“the spontaneities of life”*
“the ultimate creative reality of earthly being”**
“a subjectivity that is aware of its vibrant place in ecosystems and human community”*
What is it to allow the truly wild creative impulse that exists deep within us, deep within all beings, that is, in fact, the creativity of the universe expressing through us?
How do we allow “the spontaneities of life” to express through us and not be distorted by our personality structures, many of which were set in place to keep them and this in control (and safe)?
We learned to ignore our body to get work down, or to over-cater to every ache and pain. Maybe we sit or stand too long…. Rather than follow the intelligence of the body that knows how to listen to and follow her/his needs in the moment.
We cover up our feelings with screens, books, experiences, and intellectual pursuits, or we indulge them and get confused and over-whelmed… Rather than letting them inform and move through us.
We use our minds to rationalize, analyze, ruminate, daydream, plan, and fantasize, which gives us a sense of being in control of our lives, but fills our minds up all the time… Rather than allowing the mind to be refreshed by quiet, contemplation, prayer, or meditation.
“We misconceive our role [as humans] if we consider that
our historical mission is to ‘civilize’
or to ‘domesticate’ the planet…” **
When my parents moved back to the West Coast 19 years ago from the East Coast where I grew up, I was struck by the grandeur and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
But my domesticated senses also registered what looked like mess and chaos.
Brambles covering everything, thickets so thick that getting into the woods proved almost dangerous, and when you did make it in, nettles ready to sting, and thimbleberry and blackberry thorns to grab you. Not to mention the thistles that pop up everywhere the forest is not.
I was not sure what to do with this wildness,
how to be with this wildness.
Wildness, too, is the energy of the cosmos, elaborated as Eairth, and expressing through the genetic coding of all beings, through those very spontaneities, through this Pacific Northwest expression.
These native plants follow their genetic coding without question—they seek sustenance to survive; they propagate, flower, and fruit; they form mutually nourishing connections, growing together. Their wildness directs their authentic expression.
What if we, human beings, considered to be the highest expression of the consciousness of the cosmos, could also follow our natural, wild impulses to flourish?
What if we returned to listening to our true bodily needs—for rest and movement, for food and drink, for following what makes us come alive, for inter-connection with others?
This sounds like the healthy, unfettered and natural expression of what we call the Instincts in the Enneagram world. Part of our genetic coding, the Instincts connect us to all beings—animals most directly, but also to the Green Ones and to the entire Eairth!
In the Enneagram world, we divide the expression of wildness into Self-Preservation, Sexual, and Social Instincts. The creative impulse of all beings includes these three—the desire to survive physically, to reproduce, flower, and fruit, and to connect with others.
As I now live here in the Pacific Northwest and interact with the wilderness ongoingly, I find myself in creative tension with following and allowing the spontaneities of life, and wanting to shape, corral, and domesticate these very energies—both within and without…
In terms of the environment I find myself in, I strive to allow the forest its wildness, leaving little impact other than a narrow path or a place for the faeries.
In the gardens my parents carved out of the forest, it is a different matter! The wild perimeter stays and provides habitat for native plants and shelter for animals, but the plants that cannot exist without more space around them get my support in trimming, clipping, and even pulling the native wildness.
I am finding a place of balancing.
Asking myself how to live creatively with the inner, wild and creative instinctual desire of Eairth
and with my Western “civilized” version of being human.
Can I cultivate and tend without domesticating—both inside myself and outside in the garden?
Can I allow the wild spontaneities of Eairth to in-form how I live, garden, and relate to human and more-than-human life?
Can I be truly wild and fully human, not distorting these wild instincts with personality contractions of body, heart, and mind?
Asking questions like these invites me into ever-evolving exploration without a definitive answer.
So, I practice asking, living, balancing, listening, and am grateful for the support of the Tao, ever guiding:
“what works reliably
is to know the raw silk,
hold the uncut wood.
Need little, want less.
Forget the rules.
~ Lao Tzu, from Tao Te Ching, #19,
interpretation by Ursula K. Le Guin
How about you?
How do you relate to wildness?
* from The Selected Writings of Thomas Berry, p. 135
** from The Selected Writings of Thomas Berry, p. 140