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February 18, 2018

Recently, I read a book by Brene Brown, “Into the Wilderness”. Dr. Brown is a social scientist, which means she does a lot of research to confirm how us human creatures actually feel.

She hits the nail on the head about the Wilderness. It’s the lost, alone, “I’m always disconnected” place most people experience — some of us more than others — and generally where we make stories up about who we are but also a place where our truth lives.

A few months ago I experienced a ‘deep wilderness’ day, sandwiched between a bunch of other similar days, where my only companion was my little Saluki, Madeline. What occured activated every freaking one of my “I’m not wanted” feelings, threw me into an abyss of pain & sadness and was generally a “Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” (a string of ‘em).

Still, I could feel it coming & in a few ways, I was prepared. The ‘pain’ was actually comical when my husband, just minutes from the Yosemite Natl. Park entrance, plowed into a cow.

You read that right… A two ton cow.

First of all, what was a cow doing there? Secondly, why did he have to hit it?We had just parted from each other’s company after two blissful days hanging around the hot springs in the eastern Sierra mountains. My trip home was well on it’s way when I got a call from him. His truck looked totaled. He was fine. The cow stumbled away & he couldn’t imagine she was ok…

He was gifted a room at a swanky hotel because they were awesome (he hit the cow right in front of the hotel) and I stayed in a shitty La Quinta in Las Vegas to see if I needed to turn back to help him out. All in all, the event was shaping up to be just another money drain. We didn’t know how the cow was, but we knew what was required & he wasn’t hurt — Needless to say, I may have slept better at a rest stop and he would’ve slept better, had I been snuggled up next to him in his fancy room.

The reality “pain” was more about the deductible we have to pay & another delay in his 6 year endeavor to do the impossible on El Capitan in Yosemite, yet the uncertainty, vulnerability & exposure was intense. The following week, the pain involved being removed from a position I volunteer for and LOVED.

The abyss of “I’m not wanted” played over a few times in my poor little head and sucked. This took some doing to transcend, especially once I discovered that due to my commentary on the organization’s behavior towards me someone lost their job. Fuck!.

The year 2017 was “gut wrenching, loss strewn, possessing eloquent sorrow” kind of year. Top these personal things off with the real world fuck show & you could consider me one hot mess.

Or not.

As a long time consultant, mentor, mother & spiritual resource, I am no stranger to hard earned growth and the true difficulties it provides. As hard as it is to go through, I almost welcome the bumps because of my long experience with transitional events & what profound change they CAN bring.

But let’s not forget the significant outpouring of judgment from others when we are going through shit storms —People who actually say things like; “If you’re so spiritual, why is your life such a mess?” or “We must be aware of consequences & you know, what goes around, comes around (meaning, “You’re an ass, so you deserve this shit & my judgment)” and the stuff like “When you are one with God, none of this will happen anymore. You just need to be saved and everything will smooth out.”

My term for this is “spiritual tyranny”. A suffocating & hateful response from people we ought to be able to depend on for compassion & support but instead are served up this bowlful of bullshit. Brene Brown talks about the importance of belonging and how, when we can find no belonging anywhere, we are in the “wilderness”.

So what about those who feel like they live mostly in the wilderness? The outcasts, the non-accomodating sorts who rarely fit into a social norm for long, yet remain unique and even somewhat attractive…

They are extremely adept at navigating the challenges of life with grace and power even when the folks in their world judge them, talk shit about them or shun them. You will rarely find a complainer in this clan as they tend to be profoundly hopeful and eager for life. They will get the message if treated with judgement or hostility & step way back from intimacy from someone who contributes to forcing the wilderness on them, yet will rarely offer the same treatment. Forgiving… they will be, but they are not foolish. And these are the folks who tend to relate honestly with everyone, even it it’s unpopular.

Now this is the crazy part… Given what’s been happening all over the place, there are more and more wilderness people than ever before!

Outcasts, Misfits and Gypsies may end up being the norm!!

How many people have been “outed” publicly lately? How many people are stepping into the extremely unfamiliar shoes of rebellion, resistance or defiance? How many people have suddenly chosen to step away from toxic relationships, even if they are “family”?

Maybe you’re one of these outliers yourself, or are aspiring to be one because you realize that your integrity is way more important than you previously thought and if you don’t act — you’ll lose it.

Ah, life… it’s a meandering journey and we are all in this together so it’s time to celebrate your unique self & in that way, make a difference. The wonder of your life is never measured by what you own, who you love, what your credit score is or what kind of car you drive. It’s measured by invisible qualities, your actions and reactions to others, your willingness to make mistakes and ability to give something back.

And here’s something amazing; being out cast from the tribe brings freedom. You keep your integrity AND there’s room to fail. You suddenly stop being limited. We tend to fail our way to greatness anyway, so chances are you will try more things, take more risks & feel more gratitude — in general.

It’s time to welcome the Wilderness, rather than shun it. We can be available to others, but no longer a doormat and we can achieve great things because our focus is not cluttered with concern about what other’s think of us…

Ah, Freedom…

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