“Men have forgotten this truth, said the fox. But you must not forget it.
You become responsible forever for what you have tamed.”
- Antoine du Saint Exupery
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking on a park trail with my dogs on their leashes. When no one was around I took Sampson, my adorable puppy, off his leash and let him run. This was invigorating for us all. Even my old beautiful and slower moving dog, Snowball, came more alive; though she happily stayed walking with me on her leash something about Sampson’s freedom called to her wild nature.
We were having a blast and frolicking in the park when I saw a woman walking her dog and realized she was coming directly towards us. Knowing my dogs love other dogs and would automatically run up and play with this dog, I thought we were in for a good time. As fellow dog lovers we could let the dogs sniff and play and just be dogs; their authentic selves.
But the woman blindly walked past us; and her dog being a good and obedient dog suppressed his instinctual nature and ignored us too. I was surprised and my dogs didn’t know what to do. There was a moment of confusion. I had to hold Snowball back and force Sampson to a sit and stay (which he totally disliked). They were intensely focused on their would-be wild playmate. I had to give Sampson treats and then take them in an entirely different direction or they would have bounded back to try to play with this dog.
It seems to me that in our urban society, we try so hard to train our dogs to be other than who they are innately. They are pack animals who love to engage with other animals of their species. We suppress their nature and allow them only to engage in the ways we dictate. We take the wild out of them. We do the same thing to ourselves.
There are societal norms that we are trained to abide by, fearful if we don’t, we will be ostracized (or end up in the pound). From a young age our parents, our friends, our siblings, our grandparents, our teachers, our elders, our places of worship, our community, our government all try to dictate us. Where do our authentic selves fit into this scenario? How can we honor who we are and still live in our society?
We can begin by listening to the wild in our thoughts, memories, and feelings. We can listen to what gives us a sense of happiness, passion, vitality and then take action on it. What we are longing for is longing for us! Dad may have wanted us to become a doctor but we always loved to write. Isn’t it time we admitted that truth and took a journalism course? (Just sayin’:)
Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:
So you’ve been listening to your still small voice and maybe found your ‘morning window’ and some quiet time. For today let’s try coming to our daily meditation with some prepared questions that we have been contemplating for awhile but haven’t been brave enough to ask ourselves. Ask yourself these questions and just be still; let an answer come to you….or not. It could take a few visits before you hear an internal answer to your questions. Sit, tune in, and just breathe and see what happens.
If your still small voice has nothing to say and you own and walk a dog, take your dog off the leash and run wild with him or her and see what happens next (but don’t tell the Pound I told you to do it).
If you are a woman and want to explore the connection between being a woman and the ways of the wild, check out the classic book entitled Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Estes. You’ll never be the same (nor would you want to be)!