Spirit May Assist Our Healing

Marion also had many health challenges and her healing experiences were very profound. I too have had strange experiences with health problems that no doctor could diagnose or cure, and I had to turn to my spiritual relationship to find guidance. In one case, like Marion, I demanded that Spirit end the problem or end my life. Continuing to experience that illness was not acceptable. Within three days, my problem went away although Marion’s experiences of healing were more dramatic than mine.

We Need To Be Willing To Work With Our Shadow


Marion has worked with addicts and pointed out that many times we turn to drugs, alcohol or other addictions to numb us so that we can avoid dealing with our shadow side. We all need to be able to face this darker side and work with it in order to heal ourselves. Unfortunately, in this culture, we are taught to ignore it and to always appear strong, happy, or content, but this is a dead end approach that will always end in addiction or disaster. Although I have never abused alcohol or drugs, I realize that I have been addicted to ways of thinking that blocked my growth.

By the time the movie was over, I was stunned by the similarites, but gradually a sense of peace came over me. A brilliant woman like Marion Woodman had gone through all of this too, finding her way by trusting herself and working with her shadow.

We Need To Value the Moment and Our Femininity

Suddenly I realized that it was okay for me to be where I was. It was okay not to know what I needed to do next or where I was headed with my writing. The only thing I needed to do was to value each moment and follow whatever emerged because staying in the moment made it possible for what was happening to become clear.

Just as we devalue and avoid the shadow, we also sometimes have devalued the feminine and this is particularly true in the sense that men have not been encouraged to value their feminine side, nor have women been encouraged to develop their masculine qualities. But the reality is that we all have feminine and masculine aspects, and when they are in balance, we are healthier human beings.


The more we become aware of what we feel and need at our deepest level, the more likely we are to act from who we truly are. As Woodman points out, if we act from values, feelings, and needs, we are acting with courage from our “conscious femininity.” This is the feminine part that exists in every man as well as every woman. In a culture that is so programmed to act from the rational, we need to be reminded there is more to consider and other ways to understand ourselves than to obey the rational.

The Moment Will Lead Us To the Answers

So, I am letting my feminine be the guide. I’m not creating an artificial goal to force me to “get to work.” I’m going to keep feeling whatever comes up. I’m going to notice what I need on a daily basis and fill that need if I can. With time, I know the larger picture will emerge if I stay in touch with my deeper feminine and the moment. I’ve been in this place before, and what I needed always appeared in some form. When the time is right, I’ll know what action I need to take.

In the meantime, Marion Woodman’s story has been a marvelous inspiration and I am committed to valuing each moment of each day.

What value do you find in the moment? When is being in the moment most important to you? Please comment.

Next week, I’ll write about my journey to let go of perfection.

© 2015 Georganne Spruce                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames – Two Marions,   In Touch With Carl Jung (BlogTalk Radio)



“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”               Thoreau  – thoreau’s Birthday is today

What is your relationship to nature?  Are you a hiker, fisherman, gardener?  What part of you comes alive when you are in touch with nature?

The Soul Is Wild

“The soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy.  If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out.  But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.”  Parker Palmer

What is it about wildness that touches so many of us deeply?  For my friend Jerry, it is nature’s inability to be domesticated.  Even at four years of age, he was allowed to go into the forest where he created fantasy games, often related to the stories he was reading.  The woods were his playground.  As a young man, he ran a program similar to Outward Bound.  He was a woodsman first and later became a psychologist.

Wildness Is Central To Spirituality

Jerry often quotes William Blake or Thoreau, both writers who embody wildness.  When I asked him how wildness relates to his spirituality, he said, “It is central to it.  I’m part of the natural—part and parcel of the fauna—I’m not outside looking in.  I can’t think of spirituality without wildness.  I’m not sure I could be wild if I lived in the city all the time because that environment is so domesticated.”

