Wild Origins

I was recently reminded to remember my wild origins.

For the artists out there, you likely know what this means. It is that moment of inspiration or state of being that drives you to create. It is when you can see with lucid clarity exactly what you want to do, and you’re fuelled by that knowledge. You aren’t bogged down with the hows, or buts, or what-ifs; you are immersed in the beauty of potential.

When I think of my ‘wild origins’ I think of my childhood.

I was an only child until I was five. Before that, I had free reign over my country environs. I could wander through the forest surrounding my family’s home, down the driveway to the open areas where bees hovered over clover. There was no family strife, there were no schoolyard politics, and no one telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. There were only two rules: don’t go onto the highway and be home for supper. The rest was utter potential.

There are a few writers who capture the sense of wonder of being a kid. Ray Bradbury’s work is especially resonant for me. Any time I read one of his short stories or novels about childhood, I’m brought right back to that bright blue sky, the wildflowers, and unlimited sense of freedom.

I am far away from that now. But, perhaps, not so far as I used to be. I’m letting go of my emotional baggage.

I used to think hanging onto my anger, my resentment, my despair was all good fodder for being a writer. I remained resentful of and angry at the Universe for events in my life that I had no control over. I stewed and simmered, righteously so. And when that didn’t bring about change, I despaired. Then, quite suddenly, I stopped writing and I started being tired.

Very quickly I grew tired of being tired. Even more, I wanted to write. I finally came to a conclusion: I could accept being tired all the time if could write again.

So I started to dig. I got out my mental and emotional shovels and I dug, I discovered, and I discarded.

Finally, I started writing again. And, lo and behold, my energy is coming back. And I’m still digging and discarding.

But now, without this emotional baggage, I don’t really know who I am. I feel a bit like a blank slate. I had wrapped up quite a bit of my identity with these emotions, even though these emotions were rooted in events I don’t even remember any more. Who was I without this ‘character-building’ baggage?

Turns out I’m me, only moreso. I’m an even better me. I am the me I started out being. More and more, I am the child I was, without all the fear and anger and anxiety accumulated through +40 years of living. This is good, but it’s also a bit scary. It’s been a long time since I was that kid, and that baggage was awfully safe. But every time I can view the clouds with wonder, be in a conflicted situation and not be triggered, and feel that flow of passion whilst writing, I am reminded that I really don’t need that baggage. I can let go.

Who would you be without your baggage?

I ask this because many of us create an identity or infuse our identity with the stuff we go through in life. For example, I’ve met people who identify themselves as cancer-survivors, abuse-survivors, car accident victims, or victims of bullying. They still carry the anger, the sadness, the resentment, the shame even though the event was over a long time ago.

While we can’t erase the stuff that happens to us, we can let go of the emotions tied to those events. Often, we perversely think that carrying hoards of emotional baggage makes us strong, that it is a badge of honour. In fact, it only makes us tired and takes us away from who we really are. Emotional baggage makes us forget our wild origins.

Who would you be without this emotional residue?

What are you doing to remember your wild origins?


Further reading

Gabor Mate – When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

Peter Levine – In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

Gillian Anderson & Jennifer Nadel – We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere

Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

Gaiam – 5 Ways to Live an Authentic Life

Ray Bradbury – Dandelion Wine

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