In previous weeks we've discussed different parts of us that make the Whole of who we are. We've named and given attention to the Body, the Genius and the Divine in us. Sounds a lot like Body-Mind-Spirit doesn't it? But there's one more part we cannot afford to leave out! This part is responsible for memory, emotion, mood, intuition, dreams, premonition and instinct. This part is even responsible for how well we communicate and whether or not we have great sex!
Let me introduce you to our Wild nature! Yes. There is a Wildness inside us. It is not lost on me that I am writing about this only days after Maurice Sendak's book, "Where the Wild Things Are" was released as a movie. I cannot wait to see it! Personally, I think Max's Wild Things are his own Wildness.
There's Wildness inside us! This Wild nature is like a very young child. As such, it can be fragile, angry, stubborn, terrified and silly--all within a span of ten minutes. The Wild enjoys color, sound, texture, rhythm, movement, scent, taste, lighting, song and ten thousands subtle stimuli. Our Wild self associates certain tones of voice, peices of music and even the scent in a room with memory. Have you ever smelled apple pie baking and been brought back to another time and place? Or, heard a peice of music that transported you? This is the Wild inside us. S/he never forgets anything.
The Wild one makes associations between stimulus and circumstance. So, that song you hear today on your iPod might invoke the memory of that perfect day when you were seventeen--making you really happy in the present moment. The way a light slants through a room might bring on unexplained feelings of melancholy. A tone of voice might cause you to relax while a gesture might pique your anger. Wild Self makes connections between the stimulus you are experiencing now and circumstances in the past. S/he does this because it is her nature to do so and also because she is at the helm of the autonomic body systems including those which release chemicals like adrenaline, seratonin, dopamine and others. These chemicals wash through our cells, effecting mood and emotion. Is it any wonder we sometimes feel like we don't know what's come over us?
Our Wild Self makes connections. She connects past to present. He connects what is happening to us (outer stimulus) with what will happen within us (internal response). The Wild one is also the connector between the Genius and Divine Selves, but that is a discussion for another time. Our Wildness is our intuitive and instinctual nature. Like an animal, s/he is alert to ten thousand levels of information in any given moment. In reading the subtle levels of energy, light, tone, body language and more, she perceives the nuances in conversational exchange, filling in the details which give context and depth of meaning.
Our Wild nature has many other functions. We'll discuss them over time. For now, though, it's good to simply acknowledge this part of ourselves. This Wildness in us, needs honor and love, just as our Body, Genius and Divine selves do.
This week, we'll spend some time noticing when emotions and moods arise as well as how the Wild One might be responsible for triggering them. We'll spend equal time noticing the negative and postive so we can begin to understand what keeps the Wild self contented.
10/30/09. The Wild in us is much like a young child. S/he has a lot of natural energy which can easily overwhelm us--showing up in the form of tantrums (as adults we just call this anger or even rage), nervous anxiety, worry, insomnia, overeating, avoidance patterns, hypochondria and even create dis-ease in the body.
The Wild in us needs to play. We need to engage in fun, stimulating activity for the simple pleasure of it! Can you commit to taking your Wild Self out on a date this weekend? A leisurely walk through nature when you really allow yourself to engage with the beauty of the natural world is always good for the Wild soul. Perhaps, you'd prefer a trip to the theater or the massage therapist?
If doing something fun for your Wild self will bring you into better balance and closer to peace, are you willing to do it? What can you commit to doing for yourself?
10/29/09. Today, can you commit to something a little more in depth? Paying attention, as you did yesterday, to the fluctuation of your moods and their possible causes, can you take this knowledge a step further?
When you become aware that your mood/emotional state has shifted and you can pinpoint what may have been the precursor, can you go back to that moment in your mind's eye?
As you review the moment, relax your body. Drop your attention into your breath. Breathing long and deep, with a relaxed body, simply review the moment. Don't engage with it emotionally. If your emotions start to engage, simply breathe through them. Remind the Wild inside you to relax. Like a child, help the Wild in you to settle down as you breathe. It may help to make a sound--a deep sigh or a more forceful sound on your outbreath--to push away the strong energy the Wild one wants to build up within you.
Do this once or twice today. Does it help? What else might help?
10/28/09. Today, see if you can pay closer attention to your mood. Does it stay steady all day or does is fluctuate? Is it upbeat, cranky, giddy? Can you discern an overall mood or are you so deeply focused on the task(s) at hand that you are shut off from your mood-state?
If your mood changes abruptly, see if you can pinpoint why. If the sudden change had to do with an event or interaction with someone, what about that circumstance pushed you out of (or into) balance?
The Wild inside is on the alert, ready to change chemistry at the slightest gesture. Becoming more alert to his/her motivations is a huge step toward bringing her/him under the loving embrace of the Genius and Divine in us.
10/27/09. Take a long, slow breath. Let your attention drop into the body. Relax all the places you habitually hold tension--your forehead and jaw, neck, shoulders and buttocks. Let you breath be natural and easy as you straighten your posture, open your chest and your pelvis. Excellent.
Take a few moments now (or later if you can't do it right now) to close your eyes and simply let your mind clear. Don't stress about clearing the slate of your mind. Just let your thoughts slow down while you focus on the black screen behind your eyelids.
Next, open your eyes and look around you. Notice one object in the room. What memories, feelings or thoughts arise as you gaze at them? You might find it helpful to jot these down.
Take a breath with your eyes closed. Let you exhalation carry the thoughts from the object away. Now, open your eyes and notice the lighting in the room. Where does it illuminate the space? Where do shadows fall? Is the light natural and coming in through a window or is it from overhead lighting or a lamp? How does the light in the room affect your level of comfort, you ability to see your work? How does it affect your mood? If you aren't sure, that's okay too. We are making a start at noticing such things.
If you'd like, you can do this exercise with your other senses. For example, notice scent and smell, color and texture, the sounds in your environment, etc.