The Space With No Name

During my twenties, I was enthralled with the Romanic writers, the transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau, who saw a deep, but wild connection between nature and spirituality.  So, when I was first invited to visit Jerry’s “Space With No Name,” I was truly awed by its natural beauty and felt as if I had stepped into another world.

After Jerry and his wife Jane moved to their cabin in the woods, he needed a space to put his parents who had passed away and been buried on someone else’s land.  After one plan fell through, he found a beautiful rhododendron area.  As he wandered through it, he thought, “This is not a graveyard, the old burial ground; this is a wilderness space that will sanctify my parents.”

Gathering wood off the ground, he created a little container and using the contours of the hill as paths, he created this special space.  He put creatures on the fence posts and before long, he says, “The space over ran itself.” Every day he walked the paths, very attentive to what was there, then the next day in the very space that had been empty, a creature would appear—branches with knarled ends or pine knots, stumps with interesting configurations, or rocks with faces.  Things began to show up on their own, and he swears they also moved around, sometimes falling off perches or appearing mysteriously in new places. He insists, “I swear, it became alive.”

I have no doubt this is a sacred space.  The last time I was there, I glanced toward a small metal sculpture of a dancing earth mother and was stunned by what I saw next to it.  In the same area was a knarled wooden creature that looked like a samurai warrior that had once appeared in a vision I had while meditating.  For a moment, all time and space was one, and my unconscious become conscious—which is what this space does to one.

In “The Space With No Name” there are around a thousand creatures, natural and ones created from several natural forms.  I asked Jerry, “Aren’t these composite creatures art?”

“I don’t want to claim it as art,” he said.  “It’s fine with me if people say, ‘You’re not a caretaker, you’re an artist.  It may be one and the same thing.  I was never a painter, poet, or composer.  I didn’t and don’t do Art, yet living so close to Art, I recognize and appreciate her presence, practice, and performance, and her Wildness, and She has surprised me with a gift of animistic sensibility in the “Space With No Name,” where I am in close communion with the living, breathing woods and hundreds of wild creatures, including rocks, roots, stumps, pine knots.  There are hawks, bugs and birds; trees, red fox, wild turkey, bob cat, bear, raccoons and possum; stealthy presence of coyotes.  Neither owner nor creator of this space, I am lucky to be its caretaker.

Being One With All That Is

His animism permeates Jerry’s whole life.  “This rock, in my space, that I sit on has an eternity I don’t have.  I wouldn’t take all this as seriously as I do if I weren’t animistic.  I’d say, ‘That’s just a tree stump.’  But it’s so much more.  One day, Jane was working on a sculpture, a mask.  I was walking around and saw something sticking out of a tree stump.  I was curious so I pulled it out—it looked like a mask.”  He pointed to the mask-like image sitting on the tree stump in front of us.  When we are in touch with our core of wildness and Oneness, these things often happen.

As I listened to Jerry, I realized his relationship to nature exemplifies Oneness.  We are all a part of Oneness—one with each other, nature, and the Universe, but we are not all conscious of it.  It is only when we become aware of it, that it enriches our lives. The wildness of Oneness is at the core of what Jerry experiences each day when he enters the “Space With No Name.”  He is truly blessed by that experience, and I am truly blessed to know him and his wife Jane who shares his sensibilities.

What part of yourself do you find in nature?

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                           ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles:  Awakening to Wildness, Being Authentic, Part 1, John Muir, Zen Buddhism in John Muir

AWAKENING TO OUR WILDNESS, Being Authentic, Part 1

“Be your authentic self.  Your authentic self is who you are when you have no fear of judgment, or before the world starts pushing you around and telling you who you’re supposed to be.  Your fictional self is who you are when you have a social mask on to please everyone else.  Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.”  Dr. Phil

When you dance with life, which dance do you prefer: the one someone else created or the one you created?  Who are you really?

