The Wildness Within
I was watching a film last night, The Space In Between, and I heard a line in it that to me was profound, I hope I am remembering it correctly – ‘what you imagine is never as wild as what is real’. This impacted me as I reflected on all the times, I wanted to be somewhere else rather than where I was, or to be doing something other than being present to what I was doing in that moment. It reminds me of the purpose of mindfulness and presence, and my father’s words – ‘far away hills are green’.
I am thinking of this as I look out the window in this moment and a sparrow is sitting on a small branch, that I could reach if I put out my arm. I stand still and observe this tiny creation and marvel at the sound that comes out of these small lungs.
I listen to its song and see its body expand and shrink. I notice the little feathers being ruffled by the gentle breeze, eyes darting as it watches me from its perch. I wonder what it sees in me. I am struck by the perfection of its leathery feet and how it balances on such a tiny moving branch. The sparrow flies away and I feel the loss.
The words of Irish philosopher John Moriarty comes to mind, in an interview years ago with Tommy Tiernan (available on YouTube) he talks about the wildness and associated freedom in us, and he says if the wildness inside of us dies we are finished. He proposes that unless there is wildness around us in nature, that something terrible happens to the wildness in us. He clarifies by saying there’s a good wildness (not wickedness or law breaking, or anarchy) and that a bit of unshapen wildness inside is important so we are not dominated and overwhelmed by who we sociologically are.
I look around me and notice the long grass blowing in the wind, each blade dancing in unison with the others, I hear the whoosh of wind in the tree close by and notice the wild fuchsia flowers, bob up and down. I love their translation in Irish, Deora Dé, tears of God. I focus on these tiny works of art. A red skirt with stiff purple underskirt and what looks like tiny legs in red tights and pointe shoes poised for a ballet performance. Their beauty sends my heart wild.
Brigit Anna McNeill, Eco-psychotherapist and author writes that “We are born and shaped out of wildness, sculpted, and formed from its mineral rich clay, the oceans water, and the dust of stars…Wilds story pulses through our human skin, bone and blood…We have journeyed for millions of years with the wild inside and around us, its story shaping our evolution. We are, just like all flora, fungi and fauna, earthly beings, born from the body of wild”.
All these mystics are resonating with a recent post I saw from actor William Shatner, who played an iconic science fiction character exploring the Universe and who went to space at 90 years old. He posted “I understood in the clearest possible way, that we were living on a tiny oasis of life, surrounded by an immensity of death. I didn’t see infinite possibilities of worlds to explore, of adventures to have, or living creatures to connect with. I saw the deepest darkness I could have ever imagined, contrasting so starkly with the welcoming warmth of our nurturing planet…I realized we had spent decades, if not centuries, being obsessed with looking away, with looking outside…but I had to get to space to understand that Earth is and will stay our only home…”.
Reading this sends me wild with appreciation and gratitude for where I stand right now. I am here on Inis Óirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway. It is showery, windy, and not much happening, and yet it is mad alive when I stay present to what is around me. A seagull overhead trumpets out some unfathomable message, and I wish I knew the language of birds.
I want to get to know the wildness in me again.
Creative Processes and Expressive Arts always support me accessing my truth and my soul’s longing. I trained with Natalie Rogers, daughter of Carl Rogers and Founder of Person-Centred Expressive Arts some years ago and this was a trip into imagination, sound, body movement, creative writing, storytelling and making meaning through art.
ICPPD’s Diploma in Expressive Arts for Professionals is commencing soon in Athlone and online delivery.
Visit www.icppd.com for details of this and all upcoming programmes.
Written by Christine Moran