“We need wilderness and extravagance. Whatever shuts a human being away from the waterfall and the tiger will kill him.” — Robert Bly “Iron John”
For many of us in the Western Culture, our world was blown open in a harsh way this year. We were forced inside for our own good and the good of those around us. Naturally some of agreed this was right, others thought it was bogus, but we all found out that the rhythm we thought we had, did not end up to be so.
Violence and Murder once again were the catalyst for Social Justice and Racial Equality movements.
The pandemic made us ask — How could this happen?
The murder of innocent Black Men and Women made us ask — How does this keep happening?
The communities we had worked long to develop, all of a sudden, changed.
I’ve neglected the impact this has had on my mental health, simply because the stress of thinking about the stress this year has brought…was more stressful itself. I consider this a luxury and a point of privilege, of which I am very aware. I’ve begun to do this work now, and have seen many close to me also dive into this work, or be forced into it, and it is not easy. It’s not fun. It is hard.
I want to say this before I go on, if you are doing this work, or you are contemplating diving in, please know you can do it. If you are afraid by how messy it may get, that’s ok too. Just know that a lot of clay hits the floor before the final pot is molded.
Now is a good time to start asking questions.
Ask yourself questions. Ask others as well.
Take a look at the rhythms and foot work you have developed up to this point and be ok breaking them down -
Is this dance the best one for me?
Do I know it as well as I used to?
How do I learn a new one?
As with most things, it is important for us to get outside. Not into bars or restaurants or movie theaters, but to go outside. We need to be thrust back into the wilderness. To learn how to live again. To feel tired from a long walk or hike. To wrestle with the darkness of the night in the deep woods, or stand down the bear. We need Nature to awake the Nature in us. We’ve been inside too long. For some of us, way longer than just these past months.
So for today I want to encourage you to do two things —
- Ask Questions — Big ones or small, and this part is important — asking a question does not imply you have to have the answer. Sit with the unknown and search as long as it takes.
- Go Outside — Spend some real time with your hands in the dirt. Be in the elements and allow yourself to feel that innate connection we all have with the land we came up from.