Getting in Touch With Our Untamed Self

There is a part of me that has always remained untamed.  As a child and for many years, it primarily remained underground.  I tried to be a good girl, not cause trouble, and do the right thing.  As a result, I was very uptight, nervous, anxious, and socially uncomfortable.  I had this feeling that who I really was, this thinking, creative being, wasn’t a good thing.

But there were two things that saved me.  The first was that my family spent many hours out-of-doors where I experienced Oneness with nature.  When the weather was good, we went on hikes, swam in lakes and rivers, and picnicked under the trees.  In the silence of nature, there were no expectations, only the silence in which to be.  And I loved our pet cats because they were cuddly and playful, but undomesticated unlike dogs.  They simply remained who they were.

The second thing that saved me was my creative nature.  That creative energy within felt like the real me.  It was spacey and flowing, unpredictable and joyful, not at all practical like the main quality of most of my kin.  As a child, I created wardrobes for my paper dolls; as an adolescent, I was in plays and wrote speeches; as a young adult, I became committed to being a modern dancer; as a mature adult, I began writing.  Those creative expressions came from a mysterious and unique place deep within me that no one else could touch.

Hiding Behind Society’s Masks

As I entered adulthood and faced my impending marriage, I became aware of the extent to which I had learned to accommodate who I was supposed to be.  Sometimes, I caught myself telling little white lies.  They were created to keep the peace, and I realized I had been doing that for a long time out of fear of being rejected.  I began to monitor myself and tried to be more honest in my communication with those I cared about because I knew I wasn’t being totally genuine.

But being a good wife, teacher, and dancer was stressful.  In Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, my spiritual memoir, I reflected on this dilemma.  “At times, who I was seemed as mysterious to me as the mystery of who Gary [my husband] was. What was behind the masks we wore? We put on our husband and wife masks and did the marriage dance, the balletic pas de deux—playing the prince and princess. We smiled, we touched each other affectionately in public. He brought me flowers when I performed and roses on Valentine’s. We celebrated birthdays, promotions, and performances. But sometimes beneath his persona as a police officer, behind the uniform and the revolver, I saw moments I pretended not to see—moments of insecurity he pretended didn’t exist, doubts—doubts about himself, our marriage, or me.”

We play out these conditioned roles because it is uncomfortable to go against society or our families.  People we love may desert us.  We may lose a job.  This happened to me twice because I refused to do what I felt was unethical. When others are comfortable doing the foxtrot, they resent our doing the tango. But as long as we wear the masks others create for us, we are dancing their dance, not ours.

We are taught these roles are who we are supposed to be, but who we are authentically can only be created by us.  Shakespeare said it best, “This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.”(Hamlet)  And that is the core of it.  If we cannot be honest with ourselves about who we are, we cannot be honest with others.

Being Authentic Makes Us Free

Being authentic is true freedom.  It puts us in touch with our Wildness, that purity of nature that lures us to the forest or ocean, for the energy and essence of nature is within us.  We are all One.  When we are in touch with our Wildness, our Oneness, we no longer fear the judgments of others.  We empower ourselves by accepting who we are, and on the deepest level, what we think of ourselves is all that matters.  This is not to say that we do not have to treat others in a responsible manner.  It does mean that we will take full responsibility for our own choices and accept the consequences of our actions.  If we mess up, we have to clean it up.

When we are authentic, we feel secure, for we are also connected with our inner spirit, and thus with that Spirit that is Oneness.  In the silence of meditation or nature or creative expression, we are able to touch our deepest core and who we truly are.  When we are authentic, it is easy to love ourselves.  When we love ourselves, it is easier to love others and to draw to us those people who will truly love us for who we are.

Next week, I will introduce you to a friend who has created a space in which to experience his Wildness, The Space With No Name.

In one sentence, who are you really?

©2012 Georganne Spruce                                                        ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

Related Articles: The Dance Edition: Watch the Yang Li Ping video, Being Truly Authentic, Wayne Dyer talks about being yourself