Finding the wilderness in yourself is almost always a discovery that comes after so many moments of feeling lost, almost victimized by the vastness of the world and our experiences of it. To accept yourself in the wilderness is a courageous and humble realization, it reveals that somehow, despite your best efforts to surrender, you are never really lost in the wild. The overwhelm is real, but it is a response to losing the wild awareness of yourself. Our culture prioritizes pregnant nouns like "strength" or "faith" or "love" to distract us with symptoms of our own authentic selves. I believe that if we can embrace that the true distinguisher between our ability to navigate this life, or not, really lies in our willingness to capitalize our resources of experience and find the courage to admit our own limitations and work with or in spite of them, rather than to capitalize on our collections of nouns. Any time we define ourselves exclusively by our strength, for instance, we are immediately limiting our capacity to grow and refusing the opportunity to learn from our weaknesses. I want to be more than a strong one, I have intentions with my capacity and its own vastness to resolve behaviors and experiences, to process what needs to be process and live with as few ghosts as possible of what i cannot resolve. That is what the wilderness is, a place beyond definition that will not suffer the lines we draw around it. Those boundaries are in fact, training wheels to confine and excuse our limitations as finish lines, barriers to creation, surrender to things that we don't want to be held accountable to. That is not life, it's passenger-dom. To exist in the wilderness is not a matter of survival, is breathing full bore into the grey areas, looking for opportunities to get more information and moving forward despite the many ways in which our culture tries to draw lines around us and commit us to definitions and subordination within our own experiences. I call these pregnant nouns, because they are full of meaning that we bring into fruition -- they are not real or actualized unless we decide to give them life. Resist definitions.
Admittedly, we all seek meaning and a sense of purpose, but i could challenge anyone to ask what that meaning will serve? If i choose a noun, it is something I am accountable to tending and even ones like "strength" with all of their positive connotations, still tend to fluctuate in their appropriation of my life. I want the freedom to change my mind. This is why I believe instead in words like "courage" or even "fear," because they speak more to the moment before we discover what our capacity is in a given situation. It is only an intention but it breeds trust in ourselves. I may not always need "strength," but i cannot imagine a time where courage or even fear would not be of value.
I crave the wilderness, where I am still capable of adapting to new surroundings, moving where I need to seek nourishment, and defending what I instinctively need, while being accountable to everything that I interact with in my environment. Things change, it's the only really constant. Truth be told, our culture prizes the illusion of completeness, of definitions, of being accountable only to ourselves and so we are forgetting that we are only a tiny piece of a constantly evolving world community, we have a responsibility to evolve with it or be excluded by it. For it's own survival, the world will draw lines around us to contain us if we choose to disregard our accountability to it. Why suffer that isolation? Why allow a limitation to define us? Why deny our hunger for connection? To be wild does not require constant engagement, but rather that we are in a state of awareness that serves our space in the grey areas of life. And life feels mostly in-between to me these days. Both/and instead of either/or, we are returning to inclusiveness. In this way, we are not helpless, we are accountable, we are awake, and we are willing to engage our ability to choose and to change our actions. I think that's all it takes to live authentically -- we have two eyes, keep them open, why miss the opportunity to witness our lives. Time is our most precious currency and to witness is our most precious gift. To be a witness is to validate the experience of another, even if we feel alone in the wilderness, it becomes our own witness. Aloneness is the real mythology of our culture.
Remember that you are the wilderness, and the wilderness is your home, it is your self. You exist, at every moment, in a wild awareness that holds a space for you to know yourself and to find yourself and to use your wilderness as a tool to navigate every moment. You cannot be lost in the wilderness, it is where you are found. It is you.